Should All Learning Professionals be Blogging?

Learning Circuits is has their big question of the month for October as: Should All Learning Professionals be Blogging?I just thought I would have my 2 cents worth on this question. Part of my answer to this question stems from some of the dialogue we had in Florence in early October. The blog is here. Blogging proved a hot topic.
There were several dyed in the wool bloggers and others who are open but less engaged with the idea of blogging. One of the people there had been working with A-list bloggers in the education and online learning field. She and she said to him:

lReally, you should never try to blog when I see the way that you write, the level of perfection and clarity that you expect . . .. . . and the amount you will push yourself to polish a phrase a sentence and a paragraph – blogging just would not suit the way you work”.

This was an interesting comment. There are some of us not cut out for blogging, the top of the head, informal and part way there writing does not sit well with us.
I do not think everyone who is an educator necessarily should be blogging, but I think I have three thoughts:

1. Every educator should try blogging sooner or later for themselves.
Get a simple recipe for blogging such as

  1. choose a name for your blog
  2. choose a simple and clear focus of interest to you
  3. set a blogging routine or discipline, I’d suggest once or twice a week
  4. plan a few blog posts and maybe even write them as if you were blogging but not in your blog.
  5. Blog for a few weeks.
  6. Read blogs on the same subject.

Note how you feel, your response to the fact you have a blog, how you felt about the thought of preparing a post, the feeling of having posted, and examine the effect of blogging on your thinking, your psyche and your learning. [IMO: you shoud never, not ever, ever set a blogging exercise for your classes without blogging yourself]
Having tried it – if you don’t like it, stop blogging.
2. This I’m more definite about:

Every educator should read other blogs in their field. In fact I would go so far as to say every professional should be following blogs in their field and maybe even every serious hobbyist.

This is not a trivial act.
Derek Wenmoth shared in the podcast to TT701 the other night about the significance of RSS feeds, aggregators and his personal discipline of 30 mins a day which help him keep up with a number of blogs.
Blogging is a phenomenon that is here to stay. Where it goes, or what evolves is another question. But it is a cutting edge for thoughts and ideas that are expressed on a given subject along with the millions of trivial posts.
Finding Blogs to read. Use Technorati, Delicious or email a few friends to find some key leading edge bloggers in your field.

Then, follow what they say. You will find reflections, followings, key events, posts on conference presentations, links to newspaper articles with comments on their significance, stories of events that have happened this very day and so on. If you notice two or three people posting on the same topic and they are thought leaders (or at least close to the action) in your field it’s something worth following up about. As well as A listers you should read the blogs of any of your friends who have them.

In my opinion.
3. Educators and learning professional can comment on the blogs of others.
Most blogs allow comments. After you read blogs, leave your mark and make some comments. Just follow a few simple rules: No flaming, no dissing, no violent disagreements, no rants, just simple short comments. You have no idea where this kind of interaction could lead. And don’t forget just to encourage as well. This is great for people who write blogs. Write your emal if you want like this:

derek (dot) c (at) gmail (dot) net

Commenting Tips:

You may like to make your first few comments anonymous just to see how you feel, but you also may like to leave a link to your online CV, your website where you have a few outdated, static pages, your institution or whatever. You never know who will find you.

This habit – I think – will keep you up with what’s going on in your profession almost as much as a conference, as being on the editorial board of your professional journal, being on a national executive, or . . . .

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