saudixpat’s Weblog

November 25, 2008

Blogging about Blogging

Filed under: Uncategorized — Expat in Saudi @ 10:21 pm

Sounds tautological (a great word I learned in Psych 100), but really, now that this blog has come full circle, there are some comments to be made, ideas to be shared, and challenges to be issued. When I first saw the course which this blog is a result of, I was hooked. As a teacher of technology who had ‘caught the buzz’ of Web 2.0 and wanted to learn more and work with some of the Web 2.0 tools out there, I was delighted to find I was accepted into the course. I am also happy, despite the ups and downs in my personal life, that I have kept with it.

First off, blogging is a worthwhile pursuit and a cooperative venture. When I blog and get feedback, there is a temporal dialogue going on that is deeper than a conversation. Why do I say that? In a conversation, ideas, thoughts, and reactions are all temporal. They are NOW, and while we have a moment to instantiate our thoughts, incorporating these new ideas takes time and cognition. This is not a luxury I have when I am engaged in conversation with my colleagues and then have to rush home or to my next class.

Blogs change the nature of time. They lend themelves to a thoughtful considered approach and have temporal stability. The ideas expressed will be there in the future and the thoughts of others will be stirred into the mix, making it richer and more nuanced (one would hope). My greatest disappointment would be to see responses just for responses’ sake, with nothing of significance advance, developed, or expressed. Such has not been the case in this course. As I read the works of others (and I have, although I have been too distracted at times to respond), I have been blown away by others’ insights (“how much better than mine,” I often think) and the insight I have received into the reality of their teaching world and connections they have made with Web 2.0 and learning. Blogging has been a positive experience.

This leads me to the consideration of blogging as a PD tool. Can blogging alone be used as PD? Who provids direction? Is it similar to a PLC? Is it more of a PLE (thanks for wrapping my head around that idea, George Siemens)? What will the anticipated outcomes be? The expectations of my administrator and district leaders? What do I think is best practice for using blogs as professional development?

At this point I am not too sure. So I set out to find what others had said about using blogs for PD. I came across a blog post by Dana Huff; however, the comments and feedback seem to focus more on using wikis rather than blogs. I did come across another blog post by Wesley Fryer who uses his blog to analyze PD presentations. Again, it is interesting, but not quite what I am looking for. If the “shoe” doesn’t fit, perhaps it is time I looked for another “shoe”.

After a bit of thought, I began searching for “using blogs in a PLC”. A PLC is a professional learning community and is quite the rage as I am sure my educator readers will acknowledge. I went to Youtube and searched for professional learning communities. While I didnt’ find anything that directly related to blogging and PLCs or professional developement, I did come across the video below. More on that after you have watched it though!


Four Building Blocks of Professional Learning Communities

Now this video makes me ask questions. When you look at the building blocks and see the standard mission, then the real question (for example, standard cliche = “we believe all children can learn”; real question = “If we believe all kids can learn, HOW DO WE RESPOND WHEN THEY DO NOT LEARN?”) This is a great question for a blog discussion within your school, PLC community, teacher community, master’s class community or PD session. Blogging allows you to get considered views with time to work through the implications and associations and then give a rational response back that (hopefully) engenders more dialogue as the group comes to agreement about the answer to the question.

Used in this manner, blogs can be a powerful communication tool where everybody has their “voice”. The quiet teacher who doesn’t speak up in face-to-face discussions might take the lead on an issue of importance to him or her. He or she will be “heard” just as much as the teacher who has an opinion on everything and isn’t afraid to share it. I think it is harder to drown out a “voice” on a blog than in a real discussion where heated arguments simply wash people’s opinions away and make them wish they had never said anything.

So, yes, I can see a use for blogs in PD and think they can be a valuable tool. Hopefully I can begin to implement this into my own PD growth plan.

Moving on, I mentioned George Siemens and his blog. George has asked for help and I am challenging you to assist him. I am going to go there now and post. Basically, George has asked for educators to comment on eduation needing to change on their blog and then linking to it. You will see my post above this one with my opinions on his questions. I look forward to reading your own ideas!

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4 Comments »

  1. Bruce,
    For a “small research project” those are some pretty big questions! I’ve read most of the responses George has gotten so far and I can see why you’re hooked. I feel like my brain is fried right now and it may take awhile for me to answer him but I’ll give it some thought.

    I must say, you are sounding like an expert blogger at this point – really stimulating the reader and challenging them to think and add to the conversation. Just from this alone, you can tell that blogging is an excellent form of pd. Well done!

    Jo-Anne

    Comment by Jo-Anne — November 26, 2008 @ 4:21 am | Reply

  2. Thanks Jo-Anne. The questions are very wide-ranging and not easily answered on George’s research project. Thanks for your praise – like you I am still new to it. I know that my responses have certainly not been up to the level of others, but I have tried I think blogging is turning into a metacognitive/reflective tool that will continue to have value as education progresses.

    I will be reading everybody else’s thoughts over the next day or two and responding. I look forward to reading your blog responses!

    Comment by Saudixpat — November 26, 2008 @ 6:08 pm | Reply

  3. “Used in this manner, blogs can be a powerful communication tool where everybody has their “voice”. The quiet teacher who doesn’t speak up in face-to-face discussions might take the lead on an issue of importance to him or her. He or she will be “heard” just as much as the teacher who has an opinion on everything and isn’t afraid to share it. I think it is harder to drown out a “voice” on a blog than in a real discussion where heated arguments simply wash people’s opinions away and make them wish they had never said anything.”

    And this is how I also think about online learning–in an online classroom all students have equal opportunity to ‘speak’ and participate in the discussion. Discussions focus on global issues/perspectives/ideas because students can ‘come into’ the class from all over the world; by not focusing entirely on local problems or concerns, students can really begin to understand the bigger picture. And I think all of these reasons are why this course works so well…it combines the power of both web 2.0 tools and online learning and really gives students the opportunity to express their ideas; share information; learn from one another; and participate in the big conversations that are going on around them!

    Thanks!

    Comment by Joanne de Groot — November 27, 2008 @ 6:46 am | Reply

  4. You might take a look at the DuFour blog. The site is http://www.allthingsplc.info.

    Comment by Shannon Ritz — December 3, 2008 @ 12:01 am | Reply


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