Just how hard can it be – you sit down once a week, try and clear your head, reflect on your learning over the past week and write about it. Simple, right? As it turns out, maybe not so much.
So, what is it about this practice of blogging that imposes a degree of intimidation? Perhaps, it is the idea of putting your thoughts “out there” for the world to see. Maybe, just maybe, someone will suggest that they are not very profound or maybe not even very thought provoking. Maybe, just maybe you will not have done such a great job of editing and there for all the world to see will be your typos! Maybe someone will respond with questions and challenges for which you are not at all prepared to confront. Maybe, just maybe, you need to know that connective collaborative learning can be simultaneously exhilarating, frustrating, gratifying and challenging all at once.
As I reflected on our class discussion last Wednesday and the reading assignments, an acronym came to mind which I found might be helpful in my approach to this novice experience of blogging. I call it “D.A.R.E” and it basically outlines a set of practices which I hope to put into place in order to enhance and maximize this learning experience.
D is for discipline. Blogging requires the discipline of routine reflection and writing in order to record the learning process. A hit or miss approach cannot accurately reflect one’s learning journey.
A is for authenticity. There must be the quality of authenticity in blogging. Otherwise, it will lack integrity. What makes a blog interesting is that it puts a person “out there” – transparent, real and open for comment from others. Authenticity is essential in blogging.
R stands for the need to read and respond to others’ blogs. It is necessary, helpful and instructional to read and respond to other blogs. In so doing one becomes a part of a larger community and has the opportunity to contribute to that community in a meaningful way.
“Despite obvious appearances, blogging isn’t really about writing at all; that’s just the end point of the process, the outcome that occurs more or less naturally if everything else has been done right. Blogging is about, first, reading. But more important, it is about reading what is of interest to you: your culture, your community, your ideas. And it is about engaging with the content and with the authors of what you have read-reflecting, criticizing, questioning, reacting.” (Downes, 2004)
E stands for experiment. You may need to experiment with your writing in order to discover and develop your own style of blogging. Don’t attempt to imitate another’s style. Take a risk and discover your unique approach to blogging.
I’ve contemplated the risks and rewards and I’m ready to move ahead. It may be a leap but one that I’m ready to take. Here’s to the heights and depths of this new experience . . . here’s to embracing, really embracing this experience, here’s to taking a chance, to going all out!
Downes, S. (2004). Educational blogging. Educause, September/October 2004, 14-26.