Blogging on

I am currently developing supporting materials for the Authentic eDesign course that starts on 9 January, 2012. So, I thought I’d see what new information and resources have been added to the web that might be useful for this course.

I discovered that Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano has recently added a series of posts: Learning about blogs FOR your students on her langwitches blog. The series consists of 6 posts (so far):

langwitches blogging image
langwitches: blogging

I’ve been following Silvia’s work for a couple of years now and I regularly use images from her flickr langwitches collections on my websites so I was very pleased to discover this series of posts where she shares her knowledge and experience about blogging.

As usual, Silvia “practices what she preaches” and supports her information with links to others work so I happily clicked away and wandered off to explore what she had cited. I  found some very useful resources that I intend to link to in my own course: Seth Godwin video interview [1.37mins]: Metacognition of thinking matters when blogging and Derek Sivers Obvious to you, amazing to others” [2min video].

I’ve been blogging since 2006 and I am familiar with the concepts Silvia discusses in her posts.  However, I found it useful to review these concepts and reflect on my own blogging.

  1. Reading. I consistently read lots of other blogs, many of which are mentioned in Silvia’s posts  (e.g. Alec CourosDean ShareskiLinda YollisJenny LucaRod LucierKathleen MorrisKim CofinoClarence FisherVicky Davis, and Julie Lindsay) and I consider them to be “credible” and “trustworthy” sources of information. I recently read a very humorous summary about the: Top Ten Reasons to To Blog and Top Ten Not to Blog, by Tony Karrer in response to The Learning Circuits blog: The Big questions for October: Should All learning professionals be blogging? that made me laugh. You may identify with some of the reasons given, however the reason I mention it is that if you do not currently read blogs the “list of posts discussing this so far (26)” provides links to some more well respected educational bloggers (e.g., Nancy WhiteHarolde JarcheStephen DownesClark QuinnDave WilsonClive Shepherd) that you might like to explore.
  2. Writing. When I first started blogging my focus was primarily on sharing my travel experiences and home renovation projects with family members. I have written some posts about my teaching and learning  (here and here) but my writing has been sparodic and far from consistent. I can definitely identify with  the feelings about writing that Derek Sivers mentions in his video Obvious to you, amazing to others” [2min video] . So, I will endeavour to put my thoughts out in public more often and let the world decide.
  3. Student writing. I like to give students a range of technologies to choose from (rather than dictate what they should use) so I have explored a range of different blogging platforms (e.g., Blogger, Edublogs, Posterous and WordPress. They all have features I like and dislike. I like Blogger because it’s the easiest to use and Posterous because you can post via email. I like Edublogs because of it’s specific educational focus and the fantasic ideas and tutorials provided by The Edublogger (Sue Waters). I like WordPress because it is not just a blog, it’s a web creation and publishing tool. However, I have lots to learn about this tool and that is one of the reasons I chose it as my blog platform for my research.  Recently most of my teaching tasks have involved students creating their own websites & blogs. Most of the FREE web creation tools we suggest to students (Weebly, Yola & Google Sites) have built-in blog pages, so we have suggested they use these tools to keep their web & blog together.
  4. Commenting. Again,  I am very spasmodic. I feel, overwhelmed by the quality comments others make and fear my contribution is less worth. However, having now read Silvia’s post on commenting I agree that commenting is an important aspect and I will endeavour to comment more frequently on the posts I read.
  5. Connecting. I think connecting students with people outside the classroom so they can experience multiple perspectives about a concept or topic is extremely important. I always encourage my students to post on the open web (rather than locked inside an LMS) however, I haven’t really done anything to pro-actively encourage them to “connect” with others on the web. This is something I will need to explore further and I think Silvia’s first idea: blogging buddies would be my first tentative step in this direction.
  6. Reciprocating. Again, I agree this is important, and an aspect I need to improve.
  7. Consistency. Well, having reflected and articulated my thoughts on the previous concepts it is obvious that I am not a consistent blogger.  My initial thoughts were: 1/ consistency would help generate an audience but do I really want an audience? and 2/ if I am writing for myself, does it matter that my writing is sparodic? I guess the answer lies in why I am blogging. Do I want to improve my metacognition?  Do I want to be a role model for my students? Do I want a historical record of my learning and teaching processes, thoughts and ideas? Humm, my answer is yes, to all of these – so I think I better put more effort into blogging more consistently.

Silvia concludes her post by posing the following question: “If you are a newbie, how do you envision making a “commitment to consistency” work in your case?”. Well, I’m not a newbie, but I do think I need to make a committment to consistency.  In my case, I think I need to recognise that consistent blogging is one of my learning goals and allocate time to blog more frequently. I’d love to be able to follow Stephen Downes example and write half an hour, every day, just for me, but I don’t think I could maintain this committment so I think I’ll set myself a target to write at least one blog post each week and try to respond to at least 1 other person’s post in my daily readings.

I would love to have a blogging buddy to “tap me on the shoulder” if they notice my blog posts are overdue :). Would you like to join me on my blogging journey?

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