This blog has gotten many new subscribers recently, and I thought it might be useful for me to give a short description of what this blog is all about.

It has several purposes. Writing this blog….

…gives me a little more incentive to be on the look-out for new resources — and pushes me to be a little more creative in my thinking about how to use them — so that I can be a better teacher with my English Language Learner students.  i should point out, however, that most — if not all — of the resources I write about can be used effectively with non-ELL students, too (that also goes for the 9,000 categorized links on my website).

…allows me to share resources that non-techy people like me can actually use.  Many people would be surprised at how limited my technical abilities are (to give you an idea, when Sue Waters ran an Edublogs webinar with Elluminate on how to use Facebook using my Facebook page as the “guinea pig,” she rightfully insisted that Alice Mercer be in the same room with me so I could accurately figure out how to access Elluminate).  If I can’t figure out how to use an application in a minute or two, I won’t write about it or use it.

…helps me clarify my thinking about the role of technology in the classroom. To paraphrase an economist who was talking about the role of the free market, I believe that technology has its place, but also has to be kept in its place. I don’t think computers are a “magic bullet,” and though I believe they  offer a particular “value-added” benefit to English Language Learners, I’m less convinced about their advantages for non-ELL’s. Writing this blog (and in our group blog In Practice) provides me a forum to share my on-going classroom research to clarify this thinking. (See Results From My Year-Long U.S. History Tech Experiment)

…provides me with a forum to clarify my thinking about the on-going classroom management challenges (see What Do You Do When You’re Having A Bad Day At School?) faced by me, and many other teachers in inner-city urban schools (and probably in many other schools, too).

…helps me develop connections with a broader Personal Learning Network than I would otherwise have.  Writing the What Do You Do? series has been great, with scores of educators sharing their experiences; connecting with teachers of English Language Learners from throughout the world through our International Sister Classes Project and learning from their stories has been a gift; and it’s a privilege to virtually “meet” so many other teachers with wisdom to offer.

…gives me an arena where I can share my thoughts on a progressive vision of school reform.

…offers me additional writing opportunities on issues I have a particular passion about. These opportunities have also included two upcoming books being published by Linworth Publishing, both connecting my nineteen-year community organizing career with my five-year teaching career. One is titled Building Parent Engagement in Schools and the is tentatively titled Organizing To Teach and Learn: The Art Of Teaching English Language Learners.

Writing this post helped me to further clarify my purposes for writing this blog.  I hope it helped you learn a little more about the blog, and a little more about me.