Monday, January 10, 2011

It's all about the connection

This post is in response to this one: Down Blog's Memory Lane and what fun it was to write.

10 questions to ask my blog

1. When did you start?

Well, thank you for this opportunity to speak after all these years. It is amazing to consider but I have been the medium of communication for my author now for 5 and half years (since July 2005). Of course the quality of communications have varied over the years. I really think I was better in the early days, but perhaps it's not too late to get back into some quality writing. I think my author still sees me that way.

2. Why did you start?

I have reflected on this a few times in my existence: Let me see now... yes I can just lay my hands on the appropriate passage: This is from December 2005 - "I started reading blogs about 18 months ago starting with my friend Scott’s blog and just kept reading. Sometimes I read from his blogroll as well but I felt a little bit like that was o.k. for these people: they were young enough, techie enough, maybe radical enough, but I wasn’t anything like that. Scott seemed, however, to assume that it was not totally impossible that I might one day start a blog but I was fearful. What if I made a mistake, what if I wrote something wrong, what if …. Oh well I’m sure you know the kind of thing. Then one day in May I stumbled across a podcast by Steve Dembo (I wonder if it was the same one, Graham) and through him found Will Richardson and David Warlick (it must have been the same one) and all of a sudden the world seemed to open up. At one particular point when faced with the Blogger home page it just seemed easier to start a blog than to continue to resist."

And yes this still rings true. It was the example of others that encouraged me to start. I didn't know many bloggers in Australia at that time even though there were many, and my community was very North American. I feel honoured to have been nurtured by so many of these very generous and wonderful friends. I know my author was thrilled to meet many of this community f2f in 2008 at ISTE in San Antonio. Any now my community is full of great Aussie educators and there is lots of cross fertilisation happening.

3. What is your most exciting moment?

There have been so many. Introducing blogging to successive classes of students in my author's English classes. So many stories of learning (chronicled in my many posts over the years). Another is meeting the bloggers who have meant something to me f2f at our bloggers' feasts. Often when bloggers (or later twitterers) have been coming to Melbourne for a visit or a conference we tried to set up a meal at a restaurant in Southbank in Melbourne. These have been fun over the years. Have to thank Sue Tapp for initiating these.

4. Where does your future lie?

I'm sure I will keep going. My author says: "I want to keep blogging even though when I started it was mostly reflecting about my experiences as a classroom teacher. I felt that it was helping me be a better teacher and giving my students better learning opportunities through the sharing by teachers. And that was true. But now I am no longer a classroom teacher, I want to reflect on my lifelong learning and that of others. I am so impressed by my husband's learning to swim aged over 50 and now swimming 15+ laps regularly. We are all learning all the time and reflecting on our experiences can help them be better experiences."

5. What have you learnt?

Again, I better let my author have a say about this one: " Every day when I connect to the community I have been privileged to know though blogging and twitter I learn something. Information, ideas and ways to solve problems. I also hope I have learned to be a better writer and more reflective person.

6. How have you changed?

Looking back it was easier when there were planning student experiences and classes to write about. The blog title "The Open Classroom" and the content matched. But when my author stopped being a classroom teacher she had to have a long think about how she related to the education community and what she would continue to write about. The blog changed as my author changed, and as her job (role in life) changed. You can read about that here. To accommodate the changes my author has branched out with 2 extra blogs: one is on the 365 photo project and one is about her garden.

7. What do you think of your author?

I have to pass on that one.

8. What is most exciting about being a blog in this new decade of the 21st century?

Is it a new decade in 2011? Didn't it start in 2010? Oh well, maybe we'll have to agree to disagree there. Reminds me of the millennium debate. But there is sure a lot going on. The network is the most important thing and that is connected through the tools available but also the desire of individuals to get involved. I loved this google doc I learned about today Why Networked Learning Matters by Alec Couros

9. Twitter, facebook, diigo... do they affect you? and how?

Well yes, I have to say that they do. Twitter is an easy way to let people know what you're thinking about, to say nothing of the like button in FB where you don't even have to articulate a thought. It takes more time to compose a blog post and of course in taking the time the learning and reflection happens. I suppose in a way twitter and FB are about more instant gratification. But they are a great adjunct to blogging. I must admit that my author was very lazy for a long while there and all her blog posts consisted of links to her diigo page. Oh well, a lot of readers lost that way I guess. But there was always hope that some more reflective and connected writing could still happen and I am hoping that this is the start of a new era.

10. Why will you continue?
Definitely the community. And it's been fun and there are always new things to learn. Like this challenge. I am so looking forward to it.

Image attribution: Image: 'X-Factor'


  1. What a lovely way to post Jo. I love this idea of letting your blog have a voice. You continue to make an impact even when not in a clasroom Jo. Thanks for all you have contributed to my learning along the way.

  2. I find it so much easier to share on Twitter. It's more of a stream of consciousness for me; blogging takes more thought, but I want it to be a priority as well.

  3. Hi Jo
    Enjoyed your post. I am on Twitter but don't use it much, can't keep up with everything.
    I am hoping to develop my teacher blog as a part of this challenge. However when school term starts in Feb, well we shall see!

  4. I would love to start blogging more regularly. I am currently writing about school supplies for teachers, but I would like to start a personal blog as well. These are great questions for me to reflect on before I begin.

  5. I really enjoyed this post.. keep up the good work!

  6. Hi Jo, thanks for participating in the Blog Challenge. I found your post really interesting. For me, it is intriguing that you started in 2005 - you are a true pioneer. I started in 2007, and like you, most of my initial contacts came from North America.
    I love challenges like this as it motivates bloggers further and increases the network. Now, I really think you should have got your blog to comment on the author, as I am sure they love having you write their posts. (You had me laughing on that question! and non-answer).

  7. Hi Jo

    I'm amazed that you have been blogging since 2005 - I didn't even know about blogs then!

    I follow you on twitter! Sometimes I get overwhelmed with the volume of information there so this year I have to learn how to manage the information flow.

    Looking at your garden blog...I need you as my garden consultant!!

    Kim :)