In 2006 I glanced at the cover of Time Magazine’s coveted Person of the Year issue. I was astonished as it declared “You”–the countless people who “…wrested power from the few and helped one another for nothing” as the winner. The editors of the magazine went on to describe that this was done with the World Wide Web: “…a tool for bringing together the small contributions of millions of people and making them matter,” essentially declaring individual bloggers, YouTube and Wikipedia contributors as revolutionaries. And I can remember thinking to myself, how bizarre and lame. Blogging at the time conjured up an image of a slightly overweight, unemployed, twenty or thirty something in the basement of his parents’ home searching for needed attention and reassurance that he was somebody in the world (Brad Pasely’s song titled Online exemplifies the stereotype. Here’s a picture from the video for reference). Yet, nine years after Time Magazine’s Person of the Year issue, I am writing my seventh post on a blog that conjured up 461 unique visitors last month and is set to break that number this month.
Why I Blog
I’ve put a lot of thought into why I blog and have narrowed it down to five solid reasons:
- To Build a Platform
- To Build a Tribe
- A Model
- Reflect & Archive
To Build a Platform
Matt Miller says it best in his book Ditch that Textbook when he quotes 2013 ISTE keynote speaker Adam Bellow as saying “If you create something and don’t share it, you’re being selfish.” I have been teaching for 12 years and I have ideas to share. People may benefit from what I have to offer and a blog gives me a platform to distribute my ideas for people all over the world.
To Build a Tribe
For roughly a month and a half I have blogged. Within that time, I have had countless people reach out to me through comments, email, and social media. The truth is, everyone has something to contribute. Blogging has helped me become a part of a tribe of educators who want to share. It is probably the best part of blogging(So please, continue to reach out to me–I love it.). Furthermore, this blog allows me to crowdsource my ideas and make them tremendously better with the input of the tribe.
As a social studies teacher, it is important for me to teach students how to communicate, build their own platforms, and work for change that they deem is needed. The tools to do those activities are not the same tools I grew up with. If I am not experimenting with blogs and other 21st century tools, I am doing my students a dis-service. I need to become proficient with these tools and model.
Reflect & Archive
The number one method to become a better teacher is to reflect and adjust–but who has the time? I’ve conjured up methods of reflection numerous times throughout my career and all have failed. By writing a blog, I feel a sense of commitment not just to myself but to my audience; who helps on my practices and provides feedback to help me improve. Furthermore, a blog allows me to keep an historical archive of ideas, practices, and such that I may access at any time.
As easy as it is to consume digital media, it is just as simple to create. I like to create things and this gives an outlet to venture into some creative projects. It also provides motivation and practice so I can ask my students to be creative in the digital world.
The following are some basic facts you should know about this blog: Mr. Kamrowski’s blog
- No advertisements: I will never put advertisements on my blog. Wordpress from time to time will put ads on to make money to offer this service free to me. I can pay $30 a year to remove those ads but have not done so. This is a hobby and not something I am willing to pay money to continue.
- Weekly Posts: I have started a routine of posting once a week and intend to continue. The posts will be delivered by Monday.
- Three Categories: All of my posts will relate to one of three categories: Reflections, Apps Tested, and How To. Reflections will be my thoughts on any number of educational topics; Apps Tested will be a post on a lesson I have done using an app or several apps (Known as app smashing) and How To will explain a workflow process that has made my, or my students’, work more efficient or effective.
- Free Resources: Any resources I offer on this blog will be free. Occasionally, I will send newsletter subscribers free e-books (In fact, if you sign up for the newsletter during the month of June, I will send you a free copy of my iBook about flipped learning. An E-Book that will work on all devices is in the works and will be sent out when complete. Sign up by entering your email in the Follow this blog by email section to the right of the post or at the very bottom if on mobile device. You always have the ability to unsubscribe in the future). I will never charge as I believe we should share to make the educational experiences of our students the best regardless of economic status.
So what are you waiting for? Sign-up, or start following this blog. Let’s put our minds together and see what kind of place we make for our children.
Question: Why do you blog? What do you get from blogs? How do you contribute? As always, thanks for leaving your thoughts and comments in the comment section of this blog.