Blogging for learning
Over the past 6 months I have revisited Blogs thanks to the efforts of Tom Smith. My first foray into blogging was with Pete Bradshaw back in August 2002. Amazingly it is still there but you will see that if you take the link you will see that our co-authoring approach meant that Pete has all of the contributions attributed to him! In my second foray I have chosen to have my own Blog that I use primarily for professional postings with very little social stuff. This was a conscious decision as I wanted to explore Blogs as a means of online social learning (by this I mean learning with others through discourse).
My practice has been to generate posts of a few hundred words in length that are stimulated by some aspect of my work experience in the hope that it will generate comments from others. This learning activity has several dimensions. Firstly, making the tacit knowledge of my experiences explicit and secondly the learning from discourse with others that follows. Some of this is in the Blog itself and some is through other interactions I have with colleagues and friends. It is however characterised by the purposeful intention to learn.
Simultaneously I have become a member of the Ultralab Blog of Blogs community and here I read colleagues contributions to their own Blogs.
This genre of publishing legitimates the sharing of ideas that may be based on observations, research, or are just hunches. As a staring point it opens up the possibility of validation of experiences and possibility of sparking thoughts and changes in others.
On balance, I have been encouraged by the response I have had to my posts. This has been both through comments left (the ideal), messages to me via email, and conversations with colleagues. There is no way of easily quantifying who or how many people read posts, but my experience suggest that there is a reasonable amount of participation in at least the reading of Blogs.
The Ultralab Blog of Blogs brings together a diverse group that includes colleagues from Ultralab South, Researchers on the Ultraversity project, and others. I have learned much myself from reading posts on other Blogs. I have also realised how little I leave comments myself and suspect this is the behaviour of a typical blogger. That is we read, but infrequently take the opportunity to comment on other people’s entries.
It seems to work!