I’ve had the good fortune of starting this course during my vacation, which has allowed more reading and contemplation time than I’d usually have at the start of a course. As such, I’ve started reading the case studies of module 3, and would like to dwell a little on Using Blogging in Support of Teacher Professional Identity Development – A Case Study (Luehmann, 2008). Yes, the date of 2008 is about right, as is the period under review 2003-2006, since that was probably the hey-day of blogging.
I’ve written before about the unfortunate demise of blogging, and having read this article, I once again am reinvigorated to take up the keyboard and dust off my professional blog. I must admit to have neglected it somewhat in the space last year that was not occupied by formal study and therefore an externally imposed blogging regime.
Considering blogging as a learning tool, and the blogging and commenting community as part of ones’ PLN, the question then is what has replaced blogging? The obvious answers would be Facebook and Twitter. However I would suggest that they miss the target in a number of ways. As Luehmann (2008, p. 332) explains – “… blog provides the quintessential example of capitalizing on the potential of blogging for reflection and metacognition. She was especially strong at using specific stories from her personal and professional experience as catalysts for engaging in critical inquiries about more general issues …” I have to wonder however if anonymous blogging allows for better self-reflection and a questioning stance than public blogging – which is the currently “preferred mode” according to those in the know and those who write and think about these things – “claiming one’s name” and all that.
In contrast, my experience of FaceBook is substantial positive “impression management” (Krämer & Winter, 2008), intersperced with passing on pre-digested and edited pieces written by successful professionals. What it misses is the observable struggle and growth of the individual in getting from point novice to point successful professional – something that blogs did. As a learning network, the FB groups I am in, are excellent for asking quick questions and getting convergent answers – top graphic novels, best tools for citation, what to wear to a job interview, what questions to expect etc. And answers tend to converge if the network is big enough. It’s also great for moral outrage – what unforgivable ones’ boss or lecturer or client or political opponent did now… There is little sign of vulnerability or deep questioning.
Twitter. Hmm. Does anyone else get tired of the chest beating alpha-monkey behaviour of the twitterati or is it just me? Again it’s about triumph and trumpeting. It’s not about the daily confrontation of things you’d like to see different that you’re trying to change and the barriers that are erected along the way. And when something really interesting comes up – like a whole blow-up about twitter plagiarism by a professor (of course I can’t find a reference to this as it happened last year on twitter …) it is difficult to unravel the threads or work out who is referring to what or when and in which order. On the positive side, educators do appreciate the professional development opportunities of Twitter and Twitter Chats as a way to keep up with developments in the profession as well as the ability to connect with other educators globally (Carpenter & Krutka, 2015; Trust, Krutka, & Carpenter, 2016).
Like everyone on this course, I too read prolifically and from a variety of sources, including social media originated, popular press, journals, books etc. The most infuriating part of social media is the difficulty of finding something back days or months later if you haven’t carefully diigo’d it or saved it to Flipboard or Evernote or the like.
And finally what is great about blogging? Well it gives you writing experience. Lots of it. And the more you write and the more you get feedback on your writing, the better you get at it. And right now I can just feel how out of touch I am with writing after the last 4 months of not doing so! Onwards and upwards.
Carpenter, J. P., & Krutka, D. G. (2015). Engagement through microblogging: educator professional development via Twitter. Professional Development in Education, 41(4), 707–728. http://doi.org/10.1080/19415257.2014.939294
Krämer, N. C., & Winter, S. (2008). Impression management 2.0: The relationship of self-esteem, extraversion, self-eficacy, and self-presentation within social networking sites. Journal of Media Psychology, 20(3), 106–116. http://doi.org/10.1027/1864-118.104.22.168
Luehmann, A. L. (2008). Using blogging in support of teacher professional identity development: A case study. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 17(3), 287–337. http://doi.org/10.1080/10508400802192706
Trust, T., Krutka, D. G., & Carpenter, J. P. (2016). ‘Together we are better’: Professional learning networks for teachers. Computers & Education, 102, 15–34. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2016.06.007