Blogging Struggles

After watching Micheal Wesch’s video on Youtube, I was thinking about how vlogging for those students has been posing the same problems as blogging for me.  I have found myself finding it hard to find things to talk about, because I am writing to ‘no one’. Although I know that someone will read this, I don’t know who it is, or anything about them! I know that it is supposed to be for me, and that this is a way for me to work through some of my own thoughts, and that I shouldn’t be worrying about anyone else. I just can’t help but wonder what people will think of me based on what I write, and how I write. I don’t want people to gain a false perception of me, but how can I avoid that? If I am having this many difficulties with blogging, how could I ever effectively teach my students the use of blogging?

Not only is this difficult, but, as I mentioned before, I am struggling with some self esteem issues. I have never really considered myself a person who cares what others think of me, but in the face of this new form of conversation and self expression, I  find myself struggling with the desire to express myself in a way that others will appreciate me for me. When you have a face to face conversation, people can read your body language, your tone of voice, and you can tell if they have taken offense to something you have said. However, with blogging you can not do any of those things. You can not see me, you can not hear my tone of voice, nor can I tell if you are offended or upset with me. This is what worries me. I want people to understand that sometimes I have strong opinions, but it doesn’t mean that I will push them on anyone else, or try and force them to agree with me, but  how do I make that more than just words in a blog?

Even as I write this, I can’t help but think of only one thing; comments. Comments become the essential aspect of blogs. Without comments there would be no way to support someone, clarify a misunderstanding, or disagree with someone. Yet, as essential as I believe comments to be, I also think that many people misuse them. On Youtube or Facebook, or even a couple of normal blogs that I have read, people leave some disgusting comments. It seems that with some people comments act as a way for people to say terrible things that they would never say in person, without worry of how it will affect their personality or reflect on their character. Yet as I look on other blogs and Social networking sites, I see that people who have had more experience with the internet, and with Social Networking seem to be acting on an unspoken set of standards.

Despite my initial reactions, I feel as though blogging could be helpful for students. However, before I would ever teach my students to blog, and to use this tool effectively, I would need to feel comfortable myself. I am going to attempt to keep going, I want to make this a worthwhile experience, but I need all the help I can get.

If anyone has any thoughts, or tips, I would to hear them!

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About Aimee Cronan

I am a Pre Kindergarten to Grade Three Pre-Service Teacher at the University of Regina View all posts by Aimee Cronan

36 responses to “Blogging Struggles

  • Alec Couros

    Blogging is truly a different genre, and audience matters in different ways. I have tweeted this out and I hoping that there will be a person or two who will perhaps weigh in on the matter and give their perspective about blogging and audience. In any case, let’s talk about this in class if you like.

  • Linda Vasu

    I love the tone of your blog, your voice. It’s genuine, and it captures the essence of what you are wrestling with — taking a risk, taking a leap into the unknown, and establishing a genuine presence through your voice. You do that, brilliantly. Keep writing!

  • Lori Sabo

    Wow. I feel so many of the things you do. While I shouldn’t need positive comments to provide validation, I kind of do…and my own blogging life has given me a better understanding of the need for audience. I don’t have my first graders blog, but because of what I’ve found I need in my own writing, I have become very careful to give their pieces a stage…whether with a peer, 6th grade buddy, parent, principal, etc. There is nothing like specific appreciate feedback to perpetuate our desire to write.

  • Linda704

    Aimee, you have stated what, I believe, many bloggers feel. I think if you focus on writing for you, you will find your voice. I have not had problems with “trolls” in terms of comments (but then again, I don’t post often), just spam. The nice thing about comments, is that you have the opportunity to respond to someone who may question or add to your thinking. Set small goals. You are off to a great start! 🙂

  • Elaine Carboni

    Even though I personally don’t blog on a regular basis, my 8th graders have found an outlet in this type of writing. The students who are very vocal in class look forward to comments to respond to and usually don’t stress over it. The students who are shy and don’t offer to much to class discussion somehow feel safe writing without vocalizing. Controversial thoughts are often what push us on to more debate. Education demands that we express ourselves. Keep at it. You’ll eventually see the benefits. Good luck!

  • Damian

    Hi Aimee,

    Congrats on starting your blog! If you stick with it, it has the potential to become a great resource for reflection and conversation on professional issues (or whatever you choose to blog about).

    I’m of two minds when it comes to comments:

    1) We all love to see people respond to our work; that’s natural. My suggestion is that if you want to get people to visit your blog (and hopefully comment), that you comment on others’ blogs. When you do, you’ll have to put in your name and blog address. I have found that the number of comments I get on my blog corresponds directly to how active I am in commenting on others’ blogs. When my commenting activity dips, so do my incoming comments, usually.

    2) On the other hand, somewhere along the last 3 1/2 years of blogging I’ve stopped caring so much about the comments. I still like to receive them, but I don’t need them like I did when I started. My blog has evolved from me writing comment-bait type posts to writing about what I am interested in. Now, I’d rather write a sharp, reflective, insightful post that gives me some sense of accomplishment or helps me to clarify my own thinking on a topic and get 0-2 comments than to dash off a post about something inconsequential and get a ton of comments.

    You’re right in that tone is important, but that will only come with practice – and with writing and deleting, writing and deleting. No other way around that, I’m afraid. Not that that’s a bad thing.

    Last bit of advice: pace yourself. When I started, I cranked out 7-8 posts a week, but I would burn out after a while and then go several weeks without posting. I set a goal for myself of two decent quality blog posts per month because that’s manageable given what else is going on in my life; you may be able to do more. I have met or exceeded that goal each month for the last two years now, and that helps me to keep blogging consistently (which is an important part of building audience, if that’s what your interested in doing).

    At any rate, stick with it. We were all skeptical when we started, but once you get into a groove, you may very well find you love blogging.

  • Suzanne Rogers

    Aimee it is indeed daunting to put your humble thoughts out into the world. Remember though it is through social media that the truth ringing loud and clear in the world today. Never underestimate yourself or your audience!

    Finally, welcome to the gloriously exciting world of teaching. I have a M.Ed, am a department chair, and yet I continue to learn daily from my colleagues, my students, and my PLN. Be flexible and stretch to your wildest dreams with yourself and your students.

  • James Kapptie

    You are headed down the right path. The power of the blog is the reflective piece. When we self reflect it is powerful. Kids can use that same thing.

  • Carolyn Foote

    I think this post took a lot of courage and was really honest, which I appreciated.

    I remember feeling the same way when I started blogging–I wanted to write but had no idea who would necessarily be reading. And I was really conscious in my first posts about the audience and what they would think of my writing. So first, I just want to assure you that is a normal reaction. One of the great things about trying blogging before asking your students to do it, is that you’ll relate to their potential discomfort at the beginning and can urge them to persist their way through that to the”other side.”

    So I just want to encourage you to keep going, to keep being so honest about what blogging feels like for you, and to reflect on your students, and see how it goes.

    Thanks again for sharing. This post is one I may share in the future.

  • Becky Bair

    Aimee, you bring up a lot of great points here. I’m not sure that I will be able to to help you, but let me at least try.

    You touched on the fact that you know blogging is supposed to be for you, and you’re absolutely right. This is your place to think through and process all that you’re doing in your classes and your pre-service placements. I’ve been blogging since October and have yet to get a comment, but I have made some significant changes to the way I help my students learn by processing things on my blog. The other thing you need to remember (several wise people have shared this with me) is that you get as much as you give. Make sure you’re commenting on other blogs, and that will bring people back to read yours.

    It may seem as though it would be difficult to teach your kids how to blog, but your little ones will not care one bit. They will be so excited to write and read each others’ work, they will not think twice about who’s reading or not reading. And to be honest, I’m finding that people are a lot more likely to comment on my kids’ blogs. If you tweet out your class’s posts or get involved in something like comments4kids, you will have an authentic audience for your students in no time. And it WILL improve their communication skills – I’ve seen it happen in just 9 weeks.

    Even if you’re not a person who cares what other people think, it’s still hard to be transparent and put yourself and your innermost thoughts out on the Internet. Whether people know you or not, they still might say you are wrong or disagree with you and your thoughts. My only suggestion for this is to remember that seeing things from other people’s points of view can only lead to 2 things – you will look at the situation from a different perspective and it will make you change how you want to do things or you’ll learn how NOT to do things. Either way you have had the opportunity to learn and grow and that’s what this whole blogging thing is all about.

    Good luck with this part of your learning journey. It really has been an amazing experience, and I know that you will be able to get a lot out of it if you stick with it.

  • Amanda

    A colleague of mine shares some of your concerns about blogging; she has some academia in her and the idea of publishing half-baked thoughts (or thoughts she might later change) is terrifying to her.

    It sounds like you already know the answers – blogging is for you. I put a little note on my blog to warn people about what they’ll read: “It’s full of messy, emerging and changing opinions (revolutions aren’t for the faint hearted), so consider yourself warned and join me in the ride.”

    Blog for you. Blog about what you are thinking about, what you care about, what you are working through. Blog even if no one reads it. Blog even if no one comments. Blog even when people do comment and say they hate what you’ve said. Blog because you are being a great leader by doing it (not just telling your students they should). Blog because it is an incredible tool we have in our journey as life long learners.

    Keep blogging!

  • Barbara McLaughlin

    Wow Aimee.

    You remind me of, well, me when I first started blogging (about 4 yrs ago, and 2 domains away). I didn’t understand why I should firstly, “spill my guts” and secondly pull back in case “someone actually read it!”

    The inappropriate commenting that goes on in FB and Youtube is reason enough for educators to enter the Cybersphere.

    My blogs are professional, timely representation of my thinking. They allow me to reflect and be thoughtful, just as my MEd papers, but in a way that invites interaction and community thought.

    As for “teaching” your students to blog. Not sure you can do that. Writing is from the heart, online or onground. There are many merits to guiding your students online journey.

    My thoughts are here http://reflectiveleadings.blogspot.com/

    I hear you.

    Barbara

  • Kemp

    Ok great! I will take sometime at the encouragement of @courosa to address your concerns. Learn more about me by clicking my name above.

    “After watching Micheal Wesch’s video on Youtube, I was thinking about how vlogging for those students has been posing the same problems as blogging for me. I have found myself finding it hard to find things to talk about.”

    This is the beginning of an awesome blog post. It is hard to find things to talk about. I am inspired by educational news, tech news, friends and family complaints, things I hear on the bus, on the radio or in my head as I talk with someone.

    “I don’t want people to gain a false perception of me, but how can I avoid that?”
    Speak from the heart and write while imagining that your mom is reading.

    “If I am having this many difficulties with blogging, how could I ever effectively teach my students the use of blogging?”
    The heart of blogging is passion and interest. It doesn’t matter what we write about but the value of analysis and synthesis is undoubted. Advocate a blog as a kind of thought develop center for students.

    “I want people to understand that sometimes I have strong opinions, but it doesn’t mean that I will push them on anyone else, or try and force them to agree with me, but how do I make that more than just words in a blog?”

    Express both sides of issues. Show that you understand both sides.

    “I also think that many people misuse them. On Youtube or Facebook, or even a couple of normal blogs that I have read, people leave some disgusting comments.”

    If people take the time to leave hateful or profane comments you can delete them or not but know that you are now a blogging rockstar as you evoked a strong response from someone and they took the time to tell you about. Don’t take anything personally as you obviously understand from what you wrote that people can’t know the real you from just reading your blog. Show your positive side too!

    “I look on other blogs and Social networking sites, I see that people who have had more experience with the internet, and with Social Networking seem to be acting on an unspoken set of standards.”

    They are. It’s called Common Sense. That’s essentially to teach your students: Digital Common Sense. You know it well as a mature adult and you say you’ve seen it elsewhere.

    Keep going and seek out people and resources to help you. One of the best resources for wordpress.com is WordPress.com’s support section.

    Remember there is a giant community of teachers and instructors on the web who are happy to help when they know they are needed. Find me on Twitter

    Some students may already be blogging. Highlight their efforts and invite them to give a short lesson to the class. Invite other students to teach the class a little trick or tip if they like.

  • Dean Shareski

    Finding one’s voice in life is a struggle, finding it online is an added challenge. What I can tell you is that everyone, I mean everyone feels very much like you describe.

    As someone who has introduced 100’s of teachers and students to blogging, I must tell you I have seen only a small percentage carry on. That’s somewhat disheartening but I hope that more than anything it gives people a taste of sharing. The blog is a great space because you can share a variety of things as well as use it to document your own learning.

    I would begin but using it as a space that makes sense for you. Don’t worry about about pleasing others for now. Store a great idea, ask a question, or share a video. I use my blog to talk about stuff I’m interested in, if others like it great, if not there are lots of other spaces.

    I see you’re an early childhood/elementary teacher. What a great way to build community and connect to others like yourself. Believe me, there aren’t many out there in your area. Use this space to foster that community. But even if it’s just a place for you, that’s enough.

  • Joanna Sanders Bobiash

    Keep it up Aimee. When you first start blogging, it’s true, you are mostly doing it for yourself and hope that one day, someone will read it.

    I found blogging much easier when I had a theme to my blog to write about, the integration of technology into education and the promotion of 21st Century skills. It is something that I’m passionate about and spent a lot of time thinking, researching and talking about in my everyday life. I found my blog was a place to talk about something I was already talking about in person but now I was able to share it with a wider audience.

    I first started writing a blog for myself to keep track of what I was doing with my students and what I was learning online and at conferences. I also spent time commenting on other people’s blogs who eventually came back to my blog to comment on it. Eventually others left comments saying that they found an article useful or appreciated something I had shared. Through blogging, I have become a more reflective and thoughtful educator who is open to new ideas. It is a long process, but worth it in the end.

    I found my students who took up blogging were most successful when they were able to pick a theme that interested them and then were able to write and share everything about that theme. They became a type of expert in their field of interest and that is what I encourage you to do too. Good luck!

  • steven greene

    Even if no one reads it – it still gets students writing. Students blog so that they can become good enough to be read.I facilitate this process by highlighting some students as the hottest blogs – or who to read this week. They all want to be the one that gets read and commented on. Granted they are 12 years old, but the process probably works with older students as well.

  • Heather Durnin

    Aimee,
    Before I started blogging, I had the same concerns as you. However, I also recognized the most important reason to blog – reflect and share – which I wrote about in my first post. http://heatherdurnin.com/2009/12/11/why-blog/

    I’ve stuck to that mantra. Others have different reasons to blog. Stick to what you’re comfortable with, and you’ll soon find you share that same philosophy with your students. You’re off to a great start.
    @hdurnin

  • Ann Oro

    You are right. Without trying blogging, you will not be able to lead your students through the process. It can be difficult to get start. Doing it through this class will help you get exposure to the process and your professor will help you get some feedback.

    I started writing in 2007. One of the things I find most powerful over time is that I can now search my blog and remind myself how I did things in class and what I want to change and revisit year after year.

    It’s a personal space, yet I find other people reading articles based on what they type into different search engines. I keep track of how people find what I have written through using a web site called Stat Counter. There are many different sites that will do this for you.

    Best wishes on your journey.

  • Tim Johnson

    Hi Aimee. I found your link through @courosa on Twitter. I am an Educational Technologist in Medicine Hat. I agree with your comments that sometimes it feels like you are blogging to an empty audience. But you may reach one person with your thoughts and ideas and your blog can make a difference to one educator. I look at my hits on my blog page and don’t see a lot of visitors. But the some of the friendliest people I have met have are from Social networking. Not that I know them directly but their willingness to share makes reading blogs and following people on Twitter so personally rewarding. I know from reading your post that you are willing to share. Keep the faith and know your thoughts and opinions will reach people. They did me. Thanks.

  • Jeremy Schubert

    Hi Aimee,
    Thanks for being honest. When I was taking my B. Ed at the U of R we had journals as blogs weren’t invented yet! As student teachers, we were required to journal about what we did in the field and how we thought whatever we did went over. Often my fellow students and I found this exercise to be contrived. Especially as teaching is a very subjective activity. Different teachers teach differently. So, in my journal, was it best to journal in a voice that sounded like whatever methodology my current prof was espousing, even at the risk of ‘being a suck up’? Or should I take the risk of writing what I actually want to do and believe about teaching, risking a ‘poo poo’ from the prof as I haven’t been a ‘real’ teacher yet and I’ll ‘learn more’ when I’m actually teaching. So, yes, I think I can hear your worries about what people will think of you as create your blog.

    On the other hand, there is a wonderful reason for having your students blog (or journal). And that is not to evaluate their thoughts or actions. Blogging can be very helpful in learning how to effectively communicate. Have you heard of that old saying, ‘practice makes perfect’? Blogging can help your students learn to write clearly and effectively for, at least two reason.

    1. They can choose meaningful topics to write about instead of writing about what they did for the summer holidays.

    2. As you note, their peers and teachers have the opportunity to leave helpful, meaningful comments. Comments that can help themselves reflect on the clearness and effectiveness of their writing.

    3. A blog does not have to be a one time assignment…as students receive comments and feedback on what they have posted, they can use future posts to rewrite in a better, stronger voice.

    And this third point also addresses another point of your post. Yes, initially people may misunderstand or not quite get what it you intended to say. That is the beauty of blogging as an exercise and also why editors have a job. Authoring a book is no easy task. Going on suggestions from editors, authors give their works many rewrites in order to come up with the perfect manuscript. Once again, it’s the idea of ‘practice makes perfect’. It’s more likely that your students will get better at writing if they practice writing more often and if they build on their initial attempts. Rather than just handing in ‘one-try’ assignments.

    So, to make blogging a worthwhile experience, don’t begin by thinking you have to write about your educational epiphanies. Think that you need to be concentrating on posting articles that clearly and concisely explain what it is that your are doing.

    Jeremy

  • Harlan howe

    I certainly sympathize. I struggle, too, particularly at the early phase – or what I am told is the early phase – when I don’t have much readership. It’s so easy for people who come in as speakers and talk about these technologies to say how wonderful they are. When a Will Richardson or an Alan November demos how he can ask a question on a blog and within seconds one of his regular readers will answer, it is hard not to feel disenheartened when I write a big, long post, and all I get are cricket noises.
    Who, then, is my audience? Is this some sort of ego-trip? Is it worth my time to post again? Is the silence because I am more boring than I realize or because nobody found me? All too often, life gets in the way, and it is weeks or months pass by before I decide I “should” post again. And, starting over, I get the same thing again.
    So I have to return to who my audience is. To some extent, I guess I get to decide that myself. I’ll invent an audience and speak to them. Ill be as personal as I feel comfortable being, and push myself to be more when I feel up to it. And I’ll do what I can to help that audience find me, via twitter or other people’s comments (!) And if (when?) nothing happens, I guess I’ll keep picking another audience until I find my tungsten and the light goes on and stays for a while.
    So, who is my audience? Do they care what I have to say? If not, heck with ’em. I’ll make up another one and try a different voice. Will they hate be and flame me with abuse? I doubt I’ll be that controversial, but the “delete comment” button is easy enough. (Perhaps you’ll use it on this one….)
    So, let’s be each other’s audience today.

  • Kristie Wells

    Aimee, what you are going through is something every single person asks themselves when launching their blog, and honestly – one I still struggle with five years after launching mine.

    One thing I have learned over the years is you need to blog FOR YOU. Forget the ‘audience’. Write about things YOU are passionate about – the book you just read, a movie you saw, a picture you took (and what it matters to you) – and write in the tone that best suits YOU. Forget about pleasing me, or that blogger in Kansas or that other one in Miami. We don’t matter. Really. I loved blogging when I was blogging for myself. The minute I got a little attention, I started to worry about the number of subscribers. The content I was producing. Whether or not I would upset anyone with my thoughts. And you know what? I stopped blogging. I wanted a personal journal. A document of my life, my trips, my experiences. When people started leaving comments it put more pressure on me ‘to produce’. It made me reevaluate why I was blogging and what I wanted to do with it. I actually stopped as I felt like I lost a little bit of me for a while. My blog has been dormant for most of the last year and I am ok with that. Thinking about kickstarting it again and know if I do, I will blog for me, and only me, and people can engage or they can ignore. I am fine either way, but I will continue to write for me.

    I only share this as you should have a vision for what you want your blog to be. If it is a personal space, then absolutely focus on what you want to want about and set the tone you want it to have. If you wish to use this professionally, then you will need to consider topics and tone and such…but never lose sight of yourself. Be true to your personal and professional self is key.

    Use this platform to express your thoughts and feelings and get experience that can then be shared with your students to help them along their path. Some of your students will take to blogging, others won’t, not all of us are born to write (myself included). You need to know about the tools you teach. You need to understand the struggles. The highs. The lows. Blogging is a great way to soak it all in. Your post shows you understand that well.

    I also would not worry about comments. I would guess 9 out of 10 people read posts and do NOT leave comments as commenting requires effort. Many just want to read and move on. More will never know you even wrote a post. And that is ok. Keep writing if it moves you to do so.

    Now, if someone does leave a comment – you have the option of engaging or not – and also whether to keep their comment published or not. This is your space. Your domain. I welcome comments that are constructive and on topic. I delete ones that are not or are trollish. My space, my rules. I set the tone and people either like it or they don’t.

    You are on an interesting path, walked by many before you. Some of us succeed and have a blog that is well received and linked to 100 times a day. Others are hit and miss. Then you some that for dormant. What matters is walking the path. I hope you continue on this journey of self discovery of not only yourself – but of the social tools you can use to connect with people around the world and take all of these learnings back to your students and help them on their way as well.

  • Al Smith

    What I would say Aimee may sound crazy but hear me out. Start blogging to yourself. I mean blog as a diary- a reflection depot or rant box, whatever…The conversation isn’t so crazy.
    Then consider creating a blog with kids that is driven by writing prompts and structured assessment criteria. Limit each writing response to the comment form over a two week period. Wrap up. Summarize. New prompt. Later on you can add in skills and conditions where kids can create there own posts when you sort out the user mechanics and rules and evaluation etc…I found that the strong writers were sometimes a surprise. Blogging extracted a gift in some kids that was previously dormant in my eyes. Others hated it.
    As far as blogging with adult community- I’m with you. Getting a niche and readership is tricky and not for everyone. I use my blogs as school newsletters, bulletin boards, web sites rolled into one. Make it what you want love! If its karma it will evolve. Have fun. Walk the dog. Twitter Shareski whatever.Like you, ‘schools kill creativity’ so don’t let it. Build what you want and play with it. Create. You rock as you are!

  • Robin T

    Hi Aimee
    Thanks for the post and your thoughts. It’s a bit difficult pushing those first words into cyberspace, so well done. I’m essentially a shy and private person so the cloak of anonymity that the web provides is ideal. I hope that if anyone comments a post that they will do so in a way that helps me to take a different viewpoint and raise my understanding. Comments like feedback are gifts that we can choose to accept; when someone posts something offensive that just exposes them for what they are and it makes me sad that they chose to place their graffiti on my wall. I can choose to take their contribution down if I wish.
    I read your blog because in thinking about your post and responding to it, I learn a little more about me. I can engage with you a-synchronously in the privacy of my home and minds connect for an instance of understanding, but I do not have to expose myself to you. Thus my privacy remains intact.
    Blogging with students helps them to develop and understand their tacit knowledge (see Polanyi, Nonaka ) and that’s why I encourage the use of private or public journalling. (I’m a teacher educator for college teachers)
    Enjoy and cherish your journey!

  • Ian

    Well done for getting started. As you say – how can you teach it if you don’t do it. Your challenge now is to keep going and if you are worried about the comments then moderate and delete the ones you don’t like (except my one of course 🙂

  • Cristina Costa

    I read you! And I know exactly what you mean?
    It has crossed my mind times and times again what’s the value of this all. Will people respect me? Will they be interested in what I have to say?
    It’s not a comfortable start, but trust me it’s a good.
    At the beginning it kinda feels like being in a conference room, you want to raise your hand because you have a question to ask, an idea to share, but most times you don’t dare. There’s the exposure factor. All of a sudden you have numerous pairs of eyes on you. It feels a bit like this when you start blogging…doesn’t it? 😉
    But the feeling will go away and you will see it as *your* shared space. Yes, it’s yours. It’s the space where you get to articulate your ideas, ask your questions, mature in your thoughts and learning. I like the fact that blogs become interactive records of experience in progress. I’s good to go back and look at how far we have come. 🙂

    And you are right! I too think about the comments a lot. It doesn’t matter what people say regarding a personal blog being one’s personal space and it’s about blogging for me! Actually for me, it’s about blogging from me to others. I open my ideas to discussion, I put myself out there as I am, and I offer it up to others. So, it is ultimately also about those who read my blog.
    I blog for an audience. That’s my motivation. Yet, the process of writing my thoughts in such fashion probably benefit me more than it benefits others. It’s a bit like that saying: the more I give, the more I get, and that is really the case when it comes to blogging.
    It’s the exchange that matters, and everyone has something to contribute. Always!
    Of course, comments come at a price. Blogging is about exchange, as we need to foster those networks pf peers by visiting and also commenting on other people’s blogs. Commenting is also another form of blogging, because it’s also another way of sharing one’s thoughts, offering up one’s perspectives.

    on a final note, I find it fascinating that you relate your struggle with blogging with the process your students are going through at the moment when using vlogs. That’s for me a key ‘trait’ trait of teachers: to be able to put themselves in their students shoes and try to reflect on how they can support them. Blogs are good ways to tease out those questions too 🙂

    in the process of blogging, you’ll find your blogging voice, which will be nothing more than a reflection of you, your epistemology of practice, and your views on the world as an educator. That can only be good.

    My advise to you: come as you are. People will appreciate it! 😉

  • andy Black

    Hi Interesting post, Ive been blogging for it must 4 or 5 years and recently hit a lull when I started using twitter for its more instant feedback . But am now returning to blogging as well learning to write more than 140 characters is tricky habit to get out of. I blog for lots of reasons
    1) share link and interesting stuff with people
    2) reflect my view on emerging issues in technology in education/development and learning in and importantly outside the classroom
    3) Act as augmentation to my memory my blog is a searchable tool for me as much as it is wider reader.

    People do read blogs only a small perecentage comment .

    Your commment as regards people being unable to read body language nuance in a blog post is a good one. But I imagine or use other triggers to fill that gap on reading blog posts .
    My writing style isnt great and frankly most of my readers ( and me) dont mind.

    So go on carry on blogging only if its a trail for you to reflect on. Blogging is much much more than that !!

    A

  • Clint Surry

    I have had my starts and stops at blogging. I choose to not write when I am uninspired to write…and I choose to write as I rediscover inspiration.

    You said it above that you are writing to you. Sometimes it will simply be an outpouring of your thoughts…sometimes it will be to pass on some great insight…sometimes….you get the idea.

    Let go of worrying about others and focus on you, your ideas, your influences…the audience will follow.

    I find at times I need to remind myself to move on. It’s too easy to not write while waiting for a big idea, but this forgets to enjoy the little steps along the way.

    Every po
    Keep an electronic agenda or paper to help you organize.

  • Christine Fernand

    I thoroughly enjoyed your blog. And I identify what you say about the lack of ‘face to face’ in order to judge how what has been said has been received. I think that you have written in a tone that reflects what you are saying and you audience so if I were you I wouldn’t worry. Have a look at the pice on confidence that I have given you the link for above, and of course, please comment if you wish.

    With very best wishes,

    Christine

  • Rachael

    I have rediscovered blogging after an 18 month break, and what I have come back to is a different beast. Blogging is an excellent way to make an extended contribution to the spheres of dialogue out there that you are interested in. It is your chance to contribute, your ticket to a more meaningful engagement with your online community. It takes time to discern your crowd, but trust your instincts and let your ideas serve the blog. It is a tool for you, which I believe will become increasingly helpful over time, and I am glad that I have gotten back on to the horse! Happy blogging!

  • Scott Snyder

    Aimee, Blog for yourself. Over time, your readers will get to know you. You’ll find that the educational community, which will likely be the audience drawn to your blog, will be supportive and positive in their reactions and comments. As an on-again and off-again blogger (currently off-again), who started blogging strictly for myself, I can say that no one has ever been anything but positive. Keep at it. Find your voice. Share. And learn from your reflection and the reactions of others.

  • Daniel Craig

    Hi Aimee. I found your site through a suggestion on Twitter to visit and comment. Twitter is a great way to drive more traffic to your posts, if you aren’t already doing it, I suggest giving it a try.

    Of course, it sounds as if blogging is keeping you occupied enough 😉

    I think that you hit the nail on the head. Blogs are great for recording and organizing your own ideas. They may never be read (though, after a time it is likely it will be), but you have to write as if it will be. This can add a little good pressure to improve the quality and thoroughness of your posts. In the end, this benefits both you and any potential reader.

    I’ve been blogging on quite a few different sites for years. I think of my blog as an extension of my memory. I have a nascent blog for research that I find interesting. I reserve this for a focused area of research that I’m interested in and would like to incorporate into my writings at a later time. I keep a couple of blogs for my kids. This has been a great personal project. I love going back through the blogs and seeing their (and my) development. It was great to compare pregnancies between my wife’s first and second. I’ve done class blogs that included my blogging resources for students, students doing their own blogs, and students contributing to a class blog. All have been good experiences, though the class blog was certainly the best. I’ve kept a personal/professional blog for the longest. In various forms, it’s been around for nearly 9 years.

    I can’t say that any of these have been widely read. I sometimes go weeks without posting anything. I tend to go in spurts. Neither of these habits encourage regular readers. In the end, however, it doesn’t matter. I do it for myself. It’s like writing a journal. I do it to express myself and have something that I can point to later (even years later) and say, “Wow, that was a great idea!” or “Oh geeze. Did I really write that?”

    As for your classes/students, we certainly have much different groups (adult, EFL) so I can’t comment too much on how best to use blogging for your students. It’s really for the same reasons that I suggested above. They can learn to write (or present art, spoken word, videos) for an audience. They can (with some work on your end) engage with people outside of class through comments. Think of things like show and tell, reports, and other items that show what they can do as individuals, groups, or a whole class.

    You can also have them do a long-term project and do updates on the blog. Simple things like watching a sunflower grow, observe the changing seasons, track daily weather/temperatures (maybe even have sister classes around the world that do this with them) or other activities that may have resided solely in your classroom at one point, but can now be shared with a wider audience.

    Good luck with your exploration into blogging and other social media.

  • Patricia Cone

    I really enjoyed reading your post Aimee! (It is pretty rare that I read an entire post that is this long!!!)

    I liked how it was written “from the gut” yet wasn’t so personal that I think I know everything there is to know about you.

    If you are going to introduce blogging with students, it is imperative that there be some kind of monitoring of comments. Otherwise, the kids LOVE it.

    If you are interested, UPS Grade 3 (Unity Public School) has a page on Face Book. I’m sure they would be thrilled if you became one of their “friends”. Their teacher is Morag Riddell
    http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001491221697

    Take care and keep blogging!

  • Aimee Cronan

    Thanks for the great advice, and encouragement everyone!! I will continue to blog, and hopefully, this will become as meaningful to me as it obviously is to most of you!

  • teacher trainee

    Hi from New Zealand! The power of the internet is that I came here via a tweet from your teacher encouraging people to blog on students teachers’ blogs. I think part of what makes blogging such a powerful medium is that people want to share thoughts that perhaps they wouldn’t say outloud and that can make users very vulnerable to trolls (people who leave nasty comments). There are aways to avoid this, but women bloggers in particular seem very vulnerable to this.

    But keep blogging, you have a voice which is unique and is worth listening to.

  • Al Smith

    I think Aimee’s blog thread is a strong indicator of the power of social media. These tools are integrated, personal yet engaging public networks. Look what Alec’s Tweet invite did with Aimee’s post- it welcomed in an entire community that previously may never read her blog. That is why Twitter is so powerful and is a major cornerstone of my new revitalized PLN. Thanks to open educators like Couros and Shareski we all benefit. Now someone else will benefit from Aimee’s ideas. That is just cool! Good luck Aimee! Thanks

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