I was lucky enough to be able to facilitate the Beyond Blogging workshop at YIS earlier this month with Jabiz. Trust me that I get the irony that blogging has fallen to the bottom of my to-do list too many times this school year and I was leading a workshop that was nominally about blogging. So with that said (and some inspiration from various participants) here is my bucket of bullet points.
- It is great not having the answers. Even when you’re supposed to. Every time Jabiz and I talked in the weeks leading up to the workshop we kept coming back to the fact that we don’t know what is beyond blogging. And I would get a little nervous/excited about that fact each time. We didn’t know the answers to the essential questions we thought should formulate the questions. We still don’t. And it was great that we could be honest with the participants. It can be a bit scary, considering people traveled a long way, to tell a room of adults that we don’t know the answers they came for. But honestly I hope that when I’m a participant in future workshops the consultant/teacher/leader owns up to the fact they don’t know the answers either. But education is too complex for a single answer to the big questions.
- I’m not doing everything right when it comes to blogging or the things that are beyond blogging. Far from it. In theory, I have some ideas of how to use digital spaces to encourage student voice and creativity. Sometimes , in practice, I create opportunities for students to use digital spaces (i.e. Twitter, Facebook, blogs, etc) in an authentic way. But in reality, I don’t do enough. I still require too many posts that are just reflections or worksheets online. Despite modeling it, the blogs aren’t living spaces for my students. And I’m still struggling with how to do it. But the added bonus of not being a sage on the stage, was that I could be a learner too. I could have a conversation with people also grappling with these ideas.
- I was worried about differentiation for teachers I didn’t know and I shouldn’t have been. It can be hard to plan a workshop for 40 educators with different experiences, teaching philosophies, and levels of experience when it came to tech. But it was truly a joy watching people create products that were relevant to their schools and for their kids.
” async=”” defer=”defer”>The products (Vines, infographics, blogs, widgets, videos, and more) were vastly different and met the needs (I hope) of each participant. And it was a blast watching someone geek out with a new way of sharing, connecting, and creating with their students. And to be honest, these people weren’t strangers. Most of them I have met before at various conferences. Or talked to on Twitter. Or worked with a friend. There are no strangers anymore.
- Collaborative blogging and blogging for curation is something I want to explore more. Early in the planning stages Kim made the obvious suggestion that we model what blogs could be. I am moving towards the idea that blogs are places of curation rather than reflection. Bubblecatchers. So in that spirit, I created a collaborative blog for the weekend. Everyone at the workshop was invited to be editor and after some initial set up on my end, it became a place where we put our stuff. I wasn’t sure if it would work. And there were hiccups and things aren’t perfectly organized. But I really like that the weekends stuff, most of it unpolished, is online. And it may or may not be a place I go back to, but it served a great purpose for those few days. And I’m wondering how I can take this to other projects.
- I need to blog more. This is a cliche thing everyone who has a blog thinks on a pretty regular basis. It takes me a long time to blog. I want the perfect picture, the perfect phrase. But it doesn’t have to be that way. I’m not a perfectionist by nature, so why do I have to be one in this space. Why can’t I just post a post-it note with a short phrase of what I’m thinking that day? Or an instagram pic? Or screenshot a couple of tweets that speak to the things I’m thinking about? What can I do to keep building this space?
So as usual, more questions than answers. But that is a space I’m normally pretty happy being in. A huge thank you to Jabiz for being such a great person to work with. And a massive thank you to everyone who came…it’s nice to know I’m not alone when it comes to this stuff.