First published June 23, 2008
What better way to find out what educators are talking about on the web than to talk to one who is using some of the new social media tools. Today I have the privilege of introducing an avid teacher blogger, Scott Walker.
Scott blogs at TeacherTechBlog where he helps other educators better understand how to incorporate technology into their classrooms.
Scott graciously answered a series of questions that allows us a peek into not only the types of technology teachers are incorporating into their classrooms but how social networking facilitates the distribution of that information . This will be a two-part series.
1. When and why did you start blogging?
I started blogging because I felt I had something that other classroom teachers could benefit from – technology experience. I’ve always been the go-to guy for technology questions. In college I would fix computers or give computer tips to other kids in the dorm, usually in exchange for food. College kid has to eat somehow, right? The blog came about in my third year of teaching when I realized I could spread my tips further by having a web presence, rather than helping one person at a time. Blogging seemed to be an easy, manageable way to do that.
2. What was your biggest challenge?
My biggest challenge was figuring out a title. I knew what I wanted to do. The blogging platform was simple enough to master quickly, and I had plenty of time to do it. But coming up with a creative name that hadn’t been taken was the only tough part about it. Now that I have been at it for a while, and I have networked around quite a bit, time becomes an issue. There have been so many avenues that blogging has lead me to. (I have been invited to conferences, asked for interviews, and even sent out a resume or two.) I find it sometimes difficult to decide which road to take next.
3. Have you successfully created a community around your blog?
I have a readership that spans every state, and 103 different countries. Rounding out my first year of blogging I am looking at +10,000 plus visits and steadily growing, but since my articles are straightforward tips, I usually don’t get much more than a thanks in the comments. My community exists more in the people I have connected with through my blog such as other networks, companies, and so on. My community exists in numerous places, the blog is my home.
4. How did you do that specifically?
I sought out others that were doing the same. I networked via email and comments on their blogs. I met others in social networks like www.classroom20.com. The majority began to contact me though. They would ask questions, request me to review their site or project, and send me invites to conferences or other social groups. A lot happened on its own.
5. What impact has blogging had on your teaching?
It has improved the way that I go about reflecting on what I do. Before blogging, it was a matter of finding time-something that rarely happened. With the blog, it has become part of the process. As I write, I am forced to think about how I have done things, and what I would do differently next time. Not only has it allowed me to incorporate my own reflection, but as others comment or contact me I am able to gain useful insight.
For Part 2 of my interview with Scott Walker of TeacherTechBlog and to hear his opinion about why blogs and social media should be a part of all educational publishers' internet marketing plans, come and visit again later this week.