To Blog or Not To Blog…
This summer I’ve been reviewing the data from my end of the year media center survey for students and teachers. I’ve combed through the data, shared it with my media technology committee, and looked at it using a protocol with members of the National School Reform Faculty. Each time new eyes look at the data, I learn something new.
One piece of data that keeps coming up is the low usage of the media center blog. At our school, I’m the first person to use a blog, and I feel that it can be a valuable tool for communicating media center news, resources, community connections, and more to the learning community. However, out of the teachers and students surveyed, only 3% of teachers and 48% of students used the blog.
This data troubles me because it makes me question what my purpose is in creating a blog. The recommendation from people looking at my data has been to stop doing the blog in order to free some time for other endeavors. However, this disturbs me even more because I feel that blogs are now one of the standard forms of communication online. It’s interesting to me that more students use the blog than adults, which leads me to believe that there is much to be learned as adults about how blogs might be used in education.
I was honored to be asked to contribute as a guest blogger for GLMA. The invitation actually sparked a thought about a new direction I might take with my media center blog in an effort to support the participatory culture of the media center. This year I want to invite guest bloggers to contribute book thoughts to the blog. Who will these guests be? I hope that they will be teachers, students, parents, and even community members. I’ve always believed that to be a teacher of reading, you must be a reader yourself. The power of modeling the life of a reader is a valuable teaching tool in the classroom and beyond. My hope is to invite and regularly schedule guests to post information and thoughts about books being read from our media center. Not only will this create a more meaningful purpose for our blog and hopefully increase readership of the blog, it will support my goal of sharing the books that we are reading, which in turn supports book selection. If I can get my idea off the ground, I hope that it might inspire other ways of sharing books through displays, Wordle, book reviews in Desitny, podcasts, and whatever else we can dream up. Even with this new direction attempt, I’ll still use the blog to promote the media center in other ways and include information on book events and community resources.
In addition to this new idea, I’ve started a Facebook page for my media center to have one more avenue of reaching my community. Since I’ve started working on this blog post, it seems that everywhere I turn there is an article, blog post, or Facebook group about the importance of blog book reviews, web 2.0, and reaching your learning community in a variety of ways. Here are a few examples that caught my attention: July SLJ, July SLJ (again), Social Media Schools, So…I’m not giving up on my blog as recommended by others, and I’m hoping that a new path is forming out of my learning from my first year. Wish me luck and suggestions are always welcome!
David C. Barrow Elementary