Posts Tagged blogging

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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STOP WORK

I’ve just come home from this morning’s stopwork meeting organised by the NSW Teachers Federation.

Read more about the Teachers Federation Staffing, Standards and Salaries campaign here.

The meeting finished half an hour ago, but I am resisting the urge to use the time to finish off some school work…not just because I think it is important for teachers to ‘stay true’ to the stopwork by, well, stopping work, but also because I am so burned out with school work right now that an imposed 2 hour break is a welcome relief.

Over the past couple of weeks my blog has been neglected, emails have gone unread, and I haven’t even been opening Twitter.  No comment from me about Barack Obama’s historic win in the US election.  No comment (still) about the proposed National Curriculum, and (perhaps worst) no reflection on my teaching or engagement in professional learning.

So, while filling up on petrol that had nearly run dry because I’ve had no time to fill the car, and after picking up some take away breakfast because I had run out of time and skipped mine earlier in the morning, I decided to use the rest of my stopwork time to write this post.

A little bit of a cheat of course, because as far as I’m concerned blogging = professional learning, which = work!  But the school workload atm is so depressingly huge that I’m prepared to cheat on this…until reports are finished at the end of this week, I don’t know if I’ll get the chance to blog again…

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Six Reasons People Aren’t Commenting on Your Blog

Just browsing through the ‘Best of Bamboo’ on Michele Martin’s blog The Bamboo Project and learned a lot from her post titled Six Reasons People Aren’t Commenting on Your Blog.  You can read more about this at Michele’s blog, but the six reasons in short are:

  1. You sound like a press release
  2. You sound like an informercial
  3. You sound like a know-it-all
  4. You haven’t shown them how
  5. You haven’t created the right atmosphere
  6. You just don’t seem that into it.

A great list, and one that really got me thinking.  My last few posts have included some lengthy accounts of what I’m doing with my classes at school.  I’ve specifically been blogging about the videogaming unit that I’m using with my Year 9 G&T class, in part because I know others who are interested in how the unit is working, but also because I am using this blog to store information about this unit as part of an G&T Action Research project I am part of at school.  I’ve also started adding detailed info about how I am running an AOS on The Journey with Year 10.  This is in part to reflect on my own teaching, but also I have lofty imaginations of teachers scouring the web for units of work and getting really happy when they find my blog with all of this great information!

I find that the problem with such posts is that they don’t explicitly invite discussion or reflection from readers.  I think this is a result of reasons 3 and 4 – while I don’t exactly sound like a ‘know-it-all’, I haven’t problematised any of my work, merely recounted what I did; and while readers might technically know how to comment, they can’t see a clear invitation or need to add their thoughts.

What do other people do here?  What makes a truly engaging blog post?

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