For a long time I have wanted to have a consistent blog. I have always loved writing and have written in journals my whole life. A blog has always seemed to me like a natural progression of that hobby. A way to journal in a more polished and public way about the passions that I want to pursue.
Sounds great! Sign me up!
But after many stalled blogs (including this one, for the past year) I am really starting to wonder what I am missing from blogging. Or if there is something inherently missing in blogs? Or am i just not ‘blogger-material’?
Then, this week in ITEC 815, we get learn about blogging in education. Blogging for the sake of processing the information you’ve taken in and seeing other people’s reactions to it. Here is where I realized my problem. I have a very idealized picture of blogging in my head: I write a post, a bunch of people love it and comment on it and subscribe to my blog and BOOM! I have followers.
The reality though is that that takes a loooong time to accomplish. While I blog now, no one other than my ITEC 815 classmates will be reading this. And that’s okay. The same goes for students blogging in their classes. For blogging in education to be successful, students need to understand that, yes, your blog is public, so that anyone can see it. But the chances are that no one will unless they are looking for it. And if they are looking for your blog, that means they are interested in you and what you have to say. So relax. Write honestly and openly about the prompt you’ve been given or the learning you’ve done the past week. Blog for yourself, not for anyone else.
I think students also need to understand the big picture of blogging. Why was blogging to world-altering? Because the consumers of information suddenly became the creators, editors and publishers of the information they wanted to consume. And students get to do the same thing with their education. If they read a chapter for their English class and one historical fact intrigues them, they have the power to write about that fact in depth on their blog. Therefore, shaping their education to fit with the things that they want to learn.
Blogging can be really beneficial for students, but it cannot exist in a vacuum. Instructors need to understand what blogging is and why is a powerful learning tool and they need impress that upon their students. As well as making sure students feel free to express themselves in their blog without fear of criticism, judgement, or failure.