Improve Your Tech Skills – Part 1 – Blogging Better

Alice Osborn, writer, teacher, trainer

Alice Osborn, writer, teacher, trainer

Hi and welcome back to Attentionology for K – 5 Teachers!

School breaks offer teachers more than much-needed time to refresh and recharge. Time out of the classroom gives teachers a window of opportunity to build skills related to professional and personal goals.

Are you looking to improve your tech skills?

Technology has never been my “strongest suit,” but as I’ve developed Attentionology, I’ve improved my tech skill level, thanks largely to the tech support I’ve received from several colleagues, including  Alice Osborn.

Alice is a superb writer and teacher, and one of many teachers I’ve met in the last few years who writes a blog as part of her own professional initiative.

I asked Alice to share some tips that can help any blogger blog better.  Here’s what she suggests…

…5 Steps to blogging better:

  1. write a blog to communicate online with your students after and before classes each day or each week.
  2. blog to share information with the parents or key caregivers of your students.
  3. blog about interests and concerns in your educational “arena,” including the growing challenge of catching and keeping students’ attention.
  4. blog for the enjoyment of reaching other teachers that share your passion for education.
  5. blog to improve your own writing skills.

Alice emphasizes the importance of writing compelling content.  As she says…

…”OK, you’ve created a blog with a title and you know who your audience is. You’re going to wow them with great content (of course!) and you know you’re supposed to post every week, or even better, every day. But what are you going to say?”

“Creating meaningful, relevant content so we can gain more readers and build our platform is one of the largest challenges all bloggers face.  Bloggers who can’t come up with content will soon see their blogs fail.”

“So how do you prevent this scenario? First, since you’re a teacher and/or writer, you’re used to coming up with ideas and being resourceful. But as a writer, you may also be too careful with posting. What I mean is that you may feel what you have to offer isn’t good enough or you’re afraid of what others might think of your post. You need to get over this fear right now, or you’ll never see your blog or your writing career grow.”

“Yes, some of your posts may not work, but that’s OK—you can always follow up with fresher and better content.”

Alice offers five specific ways to create content. She’s used all of these “tricks” herself. As Alice says,“these strategies are good reminders for even the most experienced bloggers. We need a content methodology in case we have ‘a dry spell’.”

  1. After you’ve been blogging a while, pick up ideas from your comments. Be reader-centered, and above all, ask yourself why should someone else care? Perhaps you can survey your email list or issue a poll to see what is on your readers’/clients’ minds. You can even say, “Hey, I need content! Be the first to respond and you’ll be in my next post. Plus I have a special bonus for folks who respond to me in the next 24 hours.”
  1. As you go about your day, read the paper and not just the sports or the entertainment section. Since I was a little kid I’ve always read the paper and almost all of the jobs I’ve ever had in my life have come my way thanks to me reading the paper. Read the paper both for content ideas and to know what’s going on in your local and global community. Look for great blog topic ideas in The Writer .
  1. Take a few notes every time you and a colleague have lunch or chat on the phone. I bet there are five ideas-in-waiting. You can even say in your post, “So-and-so and I were having lunch and we discussed this topic…”
  1. While you’re coming up with these ideas and they’re flowing like crazy, try to write as many posts as possible in that time (not just one post) because you’re in the “zone” and you need to maximize your time and energy at this moment.
  1. Interview an expert in his or her field! There are hundreds of blogs out there who only interview experts—the blog owner is smart to know how to generate compelling content and have the interviewee’s audience become new blog readers!

And finally, Alice recommends that bloggers make every post count. Her advice…“Don’t phone in your copy and bore your reader!”

“If you don’t feel up to posting and your writing feels sluggish, take a break and attack it the next day.”

“Be open to new ideas and always write from the heart. Your reader will know what you stand for and will engage with you.”

“That’s what blogging is all about…providing great content to build engagement, community and knowledge.”

Alice challenges us…Now get out there and create compelling content!”

You can read more about Alice on her website, Write From The Inside Out. Visit www.aliceosborn.com.

Originally, from Washington, DC (US) Alice’s past educational and work experience is unusually varied, and it now feeds her work as a poet, as well as an editor, coach and marketing consultant for writers. After The Steaming Stops is her most recent collection of poetry; previous collections are Right Lane Ends and Unfinished Projects. She has taught classes and writing workshops to hundreds of aspiring authors of nearly all ages (from 9 to 90), both in person and online. Alice lives in Raleigh, NC (US) with her husband, two children and three parakeets: Woodbird, Birdstein and Perry.

A NOTE related to technology in K – 5 classes: Many schools worldwide lack access to adequate technology-based teaching tools, “adequate” meaning enough tablets, for example, for each child to use. That’s a reality and because of this, the tools and strategies that teachers can find at attentionology.com are not technology-dependent. Given however that technology is in the Core Curriculum and unquestionably considered to be “a 21st century skill,” teachers are wise to develop their own tech skill bases, as much as possible.

Remember, you don’t need to be a magician to work magic in any instructional setting!

Look for Mid-Week Focus – Tech Skills – Part 2 – on Wednesday. Talk with you again soon,

Barbara ♥ The Lovable Poet

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Barbara Cleary has been serving as a resource to hundreds of educators for more than 25 years. An award-winning writer, producer, teacher, and trainer, Barbara’s focus is on offering easy, fun tools and tricks that support K-5 curricula and assist teachers with classroom management.
Quick tips for common classroom conundrums: K-5
Situation: Young students are getting noisy while you’re trying to teach.

Solution: Hold up "Listen Star," a toy magic wand that you’ve designated to be a cue for quiet. Tell the class, "When you see our friend, 'Listen Star' dance across the classroom sky, that’s your signal to HUSH for a moment."

Related Posts: Let "Listen Star" Work Magic for You