Have you ever felt overwhelmed with the amount and velocity of technological changes that shape our world? For teachers who are charged with providing 21st Century learning opportunities for today’s students, the task of keeping up with technology can indeed be a daunting one. While some teachers eagerly embrace the influx of new technologies, others struggle to do so, often choosing to ignore or disregard advancements as valuable learning tools for students. More often than not, I find myself in this latter category. Even writing a blog can be a difficult task to those who have no real experience, knowledge or understanding of this form of communication.
So how can we support reluctant teachers in moving forward with technology? What key understandings are critical for a teacher learning to blog? Or, perhaps a more important question is whether or not a teacher even needs to learn to blog in order to be an effective teacher in the 21st Century.
Fisher and Frey (2010) acknowledge that educators have long had to make dramatic shifts in our approaches to teaching as technology advances at an alarming rate. They advise that teachers need to respond to these shifts by focusing not on the tools themselves, but on the functions of those tools. If we focus on the tool but lose sight of the purpose, we will always be playing catch-up.
So what, then is the function of blogging? This form of communication functions primarily as a way of sharing individual information and ideas about which others may choose to respond. If a teacher chooses to incorporate blogging into their teaching practice, they must first identify the purpose, the content and structure of how ideas and information is expected to be communicated, and what value it has for the students. If the function fits the tool, then perhaps teachers will be more inclined to add technology tools like blogs to their teaching practice. This simple thought makes it seem less overwhelming for me.
Fisher,Douglas & Frey, Nancy. (2010) Preparing Students for Mastery of 21st Century Skills. In Bellanca, James & Brandt, Ron (Eds.),21st Century Skills (pp. 223-226). Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree.