Reflections

My State of Create 2018

It’s the end of the year as we know it … and I feel fine.

Well, I feel pretty good, or I do now that I’ve spent some time wrapping up projects and a few tasks this last week. I have been thinking back to the goals, projects, and initiatives I’ve been working on personally and professionally in 2018. Last week, the #HEdigID chat offered a space for reflection and review of 2018 goals and things we still might need to work on in 2019.  Taking time to pause and take stock is important. I like to do this at the end of each academic semester (e.g. student grades/data, course evaluations, and my own feedback forms for learning), and also to figure out what has been my priority over the course of the year as well.

For 2018, I thought it would be fun to compile some of my statistics of things I have been making, producing, and creating — that may or may not “count” for what I’ve accomplished. I know that some websites and platforms offer insights into the number of posts, comments on blogs, image likes, and more – but I wanted to figure out what I have been working on in a variety of communities, digital spaces, and efforts across a variety of spaces and places (both online and offline). It can’t be all photo collages of inspiration, selfies, and achievements — per my #bestnine2018 of Instagram. There are so many other things that go beyond the typical data metric of a social media “like” or favorite, so I thought it was time I collected and reviewed this information as well. Here’s a slice of what I’ve been making and creating this year in this infographic:

I think some of the doodles, edits, revisions, and reads don’t always get noted in a typical performance review — but it helps to give me some perspective as to where I have been spending my time outside of my role, research projects, and design work to understand what has been my focus and priority this year for creativity. It was interesting to see what has been my focus and it gives me an idea of what I can look back at if I decide to reflect again on these items in 2019. How has 2018 been creative for you? What sort of maker stats would you collect to share your innovations, ideas, and initiatives that are more creative? Let me know!

blogs, PhD, Professional Development, Reflections

What Prompts You To Blog?

Blog prompts are all around me. I started blogging in 2006 to share travel tales and I continued to blog to tell a different story and share my academic journey and musings. I typically blog to share ideas, research, and reflect on what I’m doing, learning, or experiencing – at least on this blog space.

Image c/o <http://www.weblogcartoons.com/cartoons/sifting-through-ideas.gif>

Sometimes my blog ideas get filtered. I don’t always have time to write these thoughts out, so I often have to save this blog-worthy idea for later in my Delicious account, a WP draft post, or, most commonly, in WP, in a Gmail draft or Google Doc. During the crunch time of year, when all academic and professional deadlines seem to merge, my attention tends to drift. I find myself looking for interesting things to read and I seem to be more inspired to write blogs. I consider this digression to be a form of “productive procrastination.”

Inspired by the blog post from @InnovativeEdu, I thought I would share where I get my blog ideas from and what prompts me to blog:

  1. My regular online reading locations – I typically check my Google Reader, Twitter streams/hashtags, Google Alerts, social feeds, Percolate, and regular listservs/news feeds first thing in the morning. Sometimes there is a gem that I want to talk about in greater detail than just sharing it in a 140 tweet.
  2. Things I have to read “for school” – I am sure that no one is shocked to learn that you consume a hefty amount of reading while you’re a doctoral student. Beyond the “required reading” for class, I also stumble upon other finds when researching, compiling articles for my literature review and writing articles. Blogging helps me annotate and remember these theories, articles, and references in a synthesized portion to recall and use later.
  3. From conversations with peers & my PLN – I am fortunate to interact with a number of thoughtful and challenging peers on Facebook, Twitter, G-Chat, my campus, LinkedIn, Skype, and by phone. At least once a week (usually more often) I am fortunate to dialogue about something that makes me think and I want to write about in a blog to share
  4. Great finds for technology, learning ,and engagement I just want to share – Sharing – it was a good lesson I learned in kindergarten and have taken with me along the way.
  5. A photo or video that inspires me – I am a fairly active Flickr user, and  think that there are a great groups and community members that share visual inspirations that create a blogging spark. Lately Instagram, YouTube, Vimeo, and the odd infographic (there are too many of them now) have triggered ideas for blogging projects and shares.
  6. Professional & personal development opportunities – Whether it is a workshop on campus, a webinar online or an open learning session in the community, there are loads of ideas to reflect and bring back to my PLN.
  7. A question or request for advice – Sometimes I get an email, IM or call from individuals who want to talk about an issue or idea. When questions about technology in advising, education challenges, research process, or academic experience advice come up, I think how sharing this information in a blog post could be helpful to others who just have not asked.
  8. A Tweet – 140 characters shared on Twitter from either from me or someone else can inspire a blog draft. A tweet might include a quote, question, argument, Twitter chat, link, or random thought.
  9. Reading other posts & threaded comments – In reading a threaded discussion on someone’s blog, Facebook wall or open discussion in LinkedIn challenges me to consider my own perspective to later process it through a blog post.
  10. My own curiosity – If I want to learn more about a product, tool. vendor, process, or topic, I typically share what I have found on my blog.
  11. Contributions or things I produce – I document things I create for publications, podcasts, and presentations. Part of this is for my doctoral portfolio (ATPI is similar to the ECMP portfolio requirements, so I try to archive my work/experiences) and the other part is to share training and learning sessions. Why not put these ideas out there to extend to the audience that could not attend?
  12. Writing, writing and MORE writing – I write regularly. I started using 750words to keep me writing regularly to keep me writing. This activity helps weave my thoughts and develop new ones. Continuous writing allows me to practice my craft and improve how and what I write about.
  13. Cultivation of resources – My research interests vary and are interdisciplinary, so I collect a load of  resources – this could also be a direct result of #1, 2, 4, 6, & 8. Blogging helps me to  connect and process my thoughts to share with peers in these academic and professional fields.

I am sure there are other reasons, but those were the first few that came to my head. So the question for you is… what prompts YOU to blog? Please share.