Why I Blog for Media Tech Parenting

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Over a year ago I started this blog, MediaTechParenting.net. My aim was and is to organize, connect, and share resources on media, technology, and digital parenting — information that I encounter every day.

Over the course of a school year I often chat with adults about their digital kids. Most parents are enthusiastic, perhaps even astounded about the digital changes that occur every day in their lives. Yet, they also admit to feeling confused, worried, and even a bit befuddled. Often I find parents reflecting on how committed parents — who understand the importance of these digital changes — are supposed to keep track of the constantly changing digital landscape?

As a 22 year veteran in the educational technology world, I like to sift through articles, seek out references and discover resources that can help people — especially the parents of my students — understand more about the digital world. I read articles, watch videos, listen to stories, and keep an eye out for interesting research. It makes sense to share them on a blog. When I think about a post, I ask the question, “If I were a parent of a digital kid, what might I want to learn about?”

For instance, each year a professor at Beloit College in Wisconsin publishes a mindset list that describes the lives of the entering freshman class. The goal is to remind faculty and staff of the dramatic changes in the lives of the incoming students. Some list items are funny, others shocking, and a few heartrending — but all describe ways that set students apart, at least a bit, from their parents and the adults who work with them at Beloit. And each year the list grows longer (Read this year’s list describing the entering students in the class of 2015.) Each time I share the mindset list with parents and colleagues, it’s a hit. The video below gives more mindset background.

Over a year and three months of blogging at MediaTechParenting, some interesting things have happened. Once two other blogs referred to my post on the same day. Another time my blog was used in a course at a small liberal arts college in New York state. I’ve also commented on lots of blog posts that appeared in colleagues’ blogs. In June I attended an international technology and teaching conference in Philadelphia, blogging on a separate page, to keep a daily log of the experiences that I thought the parents of my students might find interesting. And recently I led an informal online course for parents on blogging — the idea of a parent reader — taught via a blog! The hardest part of the class was that I could not get the parents to write comments — they e-mailed me instead.

So now, as I embark on a new adventure, taking part in a class on Personal Learning Practices. I plan to share my discoveries here. I am not yet certain just how I’ll do it, but I know that parents and teachers yearn to discover a lot more about effective digital learning — and that’s just what I’ll be doing as I spend much of the next school year exploring things with colleagues and friends.

So stay tuned.

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