When I started writing in my first blog I was extremely anxious. I wanted to be enthusiastic. My University second year peers will tell you I am a very good communicator. I love to talk, discuss and debate different ideas and points of view with others. So what was the big problem here?
It was that moment when you hit submit. I now realise exactly why I was nervous. When I speak to someone, I can get an idea of how my thoughts are being received. Really obvious things like a yawn or a slightly arched eyebrow are key indicators that you are either speaking nonsense to the person on the receiving end, or you are boring them to tears. This immediate reaction is there when you are having a face to face discussion. With a blog it is out there for the whole world to see and all I can do is sit and wait for comments to appear, or worse, nothing to appear. I was also concerned about how I would be perceived as a professional. I’d heard many horror stories on how teachers could risk their chances of employment, registration with the GTCS and respectability amongst peers, parents and pupils due to their on line profiles.
My first blog was typed up in three days. I know this is a ridiculous amount of time to be spending on a blog post. It wasn’t that it took me three days to write it, I just kept re-drafting it. So many questions were running through my head.
“Does this make sense to every one else? Am I dragging this out? Is it too formal? Is it too informal? Is it even relevant to Education? Should I re draft this just one more time?”
I had resisted the urge to read other blogs for fear that I would subconsciously imitate their style or copy their ideas. I wanted to make sure that my first post would be personal, reflect the sort of person I am and share my original thoughts. I eventually gave in on the morning of day three. Why had I not done this sooner? Everyone had completely different styles. Some were more formal whilst others were like an informal discussion. Some were long and interesting whilst others were very straight to the point. That is when I realised that I was worrying over nothing.
Today, as I write my seventh post, I had a look at posts my peers had published. I have been reading them regularly since that first post, but this time I had a more critical eye. What did they do that I could perhaps incorporate into my posts? What did I see that was exciting or different? What didn’t work so well, so that I could avoid making the same mistakes? It really made me think about not only how I write, but how I present my writing.
I have been making use of images when I feel that they have a purpose. I have not been using an image unless I refer to it within my post. Other students have been using images almost as an illustration to compliment their post. I felt it made reading them much more exciting and interesting.
Video links are also a great way of going into further detail. I have seen a few posts where people have discussed an activity they have tried out and reflected on how they felt it went. I have also seen videos where people have carried out the activity on camera to demonstate how they did something.
(As an example, here is Derek Robertson talking about and using makey makey)
By making a video it makes it easier to grasp. I think it would work well putting the two together. A video within the post demonstrating the activity and a reflection on what they think about it within a post. The post could include theory gained from reading material and links to studies that support or repute the value of the activity on pupils’ learning. Not only does it give a bigger picture to the reader, it shares valuable knowledge and skills with peers and breaks up the reading keeping the reader interested.
I will continue to post on a regular basis. I am beginning to focus more on why I am writing rather than what I am saying. I’m not saying that it is appropriate to write anything but when I think of why I am writing posts, it actually helps me focus on what to say. These posts are my reflections. I will be able to look back on them in years to come and track my progression. Every teacher I have spoken to has emphasised the importance of sharing feedback, knowledge, ideas and resources. I will be embracing this culture and try to embed it into my own personal philosophy. As my blog states;
Learning is life’s most exciting journey that has no end.
I feel that my writing style may change and adapt as I become more experienced. I feel that I currently flip from a formal academic style to a more friendly discursive tone. I think it really depends on what I am writing. If it is my own personal thoughts and feelings then of course, it will come across as more relaxed. If I am exploring an area of research that focusses on education and pedagogy then it will have a more formal style.
I hope that in time I can find a balance but in the meantime I will keep sharing my thoughts.