Category Archives: BLOG WRITING

THINKING ABOUT BEING A 459-ER!

ImageThree months ago, I started to blog on my own blog site, webclasscommunity, something I swore I would never do cause:

  1. I didn’t have the time,
  2. I wasn’t tech savvy, and most importantly,
  3. no-one would be interested in what I had to say

Well, I can’t really comment about the third reason for not blogging  but I can confirm that Continue reading

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I Think You Nailed it, Gilly Salmon!

ID-100167452It is now twelve weeks since I first turned my computer on to a learning environment called “Online Learning”, a small defining component of e-learning. An environment that couldn’t be further from my original studies at University back in the late eighties where I spent twenty minutes trying to find somewhere to park, racing to my lecture or tutorial only to find “the good seats” all gone, and then realising how hungry I was and should have had a pit stop at the cafeteria before this two hour avalanche of information.

I have to confess that online learning was nothing as I had expected. I thought online learning was about logging in, getting my learning readings, “go home” ( i.e. debark from the signing on of the unit) , do some activities and email an assignment through to someone unknown called my lecturer. Feeling extremely naive now.

Perhaps it is the term we use…”Online learning”. Is it deceiving? There are no words in this title of interaction, collaboration and group experiences. They are two very isolated words that suggest, to me, that we are signing in and out of an environment as individuals floating in a “pool of other onliners”.

So, what are my thoughts now.?  Having been introduced to the theories in Gilly Salmon’s “e-Moderating: The Key To Teaching and Learning Online” I even still questioned reaching what she called Stage 5 where “Participants are essentially using a constructivist’s approach to learning.” (Salmon, 2011)…no way, this is not going to happen in 12 weeks, surely??? How could I possibly engage in a university unit whereby the students are helping themselves and others without the full, visual, interactive support of a lecturer? To be identified as “Communities of Practice”. What a ridiculous expectation to ask…wrong again, I was!

It is now Week 12, and yes, our lecturer is “lurking”, some would rather say “quietly encouraging yet enabling presence” (Staples, 2013) , but the learning I am getting from other “uni students” is phenomenal, supportive, scaffolding, constructive and emotional.

Do I believe every online learning will be like this…not in a second! But do I believe, and now know, that it can be like this…absolutely. Oh, the doors it opens….

Enough blogging, time to go re-enrol in another unit, or two, or three…online, of course!

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What Makes a “Good” Personal Learning Network?

ImageOnce it was the young couple’s dream to own their own piece of land somewhere…with a PLN website you can have your own piece of virtual land without the mortgage. (Rita Finlay, 2013)

So, I have been asked as part of my university studies to create a Personal Learning Network, aka, PLN. And therefore, it is a major part of my learning content and ultimately, my unit marking. So what makes a good PLN in my eyes? What am I after?What would I want people to see in my own PLN?

I have looked around at other PLN”s to see what catches my “thinking eye”. Those that belong to sportspeople, musicians, other students, corporate members, teachers and artists. And then tried to examine what makes me want to learn more from each one?

I initially thought it was the “fountain of all knowledge” concept that I was after. That is,  I would read the PLN content on  a blogs site and it would answer all my questions and I wouldn’t need to go further. But that has changed drastically. I am now finding that the PLN’s who allow me to engage in their development are the ones I am drawn to. The PLN’s that “permit me to come in” and ask a question. They are also the ones who allow themselves to be vulnerable and not always correct.

Then there are the PLN’s that show transformation in their thinking through “online conversations” and commentary. I am drawn to the PLN that can say ” I now think…” and go on to develop their thoughts in a new post. That, to me, does not show a “mistake corrected” but rather a deep unravelling of reading and thoughts. I salute this!

The element of “supportive, constructive thoughts” is vital I have realised in productive PLN’s. I realise that the person who writes a blog on a PLN is writing what they believe, in that moment in time, with their own experiences and insights. Therefore, a collaborative effort is needed by the readers to support “constructive development”. I believe there is etiquette in PLN commentary and it is not about being “nice” but by showing the author enough respect to allow for thoughtful conversation between reader and author.

The other “endearing” aspect of a “good” PLN to me is   “effort” by the author to stimulate thought. I don’t want to live in an environment , real or online, surrounded by “I agree” comments, only. I applaud the”What about this…” comment or the “What would we do if this…” comment? Don’t get me wrong, “I agree” is an affirmation of your own thoughts and it “feels good to read” this sort of comment. Ridiculing or rude comments has no place, in my opinion, in a collaborative PLN environment.

Finally, it is the aesthetics of a PLN that drives me to return. I want the PLN website to feel like “reading a newspaper in front of a warm fire on a winter’s day”. I want to feel the author’s emotions about a topic, I want to read the insights that they share and feel comfortable to be a part of their insights.

Thank you to those PLN’s that allow me to do all these things!

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A Blogger Grows Up

Twitter jpagHere I am . Ten weeks old and I have learnt to “talk blogger”. I am “webclasscommunity” aka “wccom”.

Ten weeks ago I didn’t know what it meant to blog, how to create a blog page and “Twitter” was a sound a bird made. Ten weeks on and I “own” my blog site, I “feed” it regularly on nourished thoughts and learning. And I watch it grow proudly in front of my “computer based  eyes”.

“webclasscommunity” is still my “baby” and still requires much support in its developmental years. It may be showing small steps of independence and will continue to require ongoing “parental support” in its infantile years.

As a proud   “blog owner” I would hope that my 10 week old Personal Learning Network  will continue to grow into an informed, respected and educated blog site which in turn will continue to
inspire others in its ability to reach out to a wide audience and online community.Only time will tell….

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WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A BLOG AND A WEBSITE?

Blogg students

The learning of blogging

Blog originated from the word “weblog” or “web log”

Website means from “a site on the web”

Some differences between the two:

1. A blog usually has more information on the site than a website because it is constantly being updated and having comments posted by many people.

2. A blog is like a “news”-paper with many articles of different subject matter whereas a website is more like one article in the newspaper.

3. Readers are allowed to comment on the blog

4. Blogs are diary like in its approach with regular inputs ie posts, whereas websites are static

5. Blogs are in reversed chronological record of opinions and information (ie latest to earliest posts)

6. Bloggers often work together ie community of bloggers and sharing news and opinions about an interest whereas a website usually has one author

7. Blogs are often updated daily on the internet

8. Blogs cover a wide variety of topics and news where as a website has a specific subject

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So what is a PLN?

A PLN is an acronym for Personal Learning Network.

PLN network of peopleA PLN:

1. Is interactive,

2. It is collective and connects you to and engages you with other people with similar interests

3. Has the intention that learning will occur

4. Is usually online. They have always existed pre Internet and WEB 2.0 eg staffrooms, worksites, meeting rooms but are now accessible to anyone, anywhere via the Internet and Web 2.0.

5. A place, where people with similar and specific interests, can filter through a “tonne” of information and share the most beneficial, useful and learning based ideas.

6. A virtual place to provide feedback, and to share ideas to fellow “learners’ through articles and websites

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To Blog or not to Blog, that is the question!

BLOG MAN

TO BLOG OR NOT TO BLOG…THAT IS THE QUESTION

So here I am…a blogger. I am sure when I was a kid, many years ago, if I called someone a “blogger” I would have been looked at quite sternly by Sr  “Maria” and even more sternly by my mother when I got home and she found out.

But somehow the term “blogger” is becoming warmly endearing to me. Imagine shouting at someone “You are the greatest blogger I have ever seen”..hmmm…or ..”Your blog is amazing!”

OK, maybe endearing isn’t the term, more like nervously acceptable.

But it appears I have to “catch up” with the teaching and learning trends that I have missed out on. Ironically I have only been out of teaching for 5 years but it still appears that I am “well behind the 8th ball”…never mind, never scared to take on a challenge.

So I sit here, typing on my keyboard and then deleting the text I just typed because it wasn’t what I meant. Retyping and deleting again…is this blogging? Is this the social addiction that so many comment about? Type and delete…type and delete…type and post…YES…that’s what I meant to say! I have a blog!

Maybe my next one might be Blog 2.0…I think I am addicted!!

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