To blog or not to blog . . .
I am a reflective writer … I have kept a written journal since I was 11 years old and have often re-read and reflected on the stories, moments, events that my journal contains. However, there was always only one intended member in the audience and I never intend to publish my memoir! Infact, I have worked very hard to keep the journals (now up to at least the 8th edition) well hidden from prying eyes. So with the advent of web 2.0 and the explosion of blogging I found myself facing the dilemma to blog or not to blog.
I have been explicitly teaching ICT skills for at least 10 years now and my own learning journey started in my final year of university on the state of the art apple IIe in the BI (before internet) era! For the past few years the education curriculum has been filled with ideas about how to use blogging, and other emerging 2.0 tools, in the classroom. However, I take the same look before you leap approach to electronic life as I do to real life … just because you can doesn’t mean you should! We have clogged cyberspace with enough junk, surely we should be encouraging students to take care of this world and think before they blindly build websites, join social networks and pour out their hearts on blogs? So I have lurked, and learned, and observed, and reflected, and finally decided to take the plunge with blogging … I am starting to see the value of blogging from a professional point of view and am even beginning to see some value for blogging with students (although I think we will start with the relatively protected environment of Ultranet).
The pivotal event that finally motivated me to take this plunge was changing schools. Last year I left the comfort of the small, rural P-12 school I had been teaching at for almost 20 years and moved to a secondary school almost 3 times the size. Technically still a country school but a much larger town and definitely full of more streetwise students. The journey through this kind of culture shock is tumultuous and I shared the ride with a number of other ‘new’ teachers, some of whom did not survive. Sharing, comparing and reflecting is what gets you through challenging times. There were many times when I thought I should be sharing my experiences with my fellow teachers online (I have a nicely developing PLN on twitter) not just around the staffroom table … but like many of us I let the busy-ness of school and life distract me.
In 2011 I am returning to this school … I have stepped up to take on a leadership role as year 8 coordinator … a daunting task as there are almost as many year 8s here as there were high school students (7-12) in my last school! Our school is facing challenges as it works to reshape and redefine itself in line with the 21st Century vision of education sweeping the world and I am excited and daunted by the prospect of being a part of that. So now feels like a good time to start a blog that still primarily has an intended audience of one (what I write I write for myself and to influence my thinking, learning and teaching) but I am happy with the thought that others may also read this!