The leadership of Kansas Association of Biology Teachers (KABT) meets each winter at my father’s cabin at
At last winter’s meeting reports from the newsletter editor and discussions about our web presence led to a long and thoughtful discussion on the nature of professional society communication. How do we reach our members, recruit new members and most importantly positively affect biology education in
The year before I had challenged to the board to become active participants on a blog that I had created several years ago—Teaching Biology.
The challenge was to make just one quick post every 2 weeks and build an ever expanding resource for all biology teachers. The results were predictable—a couple of posting by some but again no follow through. Still, I knew that blogging platforms offer some serious advantages to an organization like KABT. They are dynamic and interactive. The interactivity is the key—not only can individual board members post articles, easily but anyone viewing the site can write a comment to the postings. Blogs are very easy to set-up and maintain compared to a modern web-site. Blogs can be set up so that multiple authors or board members can post.
The discussion continued to play out; leading me to eventually, as a non-board member make a proposal. I didn’t want to give up on the idea of using a blogging platform to host our KABT website. I think that the problem with the “Teaching Biology” blog was that most of the posts dealt with ideas and stories—not news or information about biology teaching. With that in mind and Todd’s offer considered, I offered to purchase server space to house our website and set up and run the site. I again challenged the officers of KABT to get on the site and post ideas, news, introductions, etc. The meeting described took place in January. By the end of February I had the KABT BioBlog up and running with input from several board members. Last fall the site was successfully presented to the membership. To date we’ve had postings from several board members, occasional comments and we’ve established connections with former members.
At this fall’s NABT meeting there was quite a bit of interest and the folks at IABT have started a similar effort. I still have to put up too much of the content, myself but I think things are working well enough now to promote this as an idea for other organizations. At NABT, I was asked to consider making a presentation at next year’s meeting about creating an interactive website. I don’t want to wait that long so this is the first of a series of articles for NABT affiliates about using blogging platforms as their web presence.