Monday at the California Association of Independent Schools (CAIS) 2010 Southern Regional Meeting at Campbell Hall School, I presented about blogging using Blogger with Joon Kim, one of the educational technologists and computer science teacher at my school.
After working together for over a decade, Joon and I started experimenting with using tools for expression and collaboration with the students. Along with co-teaching a wiki enhanced research project to our 8th graders, we teach blogging to most of the tenth graders, and we co-sponsor a student life blog. It felt like a natural decision to do a presentation for CAIS together.
The presentation and hands-on session was called Blogging Inside and Outside the Classroom, and we presented from a fairly simple blog. Joon had the great idea of using pre-prepared articles which we posted onto the blog as we started talking about the topics, just to show how it all worked. We traded off speaking, and then co-taught the hands-on part so the approximately 25 attendees could have lots of individual instruction. The students can return to the blog to revisit the lesson.
Although we could have used another half-hour (it was already 90 minutes!), and I started rushing near the end and neglected one small part completely, I think we got people off to a thoughtful and productive start. I enjoyed the way Joon and I collaborated, and I think it made us an even stronger team in the classroom for our students. Presenting about blogging also prompted us to us reflect about our blogs and our teaching, which I suppose is one reason schools like teachers to present at conferences.
All in all, it was a great experience in collaboration, reflection, teaching, and blogging. If you haven't yet tried presenting at a conference, try it out at a local conference to see if you like it. You may surprise yourself at what you learn.