I started blogging over eight years ago merely for the reason to understand how this type of platform would help our students. Blogging has helped my learning grow significantly because I have done it consistently for myself, not necessarily for an audience. Knowing an audience is there though, has made me think a lot deeper about what I share though, and it helps me create a “360 Degree View” of my learning; I do my best to focus on all angles of what I am sharing before I share it. This quote from Clive Thompson is one of my favorites:
So thinking about the impact of blogging, here are three reasons that I think it has made an impact on myself as a learner.
1. Open (and Forced) Reflection.
I do my best to write a post for Sunday morning, Tuesday afternoon and Thursday afternoon, every single week. This doesn’t mean that I always do it, but I have been pretty consistent as of late. Forcing myself to write, even when I feel I have nothing to share, pushes me to reflect openly and think about moments I experience throughout my days. Reflection is so crucial for growth, yet creating that time within education seems to be a “nice to have” but seemingly not necessary. I am at the point that if I don’t blog, my brain starts to hurt. It helps me find a balance between consumption and creation.
But blogging is not the only way that we can create consistent opportunities for reflection within our schools. It is a great way, but not the only way. What is more important is having the consistency in the process to reflect actively.
This leads to the next point.
2. Writing to Learn.
One of the things that I have noticed through blogging is that sometimes I write to share my learning, and sometimes I write to learn. If I am struggling with a concept or idea, I blog it out and see where my writing will lead me. I did this in my last post where I ended up more on asking questions than giving answers. This open struggle can also lead to people commenting and helping to get you to think about things differently.
This distinction is crucial in education. Giving students the opportunity to just process without the pressure of having a “perfect product” is where creativity and innovation can flourish. If we are always looking for a completed idea, sometimes we get our idea in their voice, instead of helping our students to learn how to learn.
Writing openly does not mean having the answers, but that you are in the pursuit of processing questions and ideas.
3. Building a Library of my Thinking
To find the Clive Thompson image that I shared earlier in this post, I googled “George Couros Clive Thompson” and found an old post with an image I created on Canva. Because I have written consistently for such a long time, I have created a library of not only my thinking but the thinking and ideas of others. When I read a compelling article, books, or see a great video, I blog about it to not only share it with others but to have it available later for my reference.
Here is an example I suggest that might be helpful to students. Have a student find a video on a concept (like probability in math) and give them some guidelines of what you are looking for. Students can go through videos, find one, share how it meets the criteria and why it is a great video explaining the concept. Later, perhaps in an older grade, when the same idea is revisited, you can go back, look at your materials and use that as a space that will last longer than a notebook. Learning how to “tag” and “categorize” appropriately is beneficial to this process, but imagine if a student can build a library of outside resources for their reference and learning throughout their time in school and after.
Using your blog as a library can help you not only reference later, but give you the opportunity to go beyond retention, but to deep understanding and learning of materials.
(For more information, check out my posts on blogging as a digital portfolio.)
Blogging has been hugely beneficial to me as a way to grow as a learner. The key has been consistency and making that appointment with yourself to reflect. Blogging is not the only way, but for me, it has been great. I hope that sharing my learning has helped others, as the blog of others has helped me reflect and grow as well.
(If you are looking to blog, here are some reasons that might help you get started.)
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