Occasional Thoughts on Educational Technology and Life by Judy Brophy

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Birth of a Blog - Colleague Helping Colleague

Jim Glading, teacher in the Intensive English Program at Southern NH University, was at a staff meeting recently. The faculty were sharing what worked and what didn’t in their classes. Energy was high and Jim was loving it. But he stopped the discussion long enough to comment:

“We need to be able to do this all the time, not just at faculty meetings.”

From this comment and realization, rose, a week later the IEP Teacher’s Blog, whose tagline is “an interactive repository for SNHU ESL teachers to share tips, tricks, and news.”

It was not a terribly difficult process to set up a web space in which to interact. Once Jim was convinced that’s what they needed the process went like this.

Jim researched various blog-type software that he might use. He wanted something that would be easy for faculty to post to and easy for him to administer. He tried setting up a page in each one to see how easy it was.

• Wordpress was too complex, with an unfriendly author interface.

• Wikispaces had too many ads in the free version and was really more than he needed.

• Tumblr, which looked so easy, turned out to be incomprehensible.

• Google’s Blogger turned out to be just right. Enough functions (like being able to be notified when a post appears) but easy to post to. You can even mail in posts.

With his Blogger account set up, he created a “workspace blog” in which to try things, a “live” version at http://iepteachers.blogspot.com/ He made a few entries of his own and then sent invitations to all the faculty log in and post something.

It’s really easy to make an entry to a blog

So far a handful of faculty have posted ideas, recommendations and comments. The question now is, how to get more interaction? How to make it a living resource? Any comments you have about how to do that would be appreciated.

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