Milton Hershey School Staff Member Receives Top 100 Designation for Technology Blog
Finding inspiration and collaborating with other educators is the goal of many teachers. But what’s one of the best ways to find and share ideas? Blogging.
Matt Bergman, a Milton Hershey School Learning Technology Training Specialist, has been recognized for his blog, Learn Lead Grow. His blog was selected by Feedspot, a popular RSS reader, for its list of Top 100 Education Blogs. The site selected the top 100 blogs based on Google search rankings, influence and popularity on social media, quality and consistency of posts, and Feedspot’s editorial team review.
“My goal is to create barrier-free learning environments, so students can access learning through technology,” Bergman explained when describing his blog.
He originally became inspired for Learn Lead Grow after being hired at Milton Hershey School. One of his first responsibilities was giving a workshop about blogging. The workshop motivated him to create an online space to share ideas using the universal design for learning (UDL) framework—the philosophy that learning environments must be designed for everyone, including students with disabilities, so every child can learn and be successful.
“The unlimited potential [technology] offers and the ability to create environments where anyone can succeed, regardless of ability or disability, is so inspirational,” said Bergman.
After writing consistently and sharing valuable online resources, Bergman’s blog quickly expanded. He created Facebook and Twitter handles for the blog and analyzed demographics to determine which audience he could impact. Now in its sixth year of publication, he continues to use these social platforms as well as Google+ to target educators of all ages.
Bergman is a big proponent of knowledge sharing, which is why he creates frequent webinars and presentations to answer his followers’ questions. This past summer, he also shared his technology and UDL knowledge at Harvard University where he taught for a week.
“Every year, I think ‘Is this the year I’m going to give it up?’” said Bergman. “But [this Top 100 achievement] is a reminder for me to keep going…it shows me there’s a need for what I’m writing about.”
To stay inspired, Bergman also uses his blog to give back to students. A few years ago, he began “Clicks for a Cause” in November when a student’s family member was experiencing serious health issues. He wanted to find a way to use his talents to help the student’s family.
Every time someone visited his blog that November, he contributed a penny to the family member’s medical fund. He also encouraged his students to get involved by putting a QR code outside his classroom—they would scan the code and drive traffic to his site, raising more money in the process.
“My blog isn’t just a place for me to share technology ideas,” said Bergman. “It’s a way for me to help other people, too.”
This November, he is continuing the “Clicks for a Cause” tradition by partnering with other educators who will contribute amounts or match Bergman’s final donation. He also plans to work collaboratively with educators throughout the year to create a Google+ community, titled “Changing the World through UDL.” They will work together to provide resources on how to create barrier-free learning environments.
“I like to help [students] see the world through learning and use technology as a tool to not only benefit their lives, but benefit the lives of others as well,” said Bergman.
As he expands the reach of his blog, he sets monthly goals to maintain a regular publishing schedule—his goal is to publish a total of 100 blog posts this year.
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