As a counter to my reflection written from frustration it’s important to credit the actual speaking in public of doubts and irritations with blogging as a course requirement have pointed out a need to discover more on the subject. Talking to yourself out loud and then reviewing the recording seems to have the characteristics of maybe not psychological importance but it does carry the quality of action in a learning environment where responding is integral and it may not be necessary for replies to come from outside. Awareness of being in a learning space (as a sort of imaginary witness to the words and behaviours of residents within the space–or maybe as a space governed by social contract to certain standards) has a transformative effect that I have trouble explaining yet feels important to the purpose and justification of blogging as an educational object.

Can it be as simple (simple?) as the act of writing causing something to jump into a different level of perception? Not only the ability to view what was formerly a vague thought without need for supporting logic, but an affirmation of importance and “realness” set loose? Obviously, I could tak this into a corner so task is not to answer myself now and move back out into researching the affordances of “sharing your thoughts” as a starting point. Blogging has some fundamental place in education and society as well as a need to explain itself to me.

As a bonus to me and maybe not my readers thinking about changes at work sent me looking for resolution. At work, our department of teaching and learning technologies it the target of a lot of confusion and plain old abuse for being the imagined leader of change. As a survival tactic we ourselves have taken on the role of confident advocates for change. In fact we are no more certain than our detractors that what we are doing is of value and face the bonus of dealing with major project direction changes on an almost minute by minute basis.

This is no surprise to anyone familiar with institutional behaviour though it also suggests a way for me to name my problem and investigate a way to resolve it. This sent me back to a Collaborate recording hosted by Nancy White back in the Change11 MOOC. And on from there to other resources referenced by Nancy.

Not sure if this makes any sense to anyone? Might be that my annoying blogging of a problem has set something in motion that I need to complete for my own sake?

See also Are You a Social Artist?

And this short video of what our office should look like: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&NR=1&v=Nsb_P–0QtQ

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  • Rachele DeMeo  On November 27, 2012 at 3:42 PM

    I find it challenging to always stay “on top of it” with the constant ever-changing media world! Many tools we use (even YouTube, Blackboard and Google Drive) seem to change their formatting. I guess by keeping up with at least our favorite tools, or at least those we use the most frequently, we can stay “on top of it”. The hardest part for me is narrowing what I really want to use for my class, what is useful versus just a surplus. You can only use so much it seems. At least that’s the way I see it.

    • scottx5  On November 27, 2012 at 5:09 PM

      Hi Rachele, wonder if it matters to the students what platform is used? Was in a course where we were expected to be based in our blogs and no one seemed ready to do that. So a few weeks in it was decided to hack into the course LMS (Angel) discussion area, and suddenly everyone was talking away. Kind of a clunky atmosphere with no media extras but it was comfortable. It could be more important that the instructor is comfortable in the setting. We are located in a very rural area with limited broadband and many students on dial up internet. A lot of the “features” we add to courses like videos and interactive quizzes take too long to download so we always sneak simpler alternatives–no one complains. (Almost).

      Good blog here about teaching http://grantwiggins.wordpress.com/2012/11/27/good-vs-great-teachers-how-do-you-wish-to-be-remembered/

  • Lisa M Lane  On November 28, 2012 at 6:44 PM

    I’m glad you wrote this post. The last one, I kept looking at it and thinking that the level of disappointment seemed to be based on a different expectation than I have when I blog. Blogging has become a communication tool, even sometimes a community tool, but technologically it’s just a call and response system, and originally it was just an online journal. I find the community aspect to be incidental rather than core – I use it for the potcert class because it seems best to have people create their own space and have others visit rather than use Ning or a pre-made community (yes, we re-discuss this continually!). I don’t expect response when I post on my own blog. I write for me. If others want to comment, that’s cool, but most of my own learning does indeed come from the act of writing, and reading what others write on their own blogs.

    • scottx5  On November 28, 2012 at 8:37 PM

      Hi Lisa, you’re right about my expectations from blogging. I thrive on feedback and likely have unrealistic response threshold. This shouldn’t be happening as I’ve taken many extension level writing classes when many hours of work seemed to go into piles for filling boxes in the closet rather than serving a good purpose. Though the instructors made many useful comments it was still “classwork” and not particularly real.

      Not sure writing just for myself is enough. Certainly understand the power of making something visible or brought into view on the page as an aid to clearing up a difficult train of thought. Trouble is I’m attempting at the same time to be less self-referential and more outward facing–especially after my experiences before, during and after my most recent heart failure. I need to get outside my head a bit.

      This is not to say blogging is not useful to me. Putting words on paper IS often the way I think best. Is it the best for encouraging students to engage content and build community? For some yes. For some of our students it doesn’t seem right but as you mentioned Facebook, that is a community they do know and the qualities that draw them there might be a way to bring them into blogging–or ANY level of participation some days would be fine.

      My last writing class was for advertising communication and one of my current tasks is editing press releases from the college president and VPA’s office. I do it as a favour for the overworked staff in PR who seem to be the only department that likes us. They are also young adults learning a craft and deserve a little help from some of us less vulnerable to being shut down for mistakes (and better bullshitters).

      Thanks for your comments, maybe I should blog about my coming to an understanding of blogging? Just have to turn off my public relations voice and be honest:-)

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