My Quest To Teach

September 17, 2014

The Power: History of Writing & Blogging

The Power: History of Writing & Blogging

Supporting the Florida Blogging Conference
Orlando, Florida Saturday, September 20 2014
The power of the written word has been seen for thousands of years,
individuals and groups sharing thoughts, ideas, impressions, feelings
and to tell the life histories of people and cultures.
Writing can be seen in the cave drawings of France, to the parchments
of ancient Egypt and other cultures using diverse materials. Egypt; the
invention of writing is attributed to the god Thoth who was the scribe
and historian of the gods.
The Maya’s, Itzamna was a shaman and sorcerer and attributed or
responsible for the creation of writing. Various cultures and societies
each had their influences in writing or in some cases could be determined
as early blogging (in my humble opinion).
Even in China writing was determined to come not from a god but an
ancient sage named Ts’ang Chieh. He was a minister in the court of the
legendary Huang Ti (Yellow Emperor). While not godly the invention of
writing was supposed to serve as a communication tool between heaven
and earth. So each serves as a strong tool to create, carry and engage
communication on a spiritual and mental level.

The distinctions and similarities of Blogging / Microblogging / Videoblogging
and Podcasting show the development of communication that humans
no matter the culture or gender can create distinct and adaptive ways
to share knowledge. When looking at the writing symbols of the French
cave drawings and
even the hieroglyphics of Egypt show
the development of writing that has grown to what is termed as
Blogging on a digital format. This continues to change as writing
is manipulated, transformed, dissected, adapted and tailored to the
increasing integration of technology tools and platforms.
The foundation is the human mind that conceives in thought the words that
are transcribed in to written or typed words. In a way these words are already
in an electrical format because the thoughts of man are generated by the
synapses of the mind, thus electrical impulses and birth by the hands onto
the materials for publication.

The formats of writing can be seen from the dynamic platforms being used
from Blogger, WordPress, Twitter (Microblogging), Tumblr, Google+ and
even Ghost to name a few. The options available can embrace the diversity
and creative characteristics of bloggers from novice to experts that have made
their art of blogging a financial enhancement to their lives.
Looking at the 15 Best Blogging Platforms
( it is
clear that blogging will remain as an important historical tool to share and
disseminate information on multiple levels.

Blogging; Webster’s dictionary describes blogging as, “diary: a personal
chronological log of thoughts published on a Web page”. The transition
from walls, to parchment, to paper and the digital realm are testimonies
to the ingenuity of mankind. The educational systems of this nation and
the world are embracing the opportunity for youth from elementary school
to high school in blogging. The benefits of writing are seen in more than
developing creative thoughts, but can be seen in developing critical thinking
and higher order thinking skills. How writing benefits children, teens and
young adults can be seen on the web site EduGuide and how writing
benefits many levels of thinking and even on an emotional level.

As a blogger I’m always excited to share my thoughts, ideas, experiences,
triumphs, challenges and other aspects of my life. Not to be egotistical,
vain or conceded, but because I have a connection with readers, my brothers
and sisters of the Blogosphere. Blogging has provided support, camaraderie,
introspection, and personal reflection of my life. It allows me to express my
thoughts from my life. Being a father, educator, African American, man,
human being, American, and other distinctions that I can share with others
I can choose to show my solidarity with world issues or my dislike and
disagreement with local and national issues. It is my choice, I can debunk
the stereotype’s people have of Black men, male educators, Black fathers,
divorced men, big brothers, dating in 2014, being intellectual, a reader of
Malcolm X, Carter G. Woodson, Chinua Achebe and how diverse my musical
interest are. All and more can be shared in my blogging.

The openness of technology embraces the ideas, ideological nuances,
applying these to online content in the Blogosphere that has influenced
all cultures around the world. The evolution of Blogging has helped those
that are uneducated in global awareness. People should remember that
not to long ago it was illegal to teach a slave to read and write during the
time of slavery not just in America, but around the world. Today Blogging
is responsible for showing the world the greatness of people and the
evil that can be created as well. There is an estimated over 8 million
bloggers in America (The State of Blogging (2005), Pew Internet &
American Life Project).

I have always encouraged African Americans and other people of color and
diversity that Blogging is vital because it allows the expansion into other areas
of digital communication. A platform of expression and cognitive expansion
on levels that allow for intellectualism and emotional communion. African
Americans need to learn the potential to expand their knowledge base locally
and globally in areas of politics, economics, education and cultural diversity.
Blogging allows the writer to be creators in this age of digital media that is
changing social interaction, allowing for collaboration, a paradigm in alliances
of the mind and taking social networking to levels of unprecedented growth.
African American Bloggers and those of diverse color are important because
they create original content specifically addressing diverse issues that may
never be recognized by traditional media or ignored because of a lack of
African American issues that demand notice, engagement and transformative
change. Latino / Hispanic bloggers are growing and establishing record
numbers in blogging content, other cultures are influential in their content
creation, bridging generational gaps, increasing intellectual levels, destroying
cultural and religious misunderstandings. The humanity in being human is
shared, allowing for collaboration that bridges distances, borders, generations,
and cultures.

On Saturday, September 20th will be the Florida Blogging Conference in Orlando, Florida. The expanding blogging and
technology conference that has changed the way Florida and the nation sees
the use and application of blogging and technology. Having been a presenter
at Florida Blogging Conference for Educators -
my presentation: ( and others
engaged educators to take their use of blogging and technology higher.

The information available allows for quintessential growth through networking, workshops, meetups and building life-long friendships. Bloggers should not
pass up opportunities like the Florida Blogging Conference. Even educators
have the Florida Blogging Conference for Educators, the first event was held
with more to come in 2015. I was proud to be one of the first educators to
present and speak at this great event that catered to educators of all levels.
To see the presentations view the slides on Slideshare at

Blogging is here to stay and influencing growth across cultural, gender, and
generational lines.

Follow the FlBlogCon on Twitter: @flblogcon

Dawn Heyward - Future Blogger
Dawn Heyward – Florida Blogging Conference 2013

Dawn Heyward Blogger from Philadelphia, PA FlBlogCon 2013

September 12, 2014

HBCU’s are Vital to Education and STEAM Careers

group picture
Instructor Wm Jackson with Educational Technology students attending Open House

HBCU’s are Vital to Education and STEAM Careers

The importance of instruction in education and STEAM in
HBCU’s can be seen in the classrooms of Historical Black
Colleges and Universities similar to the classes at Edward
Waters College located in Jacksonville, Florida.
The students of the Educational Technology class with
instructor William Jackson who is both a teacher with the
public school system in Jacksonville, Florida and adjunct
with Edward Waters College, the oldest HBCU in the state
of Florida is showing there is a need and demand for knowledge
in the area of technology integration, content creation and
the development of thought leaders.

Students in the Educational Technology class at EWC are
learning to modify, create and enhance documents for lesson
plans, access to data using spreadsheets that show learning
gains or learning challenges, conduct presentations in
PowerPoint and build interactive and informative projects
through web based research. Students are taught how to Market
and Brand themselves using Social Media platforms to make
themselves more marketable and competitive.

Mr. Jackson has been teaching at the historic EWC for several
years, provides instruction on how to integrate technology in
the learning and business environment for students in the
Education Department, Mass Communications and other
disciplines. The Educational Technology class teaches
students the value and empowerment of technology, Social
Media content creation and the instructional and educational
elements of Science Technology Engineering Arts Mathematics.
Many educational surveys are showing that “teachers who
instruct American students in public, private and charter
schools find that digital technologies have become essential
to their teaching profession.” Pew Internet Research 2013
The importance of having a knowledge base and skill-sets of technology
will mean the difference in having a productive career or being
unemployable or underemployed. The internet, wireless mobile
phones, and social media have brought new challenges to teachers,
access to the latest digital technologies is important in how future
educators will be proficient and capable in educating students who
are raised from toddlers using wireless Smartphones, tablet and
laptop technologies. The students of EDU TECH 250 are learning
in real time and through hands-on learning the inclusion and infusion
of technologies in the classrooms of Duval County Public Schools.

Instructor William Jackson, at one time a STEAM educator
teaching Engineering and Technology at an elementary school and
with Black Male College Explorers program, with the permission
of the Principal of Venetia Elementary where Mr. Jackson now
teaches, his students from EWC visit and tour during Open House,
to be engaged and view instruction, modeling, and parental interaction.
Role modeling is a valuable tool for new educators and other
professionals that still have a few years to go to be graduates and
on their own.
Viewing educational professionals in their environment helps to make
connections in implementing teaching standards, benchmarks and
build classroom management strategies.
Several of the students in Edu Tech 250 are education majors, but there
are also mass communications, business, biology and even criminal
justice majors that attend the class because they realize that their skills-sets
must be strengthened with 21st century technology skills. Mr. Jackson
earned his bachelor’s degree from South Carolina State University in
education, has over 20 years of educational experience in the elementary
and higher education environment. Mr. Jackson has earned a Masters
degree in Educational Technology from Webster University and also
worked for NASA, Florida Department of Education, and Florida State
College Jacksonville, he has attended and conducted workshops and
presentations on multiple areas of study.
Having attended and presented at conferences like the Florida
Educational Technology Conference (FETC), Florida Blogging Conference
for Educators (FLBLOGCON) and even events such as Learn2Earn
Experience, Blogging While Brown and Preventing Crime in the Black
Community, the value and empowerment of education is shared,
emphasized and prioritized when spoken of and applied to careers.

LinkedIn for High School Students

LinkedIn for Networking

Higher educational institutions like Edward Waters College are
important to provide students opportunities and support where other
institutions would not. The diversity of the nations classrooms still
shows that there is a need for institutions that work to support
learning for students that also have diverse learning, social, economic,
and political challenges and are often times forgotten, cast away and
given up on and seen as not worthy to receive a quality education.
HBCUs see investments in their students not just a student number,
this investment is achieving levels of campus diversity that will make
institutions more appealing and HBCU students competitive in the
workforce. Greg Squires, a professor of sociology and public policy
at George Washington University, said, “I think there is justification
for black schools to remain the way they were built, as vehicles for
expanding opportunity for black people and strengthening cultural
pride and achievement. “

The Educational Technology class of EWC helps students to understand
and grasp the conceptualities of diverse technologies and how to apply
and manipulate to effectively use. Some of the important areas of
instruction in Educational Technology are how impactful the Internet
and digital tools are. The impact comes in being able to access and
create content, utilize digital resources, and materials for teaching,
research and application. HBCU’s are dynamic institutions of change
and adaptability, thus working constantly to diversify their staffs with
instructors from all walks of life and professional backgrounds.
HBCU’s like Edward Waters College are not just for “Black people” as
can be seen by the diversity and cultural heritage of the student body.
Historically Black colleges and universities have done a much better job
in tending to the needs of their students than traditional colleges and
universities. There is and will continue to be arguments for the existence
of HBCU’s, looking at data and statistics HBCU’s are responsible
for the preparation of the majority of Black educators, those engaged in
STEAM / STEM careers and even students that are non-traditional
established with families.

Visiting Venetia Elementary on Open House

The value of field trips in participating in Open House, or
PTO/PTA programs, allows students particularly from HBCU’s the
value of meeting educational professionals. Interacting with teachers
and administrators and importantly learning how to dialogue
with parents. These skill-sets cannot be taught just in the classroom,
but need real world experiences and interaction. Mr. Jackson has
involved his past students with the first African American Mayor in
Alvin Brown of Jacksonville; students have participated in
Chamber of Commerce meetings/networking events and other trips allowing
for maximum exposure to industry leaders in business, technology,
commerce and other important areas.

Avery Brooks of EWC meets Mayor Alvin Brown

The community must be involved even on the higher educational level to
train, instruct, challenge, mentor and involve students who will be the
future of their communities, their nation and even global influencers.
HBCU’s need to be supported not just monetarily,but through mentoring and
field trips to learn and apply learning outside of the classroom.

A great experience attending Open House at Venetia Elementary School

September 7, 2014

A Fathers Engagement is Important in Schools

A Fathers Engagement is Important in Schools

Fathers across this nation want the best for their
children; the best education is in the fore-front of
many fathers minds. Early preparation is important
so encouraging education early is one of the keys to
successful academic stability and consistency in
Quote: “My father gave me the greatest gift anyone
could give another person, he believed in me.”
Jim Valvano

Early educational exposure can place children in the
front of the educational bus that allows for building
a solid foundation in literacy, math, comprehension,
vocabulary, and the enhancement of thinking skills
that are critical in school curriculum’s that require
cognitive (mental), rational (thinking), and reasoning
In my 26 years as an educator I have seen the need
and importance of fathers involved in the educational
process of their children. Fathers should mentor,
volunteer, chaperone, and be community activists.
Fathers need to be seen to teach ownership of learning,
engagement in activities and set high expectations for

Quote: “A father is a man who expects his son to be
as good a man as he meant to be.” Frank A. Clark
The transformative nature of education shows that
education will consistently change; curriculum’s change,
educational strategies change, instructional requirements
change, benchmarks are modified and assessments are
as diverse as the students in the classrooms. A father’s
involvement should not change, that is one piece of the
educational puzzle that should stay constant and reliable.
The other element is the educator, each with their own
teaching style, methods, strengths, cultural backgrounds
and perceptions that may or may not be influenced by the
lack of involvement by a child’s father. As a parent of
two young adults that transitioned through the educational
system from elementary school to graduating high school.

I understand the worries, frustrations and challenges of
fathers that may have them feel unaccepted, unwanted and
may feel un-needed. As a father and educator; fathers are
needed now more than ever to support education and stable
growth in children. There are too many children emotionally
missing their fathers, there are too many children angry at the
world because their fathers are not present. There are too many
children that do not have the moral character and the ethical
awareness to keep them from the dangers of the School to Prison
Pipeline. Fathers are important to raising children.
Quote: “It is a wise father that knows his own child.” William Shakespeare

Dr. Michael Robinson, CEO of Forest of the Rain Productions
provides 6 Ways Fathers Can Become Engaged In The Academic
Lives of Their Children
1. Observe your child’s classroom at least twice a year.
Visit so you know where the classroom is and who the teacher(s)
are that are educating your children.
2. Participate in at least one Parent/Teacher conference (I say two
so you get to know the teacher and the classroom policies and
3. Assist your children with their homework assignments and
school projects. This helps you the parent understand if your
child is struggling or achieving educational goals.
4. Meet your child’s teacher(s), Principal and Guidance Counselor
get to know names, email addresses and school phone numbers.
5. Check your children’s backpack (book bags) everyday (not for
contraband, but papers, assignments) students are forgetful and
misplace items all the time.
6. Complete and review all forms sent home by the school.
(It is embarrassing to say you missed an important deadline
because you did not read all the paper work).

Chinua Achebe (Nigerian author) statement about the importance
of reading is a universal educational influence, “the importance of
reading, because reading is the foundation of educational success.
Fathers should model this to their children and not just tell them,
but model.”
If you’re a divorced or divorcing father communicate with the
teacher(s) and administrator(s). Don’t be embarrassed, the more
the school knows of your situation the better communication
will help keep you involved and engaged with your children. During
my divorce I made sure I notified the teachers that I was still going
to be active and continue to visit the school to see my children. I
still wanted progress reports and report cards.
Fathers must be reminded that they do have rights to visit and see
their children unless legally advised not to. Learn your rights and
stay involved with your children. Don’t let rumors, gossip, or other
challenges interfere in helping your children have a successful
school year.

Quote: “Until you have a son (or daughter) of your own.. you will
never know the joy, the love beyond feeling that resonates in the
heart of a father as he looks upon his son and daughter.” Kent Nerburn
A father does not realize immediately the impact he has on his children,
if he stays involved, active and engaged he slowly realizes that his life
has less meaning and value if he is not connected to his children. A
father not only is important to children, but also to the community he
lives in. His value rises as his children grow and mature because society
and the community will see that the father has direct and transformative
influence on his children. This resonates through the community and
influences other men to be better fathers.
There is more to being a father than just giving a child life, a father can
teach the gifts and talents his children have. Research shows that men
who are positively involved in their children’s lives can give their children
better outcomes in children through high expectations to be better
than their father and mother.

A male model for both boys and girls shows better educational success,
function better socially and are more stable emotionally and behaviorally.
The tragedy and frightening aspect of fatherhood is that fathers are
seen as risks or ignored. Father’s today feel excluded and ostracized,
causing them to feel anger, frustration and abandoning their responsibilities.
Young fathers are hit the hardest because of the challenges of employment,
education and social stereotypes society has on them. This is not a valid
reason to quit being a father, but when depression and low self-esteem are
present this has hard psychological effects on young fathers.
Engaging fathers from very early stages of a baby’s life is vital for a
connection between child and father. Weeks after a baby’s birth are when
the bond between father and child begins to form. Involving fathers at this
stage can be the first step in a life-long relationship from which children feel
secure and blossom. Social interactions are positive and productive
in children they are mentally and emotionally healthier.

Quote: “I don’t even know how to speak up for myself, because I don’t
really have a father who would give me the confidence or advice. Eminem
Children need fathers who are committed to fulfilling their responsibilities
to their children. Charles Augustus Ballard, founder of the Institute for
Responsible Fatherhood and Family Revitalization, stated, “People are saying
it takes a village to raise a child, but first it takes a mother and a father, who
are understanding, compassionate, nurturing, and responsible working together
to teach discipline, character, integrity, and morals in their children.”
Fathers need to be supportive, encouraging and engaged in their children if
not the social ills of society drain and destroy the family.
Fathers make this the first day, the first week, of the rest of your live to be
involved in your children’s life for the rest of your life.

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