12 years – and still going (just!)

So, 12 years, (and a few days) ago, I wrote my first post on here. Originally, it wasn’t here, but on Blogspot; I’ve moved it a few times, and at times it’s been more active than others. Skimming through the archives, I was particularly active in November 2007 , but there are too many months that have 0.
Over the years since I started this, I’ve also been more (or less at times!) active on Twitter – almost 13.8k posts since (bizarrely!) November 2007 . Then, later, Google+; particularly when we had it via Google Apps at Portsmouth, and I’d moved my students from blogging to using Social Media for the community development part of their coursework.

When I first moved to Dundee, I thought I’d start to blog more regularly – a new job seemed like a really good opportunity, to reflect on the changes in my role, new things I was learning, etc. I started out so well. I have many ideas about what I could blog about, and as we’re starting a team blog, perhaps writing for that will help to rekindle the enthusiasm I have for this. I don’t want it to die; it’s a valuable record, both of my views and interests – as well as the changes around me.

“On this day”

Facebook’s “On this day” often throws up things I’d totally forgotten about. Today’s was work related, and, in many ways, it’s still as relevant now as it was 7 years ago:

I’’m recently starting to think more and more about Web2.0 and teaching; more specifically how much is actually “web2.0” (on the assumption it can be defined) and how much is what I’’m getting the students to do (or, indeed, what I, as I extend my own knowledge am doing). Is just looking at videos on YouTube any different from looking at them in the VLE? What happens when they start to upload them / attach them to a discussion posting in the VLE?
So, (and I think this is where my research is increasingly going)

  • Who should the audience be? (self / select group/ class / uni / world … and various stages in between!)
  • Where should it be hosted? (What backup do we have if it goes down [internal or external!]
    • Who’’s funding the hosting?
  • Why are we using it? Is it primarily to gather information; to disseminate; to organise personally; to collaborate (because we have to?)
    • Are the roles of all users the same – or does the original user have a different reason to all/some of the audience
  • What do we want to do? (Before/during/post using tool?)

Clearly, there are a lot of overlaps … but equally as the task/meaning etc., becomes more important, so the actual tool may become less important.

I’d also written about writing a blog post .

I was on the train yesterday, with very poor mobile broadband – so thought I’d test out Blogging from Word, by creating a post, in order to posting it when I got back here.


Some of the issues I had weren’t Word’s fault – this laptop has a (finger print print controlled) Password Bank. It was desperate to save my blog details – the very reluctant to let me edit them when I realised I’d got the URL wrong.


That sorted, I then managed to publish it! Awful! The formatting was sucked in from Word, badly. It couldn’t cope with lists at all. Finally in desperation I saved it as text, opened in Notepad & pasted in here.


Am going to experiment with Google gears instead!

[Here, in this case, referred to Facebook]

Google gears has long since vanished – and I can’t remember the last time I wanted to blog offline, but I’d probably just use Evernote or so & then paste in later.

And, on the subject of “On this Day” – it was June 2nd that snow famously stopped play in a cricket match in Buxton. The reason I can remember it is that’s my Dad’s birthday – and I was heading back to school after half term, insisting that, as it was the Summer Term, I had to wear summer uniform. My mother argued it was snowing, and not to be so silly. I won the argument. And shivered!

Using blogs to enhance learning.

Using Blogs to Enhance Learning – Some Helpful Tips – , puts forward some useful points.
In particular,

teachers need to be clear that a blog is an individualized tool for one learner. Yes, students can leave comments on a colleague’s blog that represent a reflection of the material presented. But if a teacher is seeking reactions from a collective group the tool to use would be a wiki or a discussion forum. In essence, teachers must select the proper tool for the task.

(“Open Education”, 2008)

This is something that I’ve had a number of conversations with others about – when they ask about creating a “class blog”. In part, we have to decide what the purpose of the blog is; is it for reflection, (in which case, I’m not sure that anyone would argue against individual blogs), or is it for news sharing, in which case, a group blog (as is the way that WebCT Vista blogs are set up) works.

Many of the ideas in the blog post are linked back to some work that Reynard, from the Career Education Corporation did. The blog links to her “Avoiding the 5 most Common Mistakes in Using Blogs with Students” , and I think it’s this that the ideas in “Open Education”‘s post are based on. I’m sometimes sceptical of agencies with words like “Career” in the title, as I’ve sometimes found that they tend to concentrate more on the “training” aspects of learning, rather than the more “educational” aspects – those things that it’s actually far harder to measure, yet are vital. However, her points seem to concur pretty closely with my ideas.

The idea of assessment is mentioned, and I think that she is looking at Blogging for grades, as well as blogging for learning. A blog does have the opportunity, I believe, to offer value for students without necessarily having to be graded. The student, however, has to come to that realisation, and, for many, an initial “graded” introduction may be of use, so she can decide whether or not it’s for her. Blogs aren’t for everyone, and that’s something we, as blogging enthusiasts, have to remember!

I’m still not quite sure about the diagram used in the article

, as I can’t quite work out who owns which blog. Ownership of blogs is something that “Open Education”, Reynard and I all feel is vital …