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Wednesday, 19 March 2014

What's in a Blog?

I haven't blogged since the fall.  I really don't know why, but I've been missing it terribly.  Last night, I joined #etmchat on Twitter.  I'm so happy I did. #etmchat is a hashtag used by people who participated in last year's ETMOOC, (Educational Technology Massive Open Online Course).

To see some of our conversation, click here.

It was so nice to chat again with members of a wonderful PLN (Personal Learning Network); and their thought-provoking questions and tweets really got me to think about why I blog, what blogging does for me, and why I haven't blogged in such a long while.

I think different people blog for different reasons, but I can only speak for myself.  I blog because it helps me to think.  As you may, or may not know, this year I'm in a new role.  I no longer have a classroom of my own.

Last night, I started worrying that perhaps the fact that I haven't been blogging indicates that I haven't been thinking!  YIKES!

Mostly, over the last few months, I've been blaming my lack of inspiration on the loss of my students.  I felt I needed to be inspired by the kids; it is from them that I gain wisdom.

But if I'm really honest with myself, I think I haven't been blogging because sometimes I worry that maybe it is best to edit myself. Should I be sharing my thinking "out loud" even when it is not entirely positive? I realized suddenly that this has been my dilemma.  I am LOVING my job, and have been working with and meeting some amazing people.  I feel truly blessed.  But not all of it is positive and I guess that is the rub.

I find I am in a delicate balancing act where I am on the one hand working hard to build positive, collaborative relationships, but on the other hand, am also trying to apply some gentle pressure to get people to shift their thinking.  It is challenging, but it is also energizing and exciting.  I'm just not so sure how wise it is to blog about it!

In analysing my current drought, I stumbled upon a blog post by Beth Kanter. It is titled Nonprofit Blogging in the Workplace: Apologies or Permission? It thrilled me to see that someone else had put into words exactly what I had been struggling with but was having so much difficulty to name. To quote her blog, I have been wrestling with what I should and should not write, so it became easier to simply not write.  Last night, however, thanks to the  #etmchat Twitter chat, I realized that not blogging is not a solution! Blogging is cathartic for me, and maybe, just maybe, someone else needs to read what I write.

Late into the night last night, I sat with my iPad in bed, and jotted down all of the thoughts I've been curating for the last five months using my trusty Evernote.  It felt so GOOD to let it all loose!  Evernote is my Pensieve for those of you who are Harry Potter fans.

Dumbledore: "I use the Pensieve. One simply siphons the excess thoughts from one's mind, pours them into the basin, and examines them at one's leisure.  It becomes easier to spot patterns and links, you understand, when they are in this form"

Harry: "You mean... that stuff's your thoughts?"

Dumbledore:  "Certainly."

I'm hoping to share my thoughts on 21st Century Learning in subsequent posts in the very near future, so long as I can manage to do it delicately.  Stay tuned.  I hope you'll come along for the ride.

If you are thinking of taking up blogging yourself, here are some useful tips and ideas from Evernote About Blogging. 

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