My almost sixteen year old daughter and I recently shared a good laugh (deservedly at my expense) remembering the time I told her she was never ever to blog. It must have been about five years ago, which now seems an eternity. Listening to nervous naysayers rather than investigating and learning for myself, I perceived blogs to be personal diaries inappropriately and self-indulgently shared with the world. I openly confess; interacting on the internet frightened me. Web 2.0 was a term I only vaguely understood and I had not yet heard of a “digital footprint” or “digital citizenship”. As an educator and a parent, I was warned by wise experts in the field to teach my students and my children Internet safety. Dutifully, I brought in speakers about internet safety to school. Like so many parents, when I allowed my daughter to have a Facebook page I reviewed with her my expectations, which included that she never ever accept a friend request from anybody she hadn’t actually met. Be careful, I warned. The advice was heartfelt and appropriate. It’s just that I hadn’t yet recognized my responsibility also to support her, along with my son and my students, to be creative and collaborative. Sharing, albeit with appropriate caution, is vital.
In time, I realized how misinformed I had been about blogging and social media, developing the habit of reading the blogs of educational thinkers from around the globe on a daily basis. I can no longer imagine professional life without interactions with a wide network of individuals writing from the trenches – principals, teachers, instructional coaches, parents and even students. These reflective musings have become a blessing to me, as I have learned from the successes and also from the mistakes of others willing to share. And so, albeit a reluctant blogger intially, I join in conversation, hoping to reflect, struggle, dream and engage with others exploring ways to nurture our children’s learning and support our children in building character.