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What Value — the Profession of Blogging

There is no doubt that blogging has become a profession for some.  For most of us, it’s a hobby, sideline, by-product, or just one essential aspect of what we do as educators.  But, for some, it’s their job and their principal source of income.  I suspect that this has not been so clear to me as this morning, when Brenda showed me this article in the News & Observer, our capital news paper — Bloggers Debate Forming their Own Labor Union.  In the opening paragraph…

In a move that might make some people scratch their heads, some loosely affiliated left-leaning bloggers are trying to band together to form a labor union they hope will help them receive health insurance, conduct collective bargaining or even set professional standards. (Heher A3)

Camera & Newspaper ArticleWe, edubloggers, do not see blogging as our profession, but merely another avenue for communicating — something that is almost exclusively our job.  I guess what resonated with me, when I read through this article, is the growing access that we all have to opportunities for expressing ourselves, and even opportunities to generate income in the process.  It isn’t just writing, but photography, art, video, music, animation, etc.  Self-expression as a lifestyle, or even as a line of work, no longer depends on geography, who you know, or even being the most talented at your craft. 

So how does this change what and how we teach?  Does it?

Rather than copping out with a “What do you think?” — I’ll just go ahead and answer this one.

In most classrooms, we have done an excellent job, for many years, in teaching our children to be good consumers of content — good readers and learners.  I believe that we must now become just as successful in teaching our children to become good and responsible producers of content, writers, artists, composers, etc. — good communicators.  In the information age, it is information with which we will work, to fashion content products that have value, that entertains and teaches.

Rather than just making students information consumers, make them information artisans.

Article Citation
Heher, Ashley M.. Left-leaning bloggers debate forming their own labor union.” News & Observer [Raleigh]6 Aug 2007: A3.

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  • Dottie

    At my 20th high school reunion, we all discussed our favorite teacher, Mr. James Savedes.
    He taught speech, drama,radio and TV, and advanced english courses. The most important thing he taught us was how to be good communicators. The lessons he taught have served me well as an adult. In our changing world, communicating well with all others is a necessity not a luxury.

  • http://www.elcivics.com Christina Niven

    I understand that it’s very difficult to make a living blogging. Kind of like acting, a few get rich, most don’t even get by. I was told by someone who is very well known in the biz that the average monthly income from AdSense ads on a blog or website is about $100–and that’s for a pretty well developed site or visited blog.

    You’re a great writer, Dave, and someone with your level of talent and networking skills could go pro and work for an educational provider that would pay well and maybe include health insurance. I don’t think these people should be called left leaning in the article’s title…rather a put down for a legitimate option which is legally protected in our country. Health care? Would be nice.

  • http://www.reflectivepedagogy.blogspot.com Sarah

    I blog at times with mommy bloggers who are dealing with this issue of making money from their blog on a regular basis. As an educator I would love to see my blog as well as blogs in general be a place for them to find content, but the blogosphere is full of writers with a few readers here and there. I wonder if our students will find a place of content or a place of one sided diatribes?

  • Jeff Branzburg

    I agree with you 100% about “Rather than just making students information consumers, make them information artisans;” too bad our current assessments all but preclude making our students “good and responsible producers of content, writers, artists, composers.” What gets tested gets taught.

    Pessimistically yours,

    Jeff Branzburg

  • http://idst-2215.blogspot.com Keith Hamon

    Of course, good teachers have always tried to teach their students “to become good and responsible producers of content, writers, artists, composers, etc. — good communicators.” What I find so exciting about Web 2.0 is the potential for a real audience.

    I teach writing, and one of the most difficult aspects of any class is convincing the students that they are not writing to me, the teacher. Helping them find a real audience is difficult when everything is happening within the four walls of the classroom.

    For the first time, I’m able to push my students beyond the confines of the classroom to engage others. Many of them still don’t get it, but the ones who do have a whole new world opened to them. A real audience makes for real writing, and nothing else can connect a writer to an audience quicker than Web 2.0. Nothing else will encourage writing more than engaging a real issue with real people (teachers are not real readers).

    What we are doing here in this blog is ample evidence, don’t you think?

  • http://www.antonioviva.com Antonio Viva

    As a fellow writing and arts teacher, blogger, and administrator, a resource I have recently discovered that is worth sharing is a book by Mary Pipher called “Writing to Change the World.”

    I am in complete agreement with Keith that the Web 2.0 world opens a whole new set of possibilities for student writers, producers, artists, filmmakers to publish their work to a larger audience.

    I am reminded of one of my favorite quotes: “Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes, art is knowing which ones to keep.” Finding the balance in a world driven by SAT and AP exams, high stakes state assessments and NCLB, the willingness to take professional risks is more important than ever.

  • http://drctedd.wordpress.com Cheri Toledo

    Hi David,

    Check my blog (http://drctedd.wordpress.com) – you’ve been tagged. Just read the directions at the top of the post.

    Have fun,

  • http://ddraig-goch.blogspot.com Paul Harrington

    Hi Dave
    Blogging can become a full time hobby as can many other hobby. The buzz that you get from global communication that makes it worth while :)
    btw Thanks to the link to Handbrake – am currently using it to convert my video :) Which will undoubtedly appear in a blog post – we can’t stop can we ??? lol

    Paul Harrington Classblogmeister and beyond :)

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