Week One: Why Blog?

Since this is the first entry on this particular blog, some words of introduction and personal background may be helpful to readers in order to establish a context, or perspective, for future posts.

Currently, I am teaching English, Photography, and Media Arts (Video Production/Animation) at Mt Douglas Secondary School in Victoria, British Columbia. I am lucky enough to be able to teach all my classes in a computer lab equipped with 24 iMacs, and 7 Windows computers. This was originally because of the media driven nature of Photography and Media Arts, however as I began to explore technology integration into core courses it became obvious that I needed to utilize the lab for my English classes as well. That was 5 years ago and since then all my classes have gone digital, incorporating an e-portfolio or paperless environment.

This is where I am now, but lets back up for a moment…




I started teaching in 1989 where I accepted a job on the North Coast of British Columbia in a town called Prince Rupert known for two things: the deepest ocean port and the most rainfall per year in North America. A great place to get started, but a million miles from nowhere! My first assignment was teaching Band, Drama, Guitar, and Family Life (This is the polite title for Sex Ed.) I was a 21 year old teaching 18 year old’s about sex…awkward!

After three years in Prince Rupert and the birth of my son (who is now 21) I made the move to Victoria and have been here ever since, teaching at three different high schools in a variety of subjects…thankfully, no more “Family Life”.

You may have noticed that my teaching areas have evolved a bit. I am formally trained in music and theater, but for many different reasons I have chosen to focus in on other areas, with particular emphasis on the integration of educational technology. Having said that, many of the things I value the most, other than family and friends, are Arts related. I still have a passion for music and theater and love the connection between humanity and the Fine Arts.

The purpose of this blog is to provide a venue for the exploration of using blogs in the classroom. I have utilized blogging in my classroom for a few years and have found its ability to generate discussion, share ideas, and provide a platform for reflection, invaluable. I use a free, private blog platform in my English classes called Collaborize Classroom that is built especially for use in the classroom and offers a more “private” platform for student interaction and gives the teacher the ability to closely monitor activity on the site. In Photography, my students create their own WordPress Photoblogs where they are required to post their best photographic work and comment on the work of other students and professional photographers.

I hope this little intro will provide some context to future posts and I am looking forward to further exploring the world of blogging in this class and using the tools and techniques generated over the next semester in my classes.


6 thoughts on “Week One: Why Blog?

  1. Barry– Glad to see you in class. You have taught almost everything it seems in your career as an educator! Are you going to share your students’ blogs? I’m sure I am not the only one who would love to see some of their work! –dm

  2. I will be interested in following your blog and also curious about differences between the educational system in Canada and the U.S. – Vanessa

  3. Hi, Barry! You have quite the experience in teaching and we share some commonalities. I, too, have taught “Family Life”–it is part of my school’s spring religion curriculum. It is always awkward, but thankfully, my students are younger and thus, not too bad. I also plan on using Classroom Collaborize for next year in my revamped language arts program. What successes/challenges have you had with it? I look forward to being in 597 with you!

    • Hi Lauren
      I have found Collaborize quite useful in my English classes. I use it to have multiple classes connect on discussions and encourage parents to become members of the community as well. Students use. It for developing and sharing ideas as well as posting drafts of assignments for peer review before submission. It is especially useful for easily tracking student participation.


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