Recently, one of my students wishing to continue a discussion on the value of educational blogging asked this question:
Yesterday, I had a patient who happens to be a professor in English Literature from Cape Breton University. He was reading Hunger Games, as his specialty is in teenagers literature.He is planning to include this book in his next course.
I shared with him my thoughts about the movie and that I decided not to read the book after seeing both parts.My biggest concern was the violence in the movie committed by teenagers against other teenagers. He feels that teenagers and adult can relate to the positive aspects of the characters in the novel. So, we had the conversation turned towards the value and the importance of the thoughts in the novel. He thinks the author is building on the ideas of the US breaking into different countries based on ideology of the population from different regions! However, he feels the book in less than 10 years will not hold a literature value.
I asked him why we still happen to read novels or books like Don Quixote,Crime and Punishment , The Prince or The Catcher in the Rye.
Which made me remember your point about blogging in relevance to the current events at the time of blogging.
I have a newspaper from last week,did not have the time to read it.Things have moved from that point in time just a week ago, so it became irrelevant.
Why Blogging would be any different than the editorial or the news from last week news paper.
Wouldn't blogging be just a conversation between invisible people/friends about certain topics that might not hold a value for writing a week later?
Which makes me wonder why to write a conversation/opinion that is very individual that is unable to pass a week time barrier in its relevance??
I responded with comments about how blogging is more than just reflecting in a public forum, it can also be about community. It takes time for community to form around a blog (in my experience about a year). Participating in connectivist style MOOCs goes a long way to helping form that community (hence the connection between MOOCs and blogs – at least in my world).
Interesting discussion – which makes me wonder if we could have it on my blog? Would you be OK if I posted your question to my blog? I could either use your name or just say “one of my students asked this question” … I think people in my network might have interesting things to say about it …
Part of the reason I ask that, is that my blog has an audience. Over time, I have cultivated a following (it usually takes about a year to get a reasonable following on a blog). Many of the people in my PLN (Personal Learning Network) follow the discussions on my blog.
So, it is not just about writing down my opinions – which is one valuable reason to blog – I just started a new blog to capture my research reflections for my dissertation process – but also to act as a sounding board. Sometime I’ll blog something just to see if it gets a reaction. For example see:
You’ll notice that both of these posts started discussions. In addition to the comments on my blog, they also creating some traffic on twitter and in other people’s blogs – which in turn causes more people look and comment at my blog.
So, blogging is about more than just a place to share your ideas online – although that is often the starting place for blogs. It is also a way to connect with others whom you share an interest. In my case, it is a way to explore my thinking in writing, but also to see what others think about my ideas.
The learning theory behind this, is the same as that behind the connectivist MOOC – which we really didn’t talk too much about in the MOOC presentation. In connected learning, it is much more about making connections than it is about the topic itself. The latest MOOC I participated in used the phase “the community is the curriculum”. It is definitely a new idea in education – although perhaps somewhat of a radical idea.
In many ways, the unit on blogging in my Emerging Tech class did not go beyond the basics. The students were starting with little or no knowledge of what blogs were or how they could be used in an educational setting. The focus on the learning in the course was more about learning how to "create content" in order to participate in the digital world (e.g. the mechanics of blogging). Creating a blog or website was a giant leap for many of my students, who made me proud by their assignments. We had too much to cover in the class to get into the depth about educational affordances of blogging beyond digital participation and reflective writing.
So, now, I'm reaching out to my network. I found myself wanting to share this discussion with my personal learning network – wanting to hear how you would answer the question. Beyond the opportunity to think through and write out your reflections, why else do you blog? What are the benefits to being part of this community?