edublogs launch new features…

Seems there are a lot of webtools that are updating, revising, and enhancing their services for educators this summer!  Edublogs is no exception.  First they have made even their free blog accounts advertisement free, and have promised to keep it that way if they reach 1 million blogs (they have less than 10,000 to go) and now they are revealing many more features including:

  • New ‘easy mode’ dashboard and new layout for your dashboard
  • Administration bar at the top for easier navigation
  • A way to add wikis pages to your blog!
  • Ability to embed google maps
  • and lots more…

Since edublogs is already my blog of choice I’m very excited about these new features.  It tells me that they are committed to educators and developing the best blogging platform possible.  I have also had great experience with their support and love their training/educational resources.  So, if you have thought about blogging, either personally, or with your students, I can’t think of a better time to start.

We blog, therefore we can…

What no one ever tells you about bloggingphoto © 2007 Andy Piper | more info (via: Wylio)
As educators it is our responsibility to help others, whether it is our students, family, or colleagues (near or far). That is why I blog. In my position as Coordinator of Instruction I field many questions throughout the week from our staff. Many times it is a question like, “I’m (fill in the blank) and need a tool for it, do you know of any?”, or “I can’t (fill in the blank) and need help, do you have time to work with me on this?”.  If the question is one I already answered in a blog post I can usually answer it right away, by simply sending a link to the post. If the question comes prior to the writing of a post, then usually throughout my research I also write a post about it. Chances are if one teacher has the question, many more locally and globally will as well.

So, I guess it is definitely safe to say that blogging organizes my knowledge, because I can’t possibly remember every tool or website I look into. It also gives me a repertoire of resources at my fingertips to share with my PLN and local colleagues as well. (My bookmarks in diigo also help with this and allows me to organize the other blog posts I read.) There are those people who say I have no life, or I work too much. I enjoy sharing my knowledge, whether it is newly acquired or involves many years of experience. Sharing and helping other educators feeds my soul.

That is why it is hard to hear others say ‘as an educator you are putting yourself out there and shouldn’t be blogging- it will only get you in trouble’. This recently came up due to a teacher who was getting in trouble for blogging irresponsibly. (You can read more about it here) In my opinion her story’s lesson is NOT don’t blog. The lesson in her story is: Be professional and respectful in communications you have, whether it be blogging, newspaper editorials, phone calls, or in verbal conversations. @tomwhitby addresses this issue very well in his latest blog post ‘To Blog, or Not to Blog?. If you haven’t read it yet, please make sure you do.

So to get back to my title: We blog, therefore we can…  The we refers to the many educators and other professionals that write blogs, as well as the student bloggers out there. We blog, therefore we can…

…we can be lifelong learners

…we can respectfully express our opinions

…we can respectfully defend our beliefs

…we can explore our passions and dreams

…we can question the world and offer solutions

Yes, we can, and I personally will continue to blog and encourage others to take up the keyboard and join me.