blogs, Learning Community, Open Education, Reflections

Education Bloggers Research – My Blog Survey

After reading @mweller ‘s blog survey for Alice Bell’s research on education bloggers, I thought that I might as well contribute to the study since I sometimes write about education, learning, and the likes here on TechKNOW Tools. From the post from Alice, it looks as though she will collect responses via e-mail (edubloggingstudy@gmail.com) or via your own blog (so you can share responses with your readers) – and send her the link. If you’re an education blogger, perhaps you too should contribute to the research. All responses are due by by the 15th of June. This sounds interesting and useful – I look forward to hearing about the analysis, but for now here is my blog survey…

Blog URL: techknowtools.wordpress.com 

What do you blog about? Learning networks & environments, academic advising, educational technology, higher education, doctoral stuff, research and writing, training and development, instructional pedagogy & design, social web & open access, podcasting, student affairs, and then some.

Are you paid to blog? No. Only in digital high fives and thanks.

What do you do professionally (other than blog)? Academic Counselor/Instructor & Doctoral Student

How long have you been blogging at this site? Since October 23, 2008 [say my WP Sitestats].

Do you write in other platforms? (e.g. in a print magazine?) I have published book chapters, academic papers, peer-reviewed journal publications, conference papers and proceedings, other blog contributions (like BreakDrink.com and personal blog), and online magazine contributions.

Can you remember why you started blogging? I started blogging personally in 2006 when I was working and travelling around to different countries (on another blogging website); and I started to blog here after reading a number of educational and learning blogs. This blog was created  as a space to share ideas and resources for a NACADA Technology Seminar learning community back in February 2009 – my friend Eric Stoller suggested I try out WordPress since I was using Blogger for my personal blog.  This blog soon evolved into a space where I curated content around what I was reading, writing, researching, or working on related to learning technologies and other issues related in education and training development.

What keeps you blogging? I enjoy it. My academic background in history and education might take some of the credit for blogging. I use my blog to reflect and think about things. It is also a great space to archive, document and curate what I am up to and what I am learning or reading about.  Now blogging is just part of my regular routine. I like starting the conversation here, sharing it in my networks and then learning what others think.

Do you have any idea of the size or character if your audience? How? My Google Feedburner says I have 61 subscribers & Sitestats says I have 29 follows on WP with 115,072 views from 49 countries. I might consider using Google Analytics to track this better in the future, but at the end of the day I think I blog for me than my audience. My audience is composed of higher education professionals, faculty, teachers and instructors from fields in training and development, marketing, management, technology, and education.

What’s your attitude to/ relationship with people who comment on your blog? Typically I have seen more shares of my blog posts on Twitter and Facebook. I have a great network and community that often engage on there more than here. Although the traffic and views are outside WP, I do appreciate and I am delighted to receive a blog comments on here from time to time (Thanks!). I would say that I have better relationships and interactions with those who comment “off the blog.” Some of my blogging prompts shared dialogues on other networks or with other peers who share similar interests.

Do you feel as if you fit into any particular community, network or genre of blogging? (e.g. schools, science, education, museums, technology) Sort of? I think technology and  learning – but I have been known to dive into training and development, organizational management, and higher education due to the nature of my academic program/professional interests.

If so, what does that community give you? I think this community is like the “Office Water Cooler” I have always wanted. It’s a great place to catch up, share interesting news, find out about new resources, swap great ideas, and stay in touch with my personal learning network.

What do you think are the advantages of blogging? What are its disadvantages/ limitations? I shared my thoughts in the “What Prompts You To Blog?” post last month => https://techknowtools.wordpress.com/2012/05/04/what-prompts-you-to-blog/

I think blogging has supported my digital scholarship as a transparent and open researcher and writer. There could be limitations to this, as I often share ideas and references before the referred journal article is published and there is that possibility that others could “borrow” it. The other challenge I can see is the need to publish or perish to make it through the academic ranks for jobs and tenure. Although my writing style is more informal and offers a variety of structure I do enjoy the practice of writing and processes what I am writing. Unfortunately blogging does not equate a journal article and I am aware of the need to contribute to traditional publications and peer-reviewed work to support my career path in academia.

Do you tell people you know offline that you’re a blogger? (e.g. your grandmother, your boss) I think most of my offline (i.e. not in social networks) family or friends know that I “do stuff with technology” and most have some idea of what a blog is. I share the odd blog post with a limited number folks who are not exposed to this blog regularly  (like my boss & parents) if there is a topic something that might interest them. I use another blog and a Flickr account to share more of my “life happenings” so my friends and family are not bored with any of my geek/nerd ramblings on this blog.

Is there anything else you want to tell me about I haven’t asked? I think you have covered most. Good luck with your research! I look forward to hearing how it goes. 🙂

blogs, EC&I831, Learning Community

Blogging for Learning & Learning to Blog

I sat back to ponder why I blog, and why I take the time to read other blogs. Here are a few reasons I thought of off, the top of my head:

  • reflection
  • to share knowledge and resources
  • news & information acquisition
  • a research starting point
  • connection to peers in my field of study/work
  • a sounding board for ideas/questions/thoughts
  • to be part of a community

In thinking about education and reviewing the above list, I can see why blogging is an effective means for contextualizing and mentoring learners. Sue Waters mentors educators on effective blogging and web 2.0 resources on EduBlogs. She delved into the topic of blogging for learning and connection during last week’s #eci831 weekly session on Elluminate.  The concept of blogging in the classroom, leads to a transparent educational process for students. Learners are able to share ideas and be empowered in their digital learning community. Blogging can deeper understanding of knowledge and course content, while challenging students to participate in an open, expressive forum.

blogging

Image from the Algebra Learning Networking website 

It was interesting to learn how other students in the class viewed blogging for learning. Some are unsure about how to include blogs, while others want to ensure engagement and purpose in their learning environments. Here’s the #eci831 class brainstorm for our Thoughts, Challenges or Concerns about blogging:

    • how do educators best define learning outcomes to give purpose?
    • spam
    • how to get students to buy in
    • how to engage students; keep them interested and on task
    • most important aspect in my class
    • assigned topics or more creative original ideas
    • what to write
    • learning in a public forum – putting yourself out there
    • loosing the meaning for the learning objective
    • long term use
    • safety of students and liability
    • privacy concerns for parents
    • how to move teachers towards these ideas
    • non-standard views of students
    • open or closed environments for students?
    • teachers blogging as PD, nervous about putting their ideas out there
    • do all students feel confident in their posts
    • what to have the students blog about
    • how to move teachers away from seeing blogging as a tech ‘add

Final thoughts from Sue, was actually in the question form:

What are 3 questions (and why) you would like answered on educational blogging or building personal learning networks?

So here are my 3:

  1. What are some of the key privacy concerns for educational blogging? And how educators best address these issues? Resources for either Canada or US would be greatly appreciated.
  2. Are there any examples of peer mentor blogging initiatives in education, that you know of, in K-12 or Higher Education learning environments? It would be interesting to learn more about how modelling and mentoring can help learners engage in blogging.
  3. How has your blogging practice altered (or has it?) now that microblogging (Twitter, etc) has been introduced into the blogasphere? Do you engage much in microblogging? How do you see value in it for learning?