Although I have been blogging for a few years now, it is probably only in the last twelve months that I have been getting significant numbers of visitors from outside my own school. “Technoscience” was originally intended as a class blog, for storing links to resources, lesson planning, reflecting on practise and gaining feedback from students. It has developed a “split personality” now, with some posts directed towards my students and some towards my colleagues and peers. The Teacher’s Blogging Challenge has helped me to recognise this and decide to make the split. I will leave this site as my professional blog, for reflecting on my practise of teaching and for communicating with colleagues and I will start a new blog for my middle years Science students (link to follow!). As we are just starting a new school year, this is the best time to set up a new class blog for my Year 7 and 8 students. Hopefully, I can maintain my exisiting readership and build on my PLN (personal learning network) using the following strategies:
- Writing regular, informative and interesting posts, targeted towards teachers using technology, mainly with middle years Maths and Science students. Use these posts to encourage reader interaction with questions, polls, surveys, offers of assistance and requests.
- Using Twitter (@brittgow) often, to notify followers of new blog posts, good links and resources and to assist people I follow with answers to questions, requests for help and general feedback.
- Attend virtual and face-to-face conferences, as a presenter, moderator, assistant or participant, regularly throughout the year. I already plan to attend the “Toolbox for Environmental Change“(Melbourne), “World Environmental Education Conference“(Brisbane) and “Slide to Learn” (Gold Coast), as well as several online conferences.
- Frequently visit other bloggers and leave comments on posts that I find relevant, well-informed and interesting. Make connections beyond blogging.
- Attend Professional Development opportunities via “Elluminate”, an on-line conferencing platform that allows participants to communicate via text chat, audio, video and an interactive whiteboard. The Victorian Education Department (DEECD) has an excellent program of PD at the “Educator’s Guide to Innovation Ning” and the virtual sessions can be booked for class use as well.
Even though I really like my clustrmap with lots of red dots showing visitors to my blog, building a personal learning network is far more important to me. These are the people I have met at meetings and conferences and then kept in contact with online, or the ones I have met online that I have connected with in some way – because we share the same interests, teach the same subjects, have similar opinions or ask the same questions. My personal learning network are the people behind the avatars, who respond when I send out a tweet asking for help, who comment on my photos and posts, share their resources with me and make me feel that I am part of a community. These are the readers and online friends I value. Sue Waters has created an excellent wiki, “PLN Youself” about gaining the skills to build your PLN.
Many, many posts have been written on the subject of building your blog readership (different to building a PLN), and if that is important to you, here are some of the better ones, in my humble opinion:
- “10 Things to Build a Blog readership” by Glyn Moody, a journalist of 25 years experience.
- “Seth’s Blog – How to get traffic to Your Blog” by Seth Godin. 56 short, sharp, tongue-in-cheek tips to blogging success. Number 48: “Be Patient” stands out to me.
- Suite101 “How to Make a Blog that keeps your readers coming back for more“
Would you rather have lots of readers or a supportive PLN? What do you think is the difference?
P.S. I created the image above by copying and pasting the images and arrows into a Powerpoint slide, saving as a JPEG file (use the drop down box “save as”) then using Irfanview to resize to 450pixels wide.