On Blogging in the age of Facebook

This morning I saw that Judy O’Connell, the author of Hey Jude, one of the education-related blogs I’ve been following for years, was taking a break for leave this year and wouldn’t be updating the blog for a while.

In a short post Judy reflected briefly on the changes in the digital landscape since she’d begun her blog and that nowadays opportunities for reflection and interaction online are so much more various.

She wrote: ‘Rather surprisingly to me, I have had this blog since 2006, when writing a web journal was new, and amazingly clunky. But there was a real desire for educators to learn about and become familiar with working, writing, thinking, sharing and in general ‘being online’. Since then of course we have traversed many platforms, virtual and digital, but some foundational activities remain the same.’

I agree, and it made me reflect a little on my own blog, which I’ve turned to less often over the last two years. I think that’s partly because my role has changed: from learning and teaching focused in curriculum, to Deputy Principal with a broader set of objectives and responsibilities and Acting Principal last term last year, with an even broader agenda.

Over the summer break I looked at my blogs (I have several: one reflecting about my creative writing and a family history site) and deleted a couple of early ones that were no longer active at all. My first ever was called ‘Stuff from Warrick’ and I posted pictures and articles I thought were worth re-sharing. That’s gone!

During this process I thought about whether I should keep this blog going. After all, I follow lots of educators on Twitter, and am semi-active in that space. I could just reflect in that arena?

But I decided to keep this going. One reason, as Judy says in her post, there’s an archive of my thinking and reflecting on learning and teaching here and that’s worth something, even if only for me. And, secondly, I think there is still worth in the slightly longer-form writing of a blog beyond the (now slightly extended) limitations of the twittersphere. So, perhaps it’s the warm after-glow of a summer vacation (see pic) about to end, but I intend to revisit this space more often over the next little bit.

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Cool Tools

 

2014-02-13 20.15.23

There’s something about the right tool for the right job. Fit and function. Function and form as one. This week, one of my favourite teacher-bloggers, Andrew Douch, wrote a great post about the perfect tool for screen casting.

I happen to think that screen casting is going to be the next big thing for teachers. The research says that feedback is pretty much everything and personalised, audio/video feedback via screencast seems to be pretty compelling.

So, I was interested in Andrew’s post, where he compares some of the many tools available in this space. I haven’t tried that many but have settled on Snagit from Techsmith, mostly because I use both Macs and PCs and the licence (about $30) gave me access to the software on both platforms.

But I want to find the right tool, the perfect tool for the job for me, so I will go exploring again and try some of Andrew’s suggestions.

That’s what it’s about; keeping open to new possibilities and new ways of doing things. Being a learner and looking for the right tools. There is no end point. Kaizen.

Which reminds me of a great book that I ordered that just arrived, called Cool Tools by Kevin Kelly. It’s a collection of the best tool for every job. He says:

“Cool tools really work. A cool tool can be any book, gadget, software, video, map, hardware, material, or website that is tried and true. All reviews on this site are written by readers who have actually used the tool and others like it. Items can be either old or new as long as they are wonderful.”

It reminds me of the ye ole Whole Earth Catalog from the 1970s which, along with Tracks Magazine, the surfing magazine, symbolises something of that counter-culture for me. It’s lovingly, gorgeously detailed. Like Andrew Douch, Kelly really cares about this stuff. And that’s why it works.

 

This year in blogging

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 8,500 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

2010 in review

Good old WordPress sent me an email today, with my blog stats for the year, which I share below. I was surprised (and pleased) that I blogged on this blog about once a week, in a busy year of teaching and learning. That’s about as much as I can manage I think.  I was totally surprised at the Gilligan’s Island interest; I’ve got to blog more about 60s television shows I think!

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 5,600 times in 2010. That’s about 13 full 747s.

 

In 2010, there were 66 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 428 posts. There were 59 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 11mb. That’s about 1 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was August 21st with 122 views. The most popular post that day was Teach for Australia (revisited).

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were digg.com, annasnextadventure.blogspot.com, warrickwynne.wordpress.com, twitter.com, and google.com.au.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for gilligan’s island, teaching and learning with technology, gilligans island, gilligan island, and human ingenuity ib.

Attractions in 2010

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

1

Teach for Australia (revisited) August 2010
4 comments

2

UbD meets improving student learning (one teacher at a time) March 2010
1 comment

3

Teaching Generation Z August 2006

4

Human Ingenuity: An Overview of IB Thinking April 2009

5

Creative Ingenuity – Core competencies of the 21st Century April 2009
1 comment

Beginning of a great adventure

Or so said Lou Reed, in his (best) album, New York.

But, after seven years of blogging this doesn’t feel like much like a new adventure. Moving this blog from edublogs.org to wordpress.com isn’t an exciting thing to do, or particularly adventurous. It took me about an hour and a half to find a new blog name, export my posts from my old edublog and import them here. It didn’t work too well first time, it did the second.

And why? Well, Edublogs had gone ad-happy, and while I won’t labour the point, they were in-text style ads that appeared in your blog content, unless you upgraded. Edublogs has been my preferred platform and my recommendation of choice to other educators for the last three  years or so. But Edublogs had some performance issues earlier this year and I began to worry about being so reliant on one independent service in these increasingly economic times.  And them came the ads.

So, here I am world. I’m not excited. I’ve been blogging too long to think that anything I say here is going to change too many things out there. But I write because I think and feel. And that’s still an adventure.

Scott McLeod blogging about leadership


One of the magazines that makes its my way to the giant pile on my desk that I actually look forward to is the American magazine Learning and Leading with Technology, published by the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE).

In the November 2007 issue which just made it to the top of the pile, Dr Scott McLeod explains why he blogs about educational leadership including:

I blog about leadership because someone has to bang the drum and say “Pay attention to the leaders! Pay attention to the leaders!”

McLeod

McLeod (pictured above with a pile of gadgets that looks remarkably like my desk!) is the director of the UCEA Center for the Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education (CASTLE) (nice acronym but perhaps not totally suitable to the model of leadership I’m after!)  The short article points to three interesting websites: the CASTLE site at Iowa State University and two of McLeod’s own blogs, Dangerously Irrelevant and Leader Talk. All three sites are worth checking out; I’m even going to add one to my Bloglines subscription; that’s commitment for you!