Feeling the love for my PLN

April 24, 2010 at 12:45 pm | Posted in Blogging, Collaboration | 8 Comments

I woke up this morning feeling full of love for my digital circle of friends, the ones I actually communicate with and the ones I lurk around who don’t even know I exist. This is due in part to an interesting reaction I had to an occurrence this week. Last week I blogged about a great 2-days at work where we had the time and opportunity to communicate with colleagues as part of a PD experience. I shared this post with my administrator, who I consider one of my closest “kindred spirit” colleagues, and she copied and emailed it to other admins and curriculum team members at our school- just to share one view of our successful PD event. My gut reaction was slight panic causing me to reread my post. Did I write anything considered too radical? Might I offend anyone? (I do filter what I write even though I think no one I work with reads it.) Well, none of those who were emailed my comments in the post commented back to me- this can mean that it wasn’t read, it was offensive or not meaningful either way. What was interesting regarding the lack of conversation about me sharing my thoughts was the revelation that what I wrote in that post was reinforced- that we don’t have time or are in the habit of having meaningful professional conversations in schools.

I started following bloggers and podcasters many years ago and connected with some people via email who are now friends. I also learned a great deal that I could apply in my own classroom. I’ve been a taker on the internet since the mid-90s but I’ve only been blogging a little over 2 years. I’m still trying to figure out why I want to do it, finding my blog voice, sometimes neglecting it for months at a time. The main reason I started was a blog comment challenge (started by Kim Cofino, Sue Waters, Silvia Tolisano and Michele Martin)- I thought it was time I jump into the conversation. I started writing and reading and commenting. However, when I feel that disappointment from lack of response to my writing I realize it’s due in part to the amount of conversation I give when I read what others write and don’t comment. This is also why I keep writing and posting, I realize that just because I don’t get comments it doesn’t mean no one is reading (well, that is probably frequently true.) But disregarding all that, I mainly write to put my thoughts and ideas out there in an effort to connect and contribute because I gain so much from what others share.

So, as part of the 80% long tail of bloggers who write mainly for themselves, I will continue because I realize that we get what we give and sometimes we have to give a  lot before we strike a broader level of communication. Lastly, getting back to the beginning of this post, is it possible to find a means for opening and maintaining efforts at conversation in my actual professional environment? I will persevere in that regard, but if not, I always have my virtual colleagues and friends to collaborate with. I am also motivated to challenge myself to comment more again- to make that time and effort to communicate in that way as well.

I’m interested to know, if you are reading this, Why do you blog? or if you don’t why don’t you?

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8 Comments »

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  1. Nancy,
    I wrote (almost two years ago) about “Who do you write for” http://langwitches.org/blog/2008/04/13/who-do-you-write-for/

    I write first for myself in order to organize and document my thoughts and process, comments are appreciated and add to my learning process, but they are not the primary reason for my blog. If I never were to get another comment again on Langwitches, I would continue blogging anyway.

    • Yes, I find the process of documenting my reflections more meaningful on a blog- writing in a blank journal that sat alone in my home was not as motivating. There’s a paradox for me that the social aspect of blogging motivates, but it’s also fine that it’s usually a solitary pursuit. The possibility that someone may read it motivates me to think deeper and communicate my ideas and thoughts more clearly. Not that this is surprising, as teachers we see students think and write better when they know someone other than the teacher will be reading it!

  2. Hello Nancy,

    Like you, I started reading my colleagues’ blogs and making comments until I felt the need to share my views, experience and ideas with others. I’ve got 8 followers in my blog and a few comments. Anyway, I don’t have much time for wirting and many times I receive invitations from colleagues to write posts in their blogs.
    Regards,
    Marisa

    • Thanks for your comment, Marisa. Time is an issue- at the end of a work day I find it difficult to write- not much energy and my mind is to scattered by then. I’ve been thinking lately to scale down what I write- it doesn’t have to be an essay each time- just pop in and share a reflection or idea. I often appreciate those posts from bloggers I follow.

  3. I write for myself, to sort out my thoughts about different ideas that crop up during the teaching day. I think my posts are a bit random – all about education but just whatever I happen to be thinking about that day. It really helps to write things down. I find that after I blog I have better conversations with my colleagues about these issues. It’s also really helpful to get comments from others on my blog – I love being part of the iLearn Technology Blog Alliance.

    • Hi Maggie, I’ve been in a routine lately of keeping Friday night mellow and follow with a refreshed Saturday morning to write and reflect on the week. I write a lot and that process helps me reflect by staying with those thoughts and developing them a bit. Developing thoughts does help one with continued conversations. I’ll look into the iLearn Tech Blog Alliance you mentioned. Thanks!

  4. I just started blogging this semester. I started because I’m teaching a course to K-5 teachers who want to figure out the best way to reach their students and families by giving students a voice that they don’t always have and a much bigger audience to listen. As an avid user of wikis and regular reader of blogs, I didn’t want to prescribe a single technology. So instead I created a course shell in a wiki and then asked the participants to also start blogs. I gave them specific ideas for what to write about if they didn’t have something on their own. The main idea was to give them a taste of both tools so they could decide which one makes the most sense for them to use for their course site. Well, of course as a teacher I would never ask my students to do something I wouldn’t do myself, so I started a blog. Sometimes an event or a web app or an experience will inspire me to write. I’m not consistent in terms of how often I add a post but I do feel I write the best when I’m emotionally involved in the post. I don’t think that I have any real regular audience at this point, although I did get glogster’s attention when I blogged about their product and then tweetted about the post. As for the future of my blogging, I’m not sure. Only time will tell.

    • Yes, “Only time will tell.” That’s one thing I love about writing for my blog- I write better because there is the possibility that someone else will read it. I think and write better (as everyone does) with a possible audience. As other comments to this post show, it doesn’t matter to many of us if we are read- that does add an element to the communication, but it’s still a better writing/thinking/communication experience than when writing in a paper journal that gathers dust eventually. That’s how it works for me anyway.
      I also like your comment, “Well, of course as a teacher I would never ask my students to do something I wouldn’t do myself, so I started a blog.” As learners/teachers we have so much more to offer our students!


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