Forward Thinking is seeking educators to share their stories, expertise, and advice. If you’re interested in writing for Forward Thinking, check out the following Frequently Asked Questions.
Who can write for Forward Thinking?
Anyone with a story to tell about education. Even you. Especially you! You don’t need to be a member of CCIT or even an employee of Delaware Technical Community College. Forward Thinking is a blog where educators get together to start conversations about best practice in teaching and learning. So if you have come across some interesting research, or if you tried something in your classroom that worked really well (or failed miserably), or if you just downloaded a cool app that could work in the classroom, you can write for Forward Thinking. Just share your story and get the conversation started.
What if I’m not a good writer?
That’s okay. You don’t need to be a good writer to have good ideas. We know that awesome things are happening in your classroom, and Forward Thinking is a place to tell other educators about them. If you think that your writing isn’t organized or engaging or grammatically correct enough, don’t worry. Every draft is reviewed by a member of Forward Thinking before publication, and we’ll work with you to tell your unique story in a way that will captivate your audience.
What sort of topics can I write about?
Generally, posts should help meet CCIT’s mission to inspire educational excellence and creativity. Good topics are ones that instructors can make use of the day that they read them or sometime in the very near future. Alternatively, a good topic is one that causes educators to reflect on their own practices in light of new information from you.
Every post should fall into one of the blog’s current categories: Instruction, Educational Technology, or Research & Theory. Each of these is explained below with a few examples of potential headlines to help give you some ideas:
Instruction.Posts in this category typically describe an instructional strategy and offer ideas or first-hand accounts of how it can be implemented in class.
- How problem-based learning transformed my classroom and recharged my love of teaching
- Case in point: Making case studies work for you
- Five fast and easy ways to engage your students
- Top ten challenges to flipping the classroom and ways to overcome them
- Getting group work to work right
Educational Technology. Posts in this category typically describe one app or other piece of technology and give ideas for its implementation in the classroom. The post might be about a relatively new technology, or it could simply shed new light on something that has already been around for a while.
- Five things you never knew PowerPoint could do
- Trello to the rescue: An app to organize your life
- Google calendar in the classroom: How to prepare your students to work in the 21st century
- Using pollanywhere to engage learners and gather feedback
Research & Theory. Posts in this category aim to present research, trends, or important news in education. Rather than give instructors something practical that they can implement in the classroom today, posts in the Research & Theory category provide them a framework or context in which to reflect on their current practices. These posts challenge and inspire readers to come up with their own new ideas based on what is happening in the world of education. They answer questions of why, rather than how or what.
- Why every class needs to teach critical thinking
- Meeting the needs of the 21st century learner
- Filling in the blanks: Why you need to activate prior knowledge if you want to maximize student learning.
- Is your classroom preparing students for the workforce?
What sort of topics should I avoid?
Forward Thinking is blog about practical advice for classroom educators. It’s not a place to start arguments. Try to avoid controversial or overly politicized topics (such as Common Core or standardized testing). It’s not that these topics aren’t worth discussing, it’s just that Forward Thinking is not the place to discuss them.
That being said, don’t be afraid to write against the status quo, as long as it’s relevant to the classroom. If you think that instructors use too much lecture, then do some research about various instructional methods and post about them. Or if you think that multiple-choice tests are overdone, then let the community know about some other forms of effective assessment and how they have improved your classroom. Whatever you post about, keep it constructive, practical, and respectful.
What does a good post look like?
While there isn’t one particular way to organize a post, the following structure works well for most topics:
- Hook the audience. Start your post with something that immediately catches your audience’s attention or hints at a problem they need solved. Some ways to do this are with an anecdote (“So there I was, with my perfectly crafted lesson all planned out when…”), a question (“Do you ever feel like you spend countless hours lecturing to deaf ears?”), or an interesting fact (“A recent study published in Educational Researcher found that 9 out of 10 students don’t know how to take effective notes”). However you do it, the first few sentences of your post should encourage readers to keep on reading.
- Address their needs. In the body of your post, give the reader what they need to implement your technology, instructional method, or research. With each new paragraph or section, remember that your goal is to inspire educational excellence and creativity. Try to connect with the reader by making it clear that you are an actual person with real solutions to their real problems—or at least someone who has reflected seriously on the topic at hand.
- Call to action. A good way to end your post is with a call to action. Put the power in the reader’s hands by challenging them to implement your instructional strategy, download your app, reflect on your research, etc. If relevant, provide links to outside resources or direct them to a useful page of the CCIT website.
How long should my post be?
Typically, posts range from 300 to 1500 words. If you have an idea for a longer post, consider dividing it into two or more posts to be published over time.
Are there any special formatting requirements?
Draft your posts in Microsoft Word or a similar word processing program. If applicable, divide your post up with bold headings every 3 or 4 paragraphs for ease of readability. If you refer to any outside sources, please include links to them or document them clearly (preferably in APA format).
How do I submit my draft?
Just send it as an attachment to Ish Stabosz (firstname.lastname@example.org). Include the name you would like published on the draft, your department, and the institution you are affiliated with.
What if I want to include images in my post?
Images are typically added by an editor at Forward Thinking. If you have images that you think fit the post well, include them as attachments when you submit the draft. Please be prepared to verify that you have proper permission to publish any images that you include.
What happens once I have submitted a draft?
Your draft will be reviewed by someone at Forward Thinking, and you should hear back within 2 weeks. If your draft is accepted for publication, you will receive a revised copy of it for your approval. After you have approved a revision, no major changes in content will be made without your permission, though minor typographical edits, as well as additions of headings or images, may be made without consultation.