We know Peeps of the Web has been gone for a min, but we’re back and with a very interesting Peeps of the Web this week. You may think teachers are simply consumers of social media but our chat this week with Jose Vilson proves otherwise. He took some time out to talk to us about how he uses blogging as a teacher and where he thinks social media and digital technologies in the classroom will go in the future. Enjoy!
BlackWeb2.0: So tell us about what you do?
Jose: I’m a math teacher by day, writer by night, as some might say. I’ve been blogging since ’03, but I’ve been writing for quite some time. Lately, I’ve been working on a couple of books, one of which will be published by 2010 (We hope).
BlackWeb2.0: Very cool! Where do you teach?
Jose: In Washington Heights (Manhattan), NYC; in middle school. I teach 7th grade now.
BlackWeb2.0: You mentioned before you are a part of a movement in education that uses blogs as professional development, I had no idea this existed, can you tell us more about that?
Jose: Yeah. Many teachers who we see blogging these days, including me, have used their blogs as a sort of professional development where they’re reflecting on their profession, providing resources for other teachers, and even offering up extended lesson plans to their fellow teachers. For instance, when I have a question about pedagogy, I have a clique of math teachers who I can turn to, or English teachers, or social studies teachers. Some of them have inspired me to start using a class blog and maybe even replace the journals we use in class and get them to blog their thoughts about math material.
BlackWeb2.0: Wow school isn’t what it use to be but that is definitely an innovative way to use blogging!
BlackWeb2.0: You actually have a degree in computer science correct?
Jose: Yes I do.
BlackWeb2.0: How has this played into what you do now as a teacher and what you do as a blogger?
Jose: Well, as a computer science major, I’m able to integrate higher-order level math into the lessons I teach. For instance, there are times when I’ll talk about scientific notation and connect that to bytes, and how we try to simply really long numbers.
Jose: As a blogger, I guess I’ve been a little ahead of the curve when it comes to blogging. Rather than relying on other platforms and hosts, I decided that, once I got the money, I’d invest in my own web development, my own .com, and being an entrepreneur in that sense.
BlackWeb2.0: You are referring to owning your own domain and not hosted like ‘josevilson.blogspot.com’?
Jose: YES! Exactly the ‘.com’ should have caught on earlier on, but now it’s the movement ppl need to get on, it’s like having an independent business.
BlackWeb2.0: In terms of trends you have been able to see over the years are other teachers that serious about it or do they seem to be pretty happy with hosted solutions?
Jose: I think most teachers I know see the value of having one’s own ‘.com.’ Most of the “big” bloggers have their own ‘.com’ or at least their own ‘.net.’ If it’s not for their own blogging, they at least use it as a calling card. Teachers are becoming multifaceted in that respect.
BlackWeb2.0: That is great to hear!
BlackWeb2.0: In the future do you see yourself staying in the classroom as a teacher or moving into some sort of hybrid role that includes Education and social media?
Jose: That’s a great question. I think the idea of an educator has to expand with the talent that’s applying. I see myself being in the classroom, and I love being an educator, and relish it as a career. However, I also can’t see how I can be stagnant with the other things I can bring to the table.
BlackWeb2.0: Very interesting.
BlackWeb2.0: Ok now for some fun questions
BlackWeb2.0: Most efficient blogging platform in your opinion?
Jose: WordPress, by and large. I’ve never had a complaint with WordPress and they’re only getting better.
BlackWeb2.0: Top 3 websites you and your students have in common?
Jose: Haha, that’s funny. I think the only one we visit in common is myspace.com, and that’s because I have a teacher Myspace. Otherwise, espn.com and wikipedia.org will do.
BlackWeb2.0: The future of the classroom: Digital Whiteboards, Blogging for Student Enrichment, or Online Communities for Classrooms? Or all of the above
Jose: I think much of that is in the present for some schools. In my school, I have a smart-board, which is a digital whiteboard. I know some teachers who have used my blog on their online syllabus. and I’ve visited a school with an online community using only Google Docs. In 5-6 years, it’s possible that we can integrate that into all school
BlackWeb2.0: On your iPod, what is most used shuffle or playlist?
Jose: shuffle. Always. I have a selected amount of songs I put on the iPod and they’re carefully chosen for the mood I’d like to be in when I go to school, go to the gym, or get out of school.
BlackWeb2.0: Thank you so much for participating!!!
Jose: Anytime, that was good