It’s never easy to change. Nobody is really that good at change but yet things are always changing. The secret to successful change is the willingness one has to embrace it. Why do people resist change? Because not changing is easier. In fact, it seems our human default change status is set to “please don’t make me.”
In the 2010-2011 school year I conducted an action research project at my school that I called Blogging Across the Curriculum. Fortunately, I had two great teachers on my team that embraced the challenge of teaching elementary school students to blog. Together we gave nearly all of our school’s 700+ students the chance to read blogs, create blogs and comment on each others blogs. Was it easy? No, it really wasn’t easy. Students in grades 3, 4 & 5 don’t even know how to type! Despite the challenges of elementary blogging both the participating teachers and students gained new skills in digital writing. Our fifth grade writing scores went up that year.
In the 2011-2012 school year our school did not blog at all. There were changes in the way the Technology Lab was run at our school, and our team was no longer teaching the Tech Lab. I gave a half hearted attempt to start a Blog Squad at my school but it fizzled, mostly due in part to my busy schedule and the fact that I did not promote it as much as I could have. Still, even at the end of the year I had students coming up to me and wanting to be on it! Blogs are like children, they need a lot of attention!
In 2012-2013 our students will be blogging again. I got the green light from our principal at our Leadership Meeting next week. We’ve even written it into the school improvement plan for next school year. This is exciting but not without its challenges. We have a new technology teacher in the Tech Lab and I’m not sure how she’s going to feel about blogging. Also, not all of the teachers on our Leadership Team were happy about the prospect of blogging with the students. I foresee the biggest challenge this year’s to Blogging Across the Curriculum 2.0 will be motivating teachers to embrace blogging. It will also be a challenge to find ways to blog across the curriculum. There’s a lot of things changing at our school next year. Our school will be adopting the Common Core Standards next year, which will be much different than the Georgia Performance Standards that we have worked hard to adopt. Sometimes it seems just as soon as we get used to one new educational reform trend, another one comes along.
But blogging is everywhere. It’s a job. People make money blogging. I don’t think blogging is going to go away anytime soon. Blogging is a big part of the way we communicate in the world today. It will be part of the way our students communicate as adults. Why shouldn’t we teach students to blog? Why shouldn’t teachers be blogging?
It won’t be easy, but change never is, is it?
Actually, nothing truly worth doing is ever easy.