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learning.now: at the crossroads of Internet culture & education with host Andy Carvin

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August032007

The Return of the Original Edublogger

There’s a new blogger in town, but he’s an old friend to educators who have been online since the early days of edtech. Please welcome Louis Schmier to the blogosphere.

If you’re not familiar with Louis Schmier, no worries - let me offer a brief introduction. As Louis says, “The first name rhymes with phooey, the last with beer.” He’s been a professor at Valdosta State University for 40 years now, but if you ask him what he teaches, don’t expect him to say “history”:

[W]hen I am asked what I teach, I answer unhesitatingly, “I teach students”. I am now more concerned with the students’ learning than my teaching, more concerned with the students as human beings than with the subject. I am more concerned with reaching for students than reaching the height of professional reputation. I believe the heart of education is to educate the heart. The purpose of teaching is to instill in all students genuine, loving, lifelong eagerness to learn and foster a life of continual growth and development. It should encourage and assist students in developing the basic values needed for learning and living: self-discipline, self-confidence, self-worth, integrity, honesty, commitment, perseverance, responsibility, pursuit of excellence, emotional courage, creativity, imagination, humility, and compassion for others.

Beginning in 1993, Louis started sharing his teaching experiences - as well as life experiences in general - by writing “random thoughts” on educational email lists. These random thoughts soon developed a wide following among the first generation of educators who were using the Internet in the classroom. Some of these random thoughts, like To Be a Teacher and The Classroom is not a Factory became early examples of the viral nature of the Internet, with copies of them passed along from list to list, from bulletin board to bulletin board. Back then, I was just getting started in the edtech world, launching my EdWeb site and the WWWEDU email list. Rarely a week would go by without an educator emailing me a copy of one of Louis’ random thoughts and saying something like, “Every teacher should read this!” It was a time when “A-list bloggers” - let alone the word “blog” - didn’t exist yet. But among online educators, Louis Schmier was A-list all the way. He was a rock star. His writings helped even the most jaded educator remember why they became a teacher in the first place - and that’s no small feat.

Fourteen years later, with more than 500 of these random thoughts under his belt, Louis has become a blogger. Scratch that - Louis has always been a blogger as far as I’m concerned. It’s all too easy to say that blogging was invented around 10 years ago when the first blogging tools were developed. But the spirit of blogging - journaling one’s life experiences and sharing them as part of a broader community conversation - predates those tools by many years. Louis’ Random Thoughts is perhaps the best example of an educator using the Internet for self-reflection, professional inspiration and debate of anyone I can think of from that period of time. And now he’s embracing blogging as a way to bring his writings to a new generation of teachers and students.

Welcome to the blogosphere, Louis. You’re already making it a better place. -andy

Filed under : Blogging, People

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