This blog: hello and thank you!

Next week I have been asked to speak to the HoDs at my new school about my use of ICT. Mine, rather than the department’s and focused on this blog as a way to develop my own thinking and paedagogy.

It’s funny, because I began this blog in 2012 as a means of supporting my year 11s through GCSE. The early posts were podcasts relating to Hardy poems and a range of pre-1914 war poems for the AQA GCSE we sat in those days. It was intended to be a convenient way of putting everything in one place so that students could easily access it on their phones and computers. I blogged because I have never seen any reason NOT to share my material.
As it has grown, my rationale has developed.

Looking at my wordpress stats for this year ( ) I see I am read in the vast majority of countries in the world by an astonishing number of people. Over 100,000 last year and currently around 400-500 per day on average. This is amazing and humbling. I started this for 25 boys and girls! (by the way, if anyone knows who the solitary viewer in Afghanistan is, I’d love to know – a squaddie helping a child with homework from afar? A lonely schoolchild hoping to find magic? A less welcome viewer looking at my teaching of Charlie Hebdo in 2012…)

So, back to the matter in hand… I use the blog now to provide teaching resources to anyone who wishes to use them and who stumbles across them on Google and to help me to clarify my own thinking about teaching in general and about my specific class needs. The blog is a wonderful palette on which to mix my ideas before presentation. Posts need to be considered and reflected upon if they are to be of use.
I try to revisit teaching ideas once the whole scheme has been worked through. Longer SOWs like my work on Patrick Ness or Catherine Johnson found here:  and here: been taught and revised. I still use them and I hope others have found them useful.
I write essays on the blog, not as downloadable exam answers, but to stimulate debate. I will often take a position and push it. I challenge my students to unpick the writing. I hope I am clear in all these posts that I am not claiming instant A*. I have only been plagiarised to my face once in four years.
I use the blog to host video which links to my Department You Tube course : where I host my own screencasts and link to others, the point being that I think I can help students to navigate the thousands of courses to avoid using material written as Year 10 project as the basis for A level analysis.

I love blogging on here – it is an outlet for my thoughts. It makes me think twice before making a statement – the internet users around the world are rarely slow to come forward if there is criticism to be made – yet I slowly gain followers and generally receive positive notices. That’s good for the ego, if I am honest. We all need a bit of praise from time to time and often it is the last thing that there is time for in an academic world which revolves around results, league tables and constant and obsessive scrutiny. Blogging is strangely liberating.

I tend to think of my blog as dovetailing with my twitter account – @mrpeel – as a form of continuous CPD. A post from a while ago sums up my Twitter experience well:  please feel free to read it.

In short, I have benefitted from the need to think clearly and from the platform that blogging provides. My students and others around the world have benefitted (I hope) form reading some of my material. My awareness of ICT and the Cloud as a teaching tool has leapt forward as I am comfortable in this area and have made so many positive contacts through this medium.

To everyone who has used the blog; to those who follow me and to those visiting for the first time: Thank You. I love blogging and I love teaching. I hope my maundrelling on here can be of use and benefit.

Happy New Year.