The power of newbie

I want to thank Anita Bezic from Slovenia for pointing out this great Wiki for Beginning Bloggers. After reading her blog (and her synopsis of last week's cool cat teacher article on Ten Blogging Habits that Win) I am struck by the power of the blogosphere to teach.

When I teach, I feel that I've accomplished something and left a legacy. Far too many people are stingy with information!

When you are a newbie, you have something that tech-experts do not have: the perspective of a new user.

Here is what you should do when you are a newbie:

  1. Keep a notepad handy and write down the steps to accomplish your task including any “glitches” or nuances. (Include commentary on what is confusing to you and what you think.)
  2. Take screen shots by pressing Ctrl+Shift+Print Scrn and copying them into your photo program. Save it as a jpeg, label it if necessary, and upload it as part of your blog post. I like people to draw me maps when I travel…screen shots are maps for online learners and should be used!
  3. Immediately blog while it is fresh on your mind. Make your target audience – “Myself just prior to attempting this” and make sure you list steps and nuances clearly.
  4. Following the Ten Blogging Habits that Win discussed last Friday when you post.

What a great resource “newbies” are to the blogosphere!

Software makers and web app creators should scour the net for such “newbie” posts concerning their software, web apps, and products. It is free market research! These companies should:

  • Read these posts carefully.
  • Post comments and feedback. (which by the way will drive traffic to your product. It also shows you care and are keeping your ear to the ground, so to speak.)
  • Read posts on the competition to determine their strengths and weakenesses (Perfect research for that old SWOT we learn in business school.)

Great job Anita and keep on blogging! I think I am going to start using a tag “newbie” when I am new to a software package, etc. If you will tag your post with that when you are new to that product, it could help us find such information more easily.

Experts are great but newbies have a lot to add to the conversation too. If the “experts that be” listen to newbies they can learn valuable information that will help answer the questions of beginners.

Blog on newbies! (I'm one too!)

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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kim September 19, 2006 - 6:51 am

I happened upon this post, and wanted to let you know that you have inspired me to write more about each step I learn as I go along. For a while there I was feeling so far behind, that I didn’t want to demonstrate my “late-adopter-ness” by posting things that everyone knows already.

And then I found this post, which made me realize that there are so many other teachers out there, just like me, that want to jump in feet first, but are just as overwhealmed.

Then I realized, we all have to try together. Post what we’ve learned, share what we try, and build on what we’ve read elsewhere. There’s no place else to go but up.

Thanks for providing a starting point!

Lindsay Lohan December 18, 2006 - 4:07 am

best site

MelissaB February 7, 2007 - 2:23 am

Thanks for this site it has been my inspiration to try doing a wiki project with my middle school students! I will share the process with parents and the community on my new blog. All this thanks to your blogspace!

Tara June 16, 2007 - 12:22 pm

Great post! Every time I think “everyone knows this already and I’m far behind,” I realize that a great deal of teachers out there don’t know what things like RSS and blog and wiki mean, and neither did I until recently. But there is such a desire to know more without it being too overwhelming for those w/o experience. I’m now looking at technology as a challenge for me to figure out rather than solely a frustration as it used to be. Thanks, also, for finding my newbie blog and talking about it on your blog. It’s my attempt to create a space for newbies to begin experimenting with technology.

Rachel October 11, 2007 - 9:06 am

Hi – also a thank you from me :) Like other newbies, I was feeling a little overwhelmed. I am just starting on my learning journey, which is made a little harder as I do not have a project yet and am trying to educate myself for when the time comes. It was only about 6 weeks ago that I learned what a podcast is, and RSS – I am still trying to work that out :) It is great to hear of others who are just learning as it seemed that until now, everyone I came into contact with in various communities were so far ahead of me.

mary anna June 14, 2008 - 10:33 pm

It is such a relief to hear from other newbies … I am taking a great class on educational technology and learning lots of fascinating things but I feel centuries behind everyone else in the class, and very shy about adding comments. This post and all of these comments have made me feel much better about my newbie status. Everyone has to start somewhere. Thanks!

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