Posts Tagged blogging

New Milestones – Twitter, Blog, Work

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Blog

It was very satisfying this week to get a notification from WordPress reminding me of my blogiversary.

Six years of blogging!

The time sure has flown. And although I still have much to learn about online writing, I can say with confidence that nothing beats the professional development and reflection that public writing has afforded me.

 

Twitter

As if one milestone wasn’t enough, this was also the week that I clicked over the 10,000 tweet mark (!)

Sadly I missed the exact moment and didn’t get a screenshot, but here’s how it’s looking today:

Screen Shot 2014-06-08 at 5.15.41 PM

 

2008 – what was happening?

A quick look at my profile stats shows that I joined Twitter in May 2008, and created my blog not long after in June 2008.

Around this time I was:

  • 27 years old
  • living in Southwest Sydney
  • halfway into my second year of full time teaching
  • part time enrolled in my PhD
  • newly married
  • on the ‘Web & Technology’ and ‘Curriculum and Assessment’ Committees of the NSW ETA

Whew! When that’s all written down in a list we can see it was big year! And that’s just the ‘big stuff’.

The ETA bit is important, because it’s through ETA work that I met one of my most influential and constant mentors, Darcy Moore – it was his persistent encouragement that persuaded me to start tweeting and blogging. His advice at the time, which has always stuck with me, was that I shouldn’t be afraid to put my views in the public domain, as long as they are views I am prepared to defend and stand by. In fact, the test of whether you are prepared to say something in public can be an excellent method for testing your convictions.

I’ve used the metaphor before, but real True Blood fans can stand to hear it twice: Darcy you’re the best ‘maker’ ever!

My other big digi-hat tips go to Bianca Hewes for being such an incredible force of energy and inspiration, and to Mary-Helen Ward who got me writing my first ever blog posts back at university on the internal network. You gals have left footprints all over my professional (and personal) life and I’m so grateful for it.

Milestones IRL – Work

The end of this semester also marks a non-virtual, real life work milestone: four years in one job.

Four. Years. In. One. Job.

It’s not for lack of stamina that I haven’t stayed anywhere else for longer than three years. I worked part time for awhile when I started my PhD. Then I taught for three years in one place before moving interstate and reseting the meter. So it’s not like I’m some kind of education sector Runaway Bride! Although I am also no Baby Boomer, and I confess the idea of staying in one job for a lifetime is simply unfathomable to me. I won’t bother linking to any of the plethora of ridiculous articles about how Gen Y make bad employees – as a Gen X/Gen Y ‘cusper’ I never see myself in those stories (I’m too young to relate to Winona Ryder in Reality Bites, and too old to pull off skinny jeans). But suffice to say that after four years in one job, I’m feeling a sense of stability that I’ve never known before. It’s nice. I’m finally standing still for long enough to start sharpening the saw.

What Next?

Well, it turns out that this is my 299th blog post, so post number 300 is just around the corner :)

Other than that, I’m going to keep on keeping on with my online writing and continue to integrate digital communication/curation into my teaching practice. I’m working on a few scholarly journal articles for publication early next year, so my post-PhD academic writing funk looks like it may have finally run it’s course.

I’m trying to take a more active role in promoting our local English Teacher chat on Twitter (#ozengchat).

I’m slowly collecting my poetry teaching materials on the web for other teachers to access with ease.

Aside from that, time will tell.

But for now let me just say: thanks for reading, and happy blogging everyone!

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Common blogging complaints

Latte blog...

‘Latte blog…’ by filipe ferreira (via Flickr CC-BY-2.0)

1. Blog Blockage:

I really shouldn’t write any more posts until I write up the totally timely thing I did the other day.

Cure – write a very short post on the totally timely thing. Then get on with life. Or, just write something else in between, you’ll live.

2. Posts Piling Up:

I have so many ideas for different posts, I can’t decide which one to start with!

Cure – start a whole heap of the posts and save them as drafts. Pick one to complete at a time.

3. Lonely Blogs Club:

No-one comments on my blog, I should just give up.

Cure – invite your friends directly to add a comment. Adding tags and categories will help Google to find you. Or just be content to write reflectively. Wait, back up…did you decide if you even really want an audience to be a happy blogger?

4. Beginning, Middle…:

I don’t know how to end a blog post.

Cure – finish a line of thought and hit ‘publish’. A short post is a good post anyway.

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Student blog posts – please comment on one if you can!

2012-264 Whiteboard Note

CC-licensed Flickr image by mrsdkrebs

This semester I have been leading a group of future Teacher Librarians through the Masters of Ed. unit ‘Youth, popular culture and texts‘.

For their second assignment they have to contribute to a group learning blog.

Here are links to blog posts from each of the SIX student blog groups that I will be charged with assessing at the end of October:

I would be really grateful if folks could click through to any of these and drop a comment!

For many students in this unit it is their first attempt at adding to a blog like this – an extra comment here and there will make a big difference to their experience.

Thanks in advance :)

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This is why more English teachers should write a blog!

English teachers who blog

I’ve just come home from the AATE 2012 national conference in Sydney. It was exceptionally energising to spend two whole days and nights talking face-to-face with people in my PLN, as well as getting to know my colleagues better and meet new people.

One of the sessions that I spoke in was a panel discussion on being a teacher that blogs. Here is a piccie of me with the other panellists @Darcy1968 and @BiancaH80 with our chair @melanne_k:

Darcy, Kelli, Melissa and Bianca

Darcy, Kelli, Melissa and Bianca

Why we need more voices online

There are so many things I would love to write a blog post about, based on ideas I heard or conversations I had at the AATE conference. BUT – I know I won’t get a chance to write about them all! So, the first reason that more teachers need to blog is to literally get more of these ideas recorded:

  • Andrew Burn outlined a ‘3Cs’ model of media literacy – Cultural, Critical, Creative. How does this differ to other models of literacy (e.g. Green’s 3D model, Luke & Freebody’s 4 Resources model)?
  • Bianca’s presentation on Project Based Learning emphasised the role of assessment. I have also found this to be very important, have others?
  • Gillian Whitlock from UQ presented some really interesting ideas about humanitarian perspectives on literature and children’s writing. She showed refugee writing from Australia and artwork that had been created to memorialise the refugee journey. Definitely someone in Queensland to talk to or hear from again!
  • The hashtag #5bells was used pretty successfully as a conference backchannel, I thought! What can we learn from this and how can we improve the experience for 2013 in Brisbane?
  • Vivian (@vivimat78) did us all a big favour by collecting many of the #5bells tweets via storify…this is super helpful and valued, as hashtags are no longer searchable, after a time period, and we don’t want to lose all that great sharing!
  • Vivian also coordinates the #ozengchat twitter chat and edmodo group. What relationship might exist in the future between AATE and #ozengchat? How can/do they support each other?
  • We got to say so much to each other in real life (IRL)! Talking uses up soooo many characters! Face-to-face conversations are fun :)
  • Hip Hop – OMG Adam Bradley was convincing. All the copies of his ‘anthology’ book sold out, and so many people left the keynote ready to exchange their cardigans for hoodies… In response I’ve started a Twitter list: trust-me-i-m-cool for teachers looking for Aussie Hip Hop links. One love!
  • I found the closing keynote by Bill Green and Jane Mills to be quite problematic. I understand their point to be that linguistic frameworks have taken over the analysis of ‘the visual’, and that ‘cinephiles’ understand film in a much more ‘visceral’ way. I don’t agree. I think this contrast is weird, given the way I cry like a baby when reading some books, and (I believe) can successfully understand the moving image, thank-you-very-much. I usually love Bill’s stuff, but would rather have heard about his theories on ‘spatial literacy’ than be told English teachers are inadequate at teaching film…wrong crowd for that idea bill and jane, wrong crowd indeed.

I’m sure there is more, but these are the big ideas that I would ideally tackle in the next couple of months. Who will help me? (Will it be you?)

 

Don’t do it for me, do it for you!

In the panel that we did, quite a few people wanted to talk about how to get more people commenting on their posts. This is a good question, and our suggestions included:

  1. Comment on other people’s posts so that they come and visit your blog
  2. Let people know you have written a post by putting the URL up on Twitter (you’ll need an account)
  3. Use categories and tags wisely to help search engines find your post

However, I really do believe in the power of reflective writing for learning, and I encourage any new blogger to write posts for themselves as much as for an imaginary audience. It’s OK to talk to yourself here!

Think about it – how many times have you tried to convince a student to do a piece of reflective writing for homework, because you know the benefits it will have for their learning? Writing up your experiences on a blog can have the same benefit for you! The mere process of deciding “what will I publish information about this time?” will put you more in touch with the successes and obstacles in your practice, I really do believe this.

So that’s the second big reason. Start a blog for yourself, because if you haven’t yet, then I think you need to.

If you think you “can’t find time to write anything, ever”, then making time to do this will hopefully help you see ways to make time for other things too. And don’t worry – the blogging police aren’t going to arrest you if you don’t add anything for 3 months!

 

And because all good things come in threes…

The third reason why more English teachers should start a blog is because teachers who blog and share their resources are usually friendly, generous and just plain fun to hang out with.

And the more we share our work and resources, hopefully the more time we can put back in to spending quality time with our students, friends and families x

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2010 in review

I wonder if the popularity of my top five reflects audience interest in curriculum issues, or the hot-ness of topics such as ‘HSC’ and ‘multimodal’ (due to its appearance in the English National Curriculum)?

Either way, thanks for reading in 2010 :D

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 12,000 times in 2010. That’s about 29 full 747s.

 

In 2010, there were 71 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 181 posts. There were 41 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 16mb. That’s about 3 pictures per month.

The busiest day of the year was January 24th with 189 views. The most popular post that day was Choice based on what now?.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were twitter.com, facebook.com, google.com.au, eduleader.org, and Google Reader.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for kelli mcgraw, julia gillard, multimodal text definition, multimodal, and multimodal texts definition.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Choice based on what now? January 2010
37 comments

2

Defining ‘multimodal’ May 2010
13 comments

3

The Australian Curriculum for English March 2010
10 comments

4

HSC English: Standard or Advanced? March 2010
11 comments

5

5 reasons why HSC and ATAR scores make the angels cry December 2009
12 comments

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Getting students involved in blogging

Barriers to getting involved:

  • Access issues – power in rural and remote areas
  • Equity issues – not all students are digitally literate
  • Equipment access – access to computer labs, laptops, broadband
  • Home access – students with no computers or internet access at home
  • Behaviour management – ICT TOO EXCITING!

Please add any ideas you have for overcoming these barriers…

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Online Pedagogy

In today’s conference workshop I will be exploring four important issues relating to learning and teaching strategies for using online tools:

  1. How the purpose of your site relates to its form
  2. The intended teacher-student dynamic online
  3. Students and internet safety
  4. Getting students involved and monitoring contributions

Please respond with comments to this post if you have any questions, information or anecdotes from your own teaching context.

(DET Interim Guidelines for using blogs and wikis)

(from the ETA Annual Conference @ UNSW )

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