Mr. Zirkle

Blogging Purposes, Audiences, & Platforms

Why Blog?

Principals have so much to offer students, parents, the community, staff members, fellow principals and colleagues. Principals can give and contribute by sharing their experiences, knowledge, and insight. Principals are complex talented leaders that are committed, passionate visionaries that can empower, inspire, and motive their audiences. There are dynamic and relevant topics that principals can blog about. Some of these include blogs about school culture, mandates and policies, educational trends, philosophies and beliefs, professional development topics, and transparent and reflective blog posts.

Audience & Purpose

Principals have four potential audiences. Principals can direct their blog posts to student and parents, the community, staff members, and principals and area superintendents. Each of these audiences can have a specific purpose for each blog post. For example, administrators can blog to students and parents about school culture, mandates and policies, educational trends, school news, nuts and bolts, and celebrations. An administrator may have similar blog post to share with the community, but may do so using a different platform than that used to reach students and parents. Administrators may use the school website to reach students and parents, but use Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to reach the community.

Principals will have much different content to share with their staff members. This may blog posts about their philosophies and beliefs, school issues, curriculum topics, data and instruction, technology integration, and professional development topics. Lastly, principals will blog very differently when they target fellow principals and area superintendents.These blog posts will probably be very transparent and reflective.

Blogging Best Practices

There are many options for best practices related to principals blogging. Here are five that I derived from the book Hacking Leadership.

1. Plan – there are many things to plan. Plan about the topics for blog posts, the platform you will use, the frequency of your posts, and the schedule you will follow.

2. Constant Flow – there is one shortcoming that will cause your audience to fall away and that is not posting on a regimented schedule. You will have followers. They will be looking forward to your posts. You do not want to be inconsistent. Select a specific day to post on and always post on that day or days.

3. Dynamic & Relevant – capture your audience by relating to them. A dynamic post will include multimedia and new content that your audience can relate to and apply.

4. Transparent & Reflective – This may be a challenge for admin. What I mean is that there are times when an administrator should not be transparent or reflective. When we reflect, we talk about what we learned and sometimes admit we made mistakes. This may not be something a principal would want to include in a blog post to student, parents, or the community; however, there may be times when this would be appropriate. Admin will mostly be transparent and reflective with their area superintendents, but could be inspiring to their staff members.

5. Reply – blogging gives your audience the opportunity to comment to your blog posts. Reply to the comments to spur discourse. This will hook your audience and communicate to them that you are engaged with them and present.

Digital Tools and Platforms for Blogging

In the WCPSS there are two options for principals. Admin can use Schoolwires or Blogger. This is not the venue to get discuss the technical details of these two platforms. I recommend you contact your area DLC to support you in your blogging expeditions.

Technology Credits

There has been much talk about teachers needing to get there Technology credits. The Digital Learning Coordinators can support teachers in getting technology credits. There are multiple paths to getting tech credits. Here is a list of some pathways to tech credits. Contact your area DLC for support or questions.
1. The North Carolina DPI Digital Learning Competencies – this may be the fastest and easiest way to obtain technology credits. The NC DPI created modules for teachers to complete in order to obtain technology credits. There are 4 competencies that teachers can choose from. Each competency is equal to 1.0 CEU.

A. Leadership in Digital Learning –Teachers will demonstrate leadership in accelerating their integration of digital teaching and learning pedagogies.
B. Digital Citizenship- Teachers will model and teach digital citizenship by the ethical, respectful, and safe use of digital tools and resources that support the creation of a positive digital school    culture.
C. Digital Content and Instruction- Teachers will know and use appropriate digital tools and resources for instruction.|
D. Data and Assessment- Teachers will use technology to make data more accessible, adjust instruction to better meet the needs of a diverse learner population, and reflect upon their practice        through the consistent, effective use of assessment.
You may need a partial credit or a whole credit. These modules will enable you to complete an online course at your own pace. Contact me, Chris Zirkle, to receive more information and access to Canvas courses. (

2. Work With a DLC – When we work with staff members we keep track of the time we have spent with you working on technology integration. We will provide your school’s E-School manager with the number of hours we worked with you and a description of the session. Each hour equals .1 CEUs.

3. Convergence Remix – The WCPSS DLCs host Remix events throughout the year for each calendar schedule. We send out invites to administrators. Be on the look for a Remix event. They are awesome ways to learn about technology integration while earning tech credits.

4. Kyte Learning – If you love to participate in Professional Development on your own time and in your pajamas, Kyte Learning may be up your ally. Look for the link in the WCPSS Portal.

5. Google Level 1 & Level 2 Certification – Your area DLC can provide you with resources and support in order to pass the Google Educators Certification Exams. Level 1 is worth .8 CEUs and Level 2 is worth 1.2 CEUs. Here are some resources to get you started.

6. The Friday Institute – The Friday Institute offers several online courses.

Google Certification Level 1 & 2

The Google Education Suite is a powerful resource that can engage students, enhance curriculum, and foster the 4Cs (Communication, Creativity, Collaboration, & Critical Thinking). If you use the G Suite with your students or would like to sharpen your G skills, preparing for the Google Educators Certification exam will ensure you are proficient with using the G Suite apps.

I have developed and curated some resources that will help you determine if you are ready for the exams and prepare you to take them. Here are the steps that I recommend you take:
1. Complete this self-assessment that I created. The assessment begins on page four. There are sixteen pages, so make sure you scroll all the way through the document. This resource includes links to tutorials and the WCPSS Boot Camps.
2. Once you complete the self-assessment you can explore the tutorials to help you with the performance tasks you need to master.
3. Google has extensive training units that you can complete. They are very long and require much time. I recommend you skip the lessons and go directly to the review questions. If you answer all of the review questions correctly, move onto the next unit. If you missed several of the review questions, it may benefit you to read through the lessons for that unit.
4. The WCPSS has created boot camps for level one and level two. I recommend you complete the boot camps. They are very similar to the scenarios you will experience during the exam.
5. If you need support in any way, feel free to contact me.

Got Google?

Use this Google Drawing to demonstrate what Google apps you know, love, and want to learn about. This activity will give you some experience with Google Drawings. As you participate in this activity, think of ways you can use Google Drawings with your students.


  1. Drag each Google app, that you are familiar with, to the board.
  2.  Describe how each app can be used to engage students, enhance your curriculum, and integrate the 4 Cs, or simply describe what the app does.
  3. Note your favorite apps.
  4. Add question marks next to the apps you need to practice using.
  5. This G Suite Presentation will go over some of the most common apps and their features.

Would you like to become a Google Certified Educator? You can prepare for the Google Level 1 & 2 exams by completing this self-assessment. In this resource, you will find links to the WCPSS boot camps, Google practice questions, and tutorials.