I have posted on several edubloggers' blogs throughout the course of the school year, and while I have not received any direct responses from the bloggers themselves as of yet, the act of posting in a professional forum has made me
a) aware of issues experienced by professionals in the field I am entering (such as how to develop "lifelong learning" in a class that only lasts a year, whether or not it is productive to think of students as "consumers" or "customers" – that was an interesting debate!, the utility of social networking in your classroom or as an educator outside of the classroom, and the pitfalls and benefits of tracking (or "ability grouping", one of the only "politically correct" terms that I take serious issue with, because I think that it's incorrect, if political!)),
b) think about how to communicate online in a way that is somewhere in between the informal posts I am used to making on Facebook and in personal emails and the more formal web correspondence I might have with a prospective employer or the parent of a student. I had to think about how to formulate my comments so they wouldn't sound like sterile or complex academic writing, but so they would be clear and complete, devoid of the webspeak and lowercase I am used to using in the majority of my online communication. Once I even decided not to respond to a blogger (http://scottwalkerenglishteacher.blogspot.com/) because I felt so upset by a number of his posts that I didn't think I could formulate a response that would be amiable and professional, much less productive.
All in all I've been invigorated by the conversations educators are having online–lucky for us there are a lot of interesting and thoughtful people posting out there (some of my favorites are Scott McCleod, Sue Waters and Graham Wegener). I've also enjoyed reading the poetry of a former MACer's students as he has implemented blogs as a presentation format in his middle school classroom. I'm going to continue to use this blog for my own professional development and networking, and hope to bring blogs into my future classroom if there are appropriate tech resources to do so.
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