Monday, April 2, 2007

Blogging about my blog

Inspiration for today's post: My blog (check out the last entry)

Something very cool (yea, cool) happened this week that opened my eyes to the personal power of blogs. In my last entry, I wrote about a blog article I found by Jeff Utecht, which discussed the importance of using blogs for communication instead of simple journaling. Joe (our TA) responded to my post with a quick question of whether or not I believed there was value in simple journaling. Before I could respond, Jeff Utecht himself responded to Joe's question, beginning a discussion about journaling. This led Richard to respond, followed by Crystal who also offered a link to good blogging and her comments on journaling. Are you following? Basically my blog was used as a discussion forum that led to communication, thought, understanding, and learning. I'm psyched! Isn't this what we are after with blogs?

Of course, our group has been doing something similar but we are "forced" to be here (please don't get me wrong, I adore you all and appreciate every bit of time you put into this group, but the reality is we might not respond as frequently or with as much 'gusto' if we were not required). It was quite motivational to see someone from the "outside" step foot into our world and explore these ideas with us. Hopefully the dialogue will continue.

Now for my own two cents about the value of journaling: I think journaling is fantastic and should be open for anyone to see if the author so desires. I keep a pen-and-paper journal and would consider keeping one online as well. A blog is a nice place to post a journal and a new way for the average Joe to feel like he is part of something bigger in this world. At the same time, to maximize educational opportunities with blogs in the classroom, I am beginning to think it is essential to foster a community of communication and questioning, as we have within this group. If each of us created a blog that did not allow responses, I think the amount of learning within the group would diminish. It is often through the responses, the questioning, and the encouragement that we learn the most.

I'm speaking from personal experience, of course, but I am still plowing through the research to gain a deeper understanding. In any case, thanks for the thoughts and communication. This is a blog in action. :-)

7 comments:

Ann V. said...

Laine-

That is cool! The communicative power of blogs at work! I agree that we are "forced" to be here and that our communication would most likely not be quite as frequent or content-rich, but the conversations we've developed have sparked great ideas for me. I absolutely love the idea of blogging, whether it be personally or professionally and I agree that the "openness" of the blog is what makes it so incredible. People can connect, learn, discuss,act, create, learn, question, THINK, etc. If nothing else, it can a place for reflection. One of the blogs I frequently read is written by the mother of an autistic child. She is I guess what you would consider a "celebrity" in the scrapbooking world and because of her blog following she has been able to raise an incredible amount of money for an autism charity ( http://www.aliedwards.typepad.com/). Connections to people, places, things, and events that would have been impossible before the blog...very cool!

Ann

Richard Wells said...

Thanks for posting the link for the autism blog. My wife, who teaches pre-k children with autism and is working on her Ed.D. in that field might be interested in reading this.

On to Laine's comments. Initially I might have agreed with you when you wrote "we might not respond as frequently or with as much 'gusto' if we were not required" to. Quite honestly, if I had had group members whose postings, comments, and thoughts were not intellectually stimulating, I would probably stop reading these the moment class was over. This process, however, has already taught me not only the power in blogging but also the fact that relevant blogging is not relegated to popular blogs (like Ariana Huffington's).

So I feel confident when I say that I sincerely hope we continue to keep in touch through these blogs as we progress throughout our careers in education. I would say throughout our coursework together, but ONE of us is graduating soon ;-).

Crystal Crozier said...

Laine, I have to agree with Richard about the comment "we might not respond as frequently or with as much 'gusto' if we were not required". At first, I did feel this way. I felt this way in my last class where we were required to blog, but this class is different. Obviously because of the amount of entries we are to have weekly, we are all coming up with new and interesting topics for discussion. My last class use of the blog did not require as frequent posting, and thus, I did not read my classmates blogs as often. Also, I didn't have a group. So, I was to browse through 20-something blogs and choose a few to respond to.

Having this group (and a fine group, I must add) has really made me see the power of blogging. As you mentioned, it was truly made evident when Jeff Utecht responded to your posts, but even before that, I thought we had hit the blogging nail on the head. We truly seem to get each other, even if we don't always agree entirely. I admit that when researching my own topic, I often find ways to link it to all of your topics as well. When reading the newspaper, or browsing the internet, I really do think, "Oh, Laine, or Ann, or Richard might find that helpful."

Case in point, the blog you referred me to (another Utecht one) also has a point I think Richard might like. I am going to point it out to him as well.

So, in conclusion, I do think that blogging is powerful, whether it is for educational or personal experiences.

Joe Greaser said...

From your comments, there seems to be four aspects of blogging (for our course) that make this successful:

Quality of posts AND comments
Frequency of posts and comments
Post/comment requirements (at least at first)
Devotion to collaboration

The posting requirements aren't absolutely necessary in all cases, but it certainly helps. If nothing else, it helps me to give you good feedback on your blogs.

Very cool...I also hope you keep in contact after class ends (and one of you graduates). The dialogue will be beneficial, and there is also a social aspect that can't be ignored.

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