First published June 25, 2008
Last week we talked about finding and listening in on conversations that your customers and prospects are having on the web. This week we're hearing from an avid teacher-blogger about his experience in sharing technology tips with his fellow K-12 educators. Here is part 2 of our interview wtih Scott Walker of TeacherTechBlog.
6. What is the absolute best part of this [blogging] experience for you?
The best part about blogging has to be the networking that comes with it. I have made several incredible friends/colleagues that I never would have. People from complete opposite ends of the earth have given me useful help, ideas, and insights that have not only helped my strategies but have also been an incredible encouragement. Some of these connections have taken me places that I never would have been. One of my first big experiences that I can remember was getting invited to FETC in Orlando to blog as a member of the press. I can’t even begin to say how remarkable an experience that was, and how many great opportunities happened because of it.
7. What are the top three (or five) things you would share with another educator about the benefits of blogging?
Blog about what you know and love, even if you think other people won’t care about what you have to say. It is one of the few opportunities where you can filter out everything except what you passionately love about what you do.
For me, it was technology which is not even something that is in my professional background. It was just something that I loved doing within my job. Blogging about it has not only strengthened how well I do it, but has also inspired me to switch gears and move into a part of education that uses more of it. Had I not started publishing my ideas in my blog, I may have never thought where my true passion is and consider switching to a different area of education.
8. What other types of social media do you use?
Along with blogging, I am also an avid fan of social networks. I use things like Facebook, MySpace, and networks like Classroom20 quite a bit. Something new that I am quite interested in is Twitter.
The idea of letting people know what is going on in real time is incredible. I’m currently looking at using it to make my blog more interactive. As I am working on a new project, I will post the idea on twitter and give my followers a chance to submit their own ideas. The resulting post will show their ideas along with mine to give a fuller understanding of the topic. I benefit from having a stronger community, and I am sure they love seeing their ideas being published with their name beside it.
9. One of the biggest objections to using social media is the time commitment. How would you respond to that question?
It all depends on how much you want to get out of it. So far, I haven’t put a moment into it that I wasn’t rewarded for. My goal when I started was to write about what I wanted, and help others improve their use of technology in the classroom.
Before the blog, I could only help one person at a time. I am currently about to finish out my first year of blogging and will have had over 10,000 visitors. So I guess you could say that if I was only able to help a person a day, then I will have done 27 years of work in just one year. Seems like an incredible use of time if you ask me.
10. Where do you see all of this taking us as an educational community and a culture?
I see this fulfilling the idea of teachers being lifelong learners. It makes great ideas easily accessible and free. It makes me wonder how it will be organized in the future. Will there be an online textbook for teachers where the chapters are blogs that are ever changing and engage the learner? Open-source classes?
Bonus Round – What one (or two) things would you say to an ed tech curriculum or services provider that would help them understand the potential for online marketing?
Well for me, seeing a company with a blog or other social media presence is like putting a face with a name. Often, a company will show a personal side that isn't seen with a typical corporate website. Some do this by posting ideas on how to better use their product, while others might try offering help to strengthen a skill that is complimentary to their product.
Regardless, if it is done with a personal touch I am a lot more likely to single them out amongst the sea of competition. This goes without saying that with each time they add content, they increase their web presense making it a lot more likely that I will find them first. Above everything though, it comes down to this personal connection.
Many thanks to Scott for sharing his experience with us. In our next post, we'll explore some of the recurrent social media themes that Scott's interview highlight for us.