I’ve been helping at a local Primary School, introducing some of the kids to blogging. I have two groups – six children in each. Year 4 are all boys, and have The Mathematicians blog, and Yr5/6 are three of each, with their Millie’s Secret blog. We had some problems at first with using the kidblog platform on our netbooks – they couldn’t reply to comments, but the support company came in and fixed something and we’re probably now in business again.
The kids love it. Part of their enthusiasm is perhaps due to them being treated as something special – they can escape the regular classwork and do something fun with an old guy who doesn’t shout at them too much!
We started by making avatars of the teachers and then of themselves, which are now part of their blogging identity. We’ve written a few things to get an idea of how blogs work … but now what? I can start giving them blogging challenges but I wonder if I can squeeze them in. You see, by the time they’ve come in and got connected, they only have access to their blogs for, at most, 35 minutes each Friday, and we need to use that time as effectively as we can. The normal thing to do would be to get them to comment on others’ blogs and to refine the skill of commenting, but by the time they’ve written a couple of comments it’s time to go!
I’d welcome any thoughts or suggestions on how to maximise the fun and learning we get out of these short slots.
I wish I could write with clarity, incisiveness and direction. Right now I feel like a confused and raving geriatric! Anyway, this post is my attempt to answer a friend’s question of why I didn’t blog about personal matters
I first started blogging in October, 2008, when I went off to India and wanted a means of telling friends and family back home what I was up to. I just related stuff about daily life, what I saw, what I experienced, in broad terms. I didn’t ever talk about personal things in any detail – about missing my son and daughter, the loneliness, emotions – the blog was never intended for that. But just because I didn’t write about them didn’t mean they didn’t matter to me desperately, or that I didn’t think about them all the time, or didn’t experience them at all. It was just that I never felt it appropriate for an impersonal blog to express private things. Anyway, I never felt confident I could ever express them adequately or unambiguously. And, to be brutal, it was no one else’s business.
Other things can’t be said on blogs either. Stuff like suspicions, conjectures, rumours, criticisms of the behaviour, judgement or abilities of individuals or organisations you work closely with. Subjective things. The way they are viewed depends on who’s doing the viewing, their confidence in their own judgement and where their moral lines are drawn. The outcome could potentially be disastrous, not just to the writer or the reader, but to others and whole communities. Maybe there’s no one to turn to, to externalise your thoughts, but blogging isn’t a substitute. Sometimes you need to stay quiet, to sit back, take stock, work things out for yourself and hope you’ve got it right.
I posted a while back that I had left Facebook and gave some reasons. Unfortunately I had to rejoin. I’ve become active behind the scenes with SOLES and SOMES (aka “The Granny Cloud”) and conversations take place on two Facebook Groups. I still dislike Facebook and feel trapped. Here’s another reason:
I spent too many hours today prising out the ELT blogs from my huge collection of blogs and putting them into their own Google “Bundle”. Then adding a few more blogs that I’d previously missed. This new collection will hopefully make life easier for ELT bloggers to find others like them, to research topics or find lesson ideas. It’s now really easy to subscribe to 170+ ELT blogs with only a few clicks:
I’m about to launch a new project on unsuspecting education bloggers! It’s nothing earth-shattering, just a simple idea, but I hope that members of the education community, both new and long-in-the-tooth, will find it useful.
It’s a bit of a step into the unknown but unless I try I’ll never know; faint heart n’er won fair maiden, and all that!
To cut to the chase, it’s simply a register of education blogs, listing title, author, Twitter ID, subject, focus, age taught, country and so on. By using a Google form linked to a spreadsheet, bloggers can enter their own details. And by using a spreadsheet, users can sort and search to find the blogs or people they want.
There are other registers out there but none quite hits the spot, as far as I can see. You can find lists of blogs in certain categories but you have to slog through them to find Twitter IDs or locations. Or you can find lists of Twitter IDs but the links are not active and the blogs are not mentioned. By collecting this extra meta data, people building their PLNs or researching certain ed aspects will be able to home in on target bloggers or Twitter folk.
I’ve done a pilot run with a few of my on-line friends and the feedback has been very encouraging. I’ve refined one or two details but basically the shape seems sound.
This will seem daft but I’ve been having real doubts about what to call it! I already have my Ed Blog Collection – more than 1200 blogs that people can subscribe to for searching purposes. By the way, I am finding that incredibly useful. For example, I’ve recently joined the team behind #Elemchat (great people – more interested in sharing, learning and growing than about personal egos – but that’s another story!) and, by searching the Collection, I’ve been able to provide resource links to feed into the #Elemchat weekly topical conversations.
So “Collection” is ruled out. Other options I considered were Ed Blog -List, -Table, -Database, -Index, -Register, -Catalog/catalogue, -Heap, -Record/er, -Ledger, -Gallery, -Library … none are particularly catchy, are they?! Others imply some order but this will be, at least when entered, all over the place. “Register” seems appropriate in a way – the old school register – people registering etc – so that’s what I’m going with for now.
The form and the spreadsheet will be on my CliveSir Gmail account and will be embedded into my CliveSir wiki for now, but I’m wondering about putting it in the #Elemchat wiki too, or instead of. People may be able find it more easily if it was there, although it’s not especially connected with Elementary education.
Finally, this will be a register where everyone has an equal voice. There will be no favourites, no star rankings, no celebrities and no awards.
UPDATE: Now live! 13:00 GMT 2011-12-27 : http://clivesir.wikispaces.com/Ed+Blog+Register
UPDATE: 18:00 GMT 2013-10-01 : This page has been repeatedly spammed for some reason. I’ve had to republish it with a new address and delete the old one, to try to shake the spammers off. Sorry to anyone who follows this blog.
The register worked for a bit but didn’t take off as I’d expected. Never mind, an interesting experiment!
Thank you for dropping by and a Big Welcome to my blog!
Ten reasons why I blog:
- To keep a journal for myself
- To keep in contact with family and friends
- To inform and share
- To counter isolation
- To crystalise thoughts
- For the pleasure
- To reflect
- As an aide-mémoire for my fallible and failing memory (did I mention this above?)
- To let off steam
- To develop and benefit from my PLN