blogging at breakfast

I’m alerted by a colleague to a blogpost – it’s blog etiquette to link so thanks to Joss for the EdTech link– and for reminding me that I’m currently feeling guilty for blog neglect – its been two weeks! In that time I’ve been involved in several blog-worthy events including the Disability Research Conference through ALT at Leeds Met which prompted an interesting debate via the JISC Dis-forum on the use of simulations in staff training for inclusive practice. Thanks to everyone for contributions; they’ll be compiled and made available online – but not today – its Bank Holiday Monday and I’m going out for a walk – in the real world.

Before I do – because I can – I want to pin down two issues from the blog link. Firstly I agree with EdTechie that blogging is about identity although the advantages and disadvantages of online identity controls would make a blog in themselves. Blogs are valuable ways of ‘getting out there’ but saying this virtual mirror should be a multimedia one because ‘Creating a multi-media posting is now so simple’  increases the pressure to make an online presence not only as ubiquitous as an email address but more ‘exciting’ too. It’s a sad day when text is no longer considered to be enough.

My second issue is the multiplicity of resistance; I don’t agree that ‘developing and online identity is a crucial part of being an academic (or maybe just being a citizen)’. Comments like these assume both confidence and competence with the technology and easy access – which in itself could be divisive.

Can we do it? No, not everyone can (or even wants too)!
The abbreviated Ed stands for education – maybe we should rename  it  Pedagogical Technology instead – and remind ourselves that teaching and leaning is not only about many analogue qualities but is also embedded in the policies and practices of equality, diversity and widening participation and – of course – an ever increasing staff workload.

Now, in the interests of work/life balance – where are my walking boots…………I’m late!

blogging conclusions

Digital debate has a short life span. Thank you again to everyone who contributed and caused a ‘spike’ on my rating levels! Clearly the reasons for engaging (or not) are as varied as the individuals who participate (or not); as would be expected with analysis of any human activity. I was interested to see in the responses the concept of ‘justification’ of what we do and the perceived value of having an additional ‘voice’ whether it for clarification of our own thinking or to share practice in a community-of-practice type way. Wenger identifies activities indicative of a CoP including discussing development, asking for help, documenting projects, seeking experience, mapping knowledge and identifying gaps – all of which are common features of the blogosphere.

So the conclusion that blogs are primarily about learning; either through individual reflection or collaboratively through shared activity situated within lived experience comes as no surprise. We all have a range of tools for expression and use what we feel most comfortable with. Those that have made the shift from analogue to digital sometimes take it for granted that everyone has virtual connections and if not then why not? Maybe an alternative way to scratch below the surface of blogging and identify its strengths and weaknesses would be to take a blogger’s laptop or mobile away for a month and ask them to use pen and paper to record their thoughts instead – any volunteers?