Nov 122010

So here’s the thing:

I’ve been meaning to write for a long time.*

Since my last post (egads– scary how long it’s been), I have written 6 drafts. Yes, 6. The most recent of those I did in May of this year, and it’s a doozy (stay tuned — it involves some post-reflection reflection — how’s that for getting meta?). But I haven’t published any of them. Why? I present to you… The Excuses:

  • Because I’m not good at publishing without revision. (Should I be? is this a Web 2.0/3.0/21st c. skill I want?)
  • Because I didn’t have time.
  • Because I’ve been too busy.
  • Because I didn’t have anything to say. (Okay, that’s a lie — I always have plenty to say. Whether it’s of substance is another story.)
  • Because family was visiting.
  • Because the weather was nice and it’s more fun to be outside than inside writing.
  • Because I moved my blog and it was complicated.
  • Because it’s easier to tweet.
  • Because I write or contribute to¬†other blogs.
  • Because I have 340840198408 pages of reading to do and this grad program does not leave enough time for decompression and reflection.

I’ll let you decide which of those excuses are valid enough to be reasons.

But now this #gradschoolalliance thing is up and running and between me, Sava, and Leslie, I’m the last one who is posting. Me! ME! Me… whom many of my colleagues (former and present) know as She Who Promoteth Blogging the Mostest.

It’s true. I think blogging is da bomb. So much so that I (along with an NYU colleague who is nowhere on the interwebs for me to link to, ironically) designed an online collaborative writing platform for “learning” writers called Beyond Blog.**

But here’s the OTHER thing:

Good writing takes time.

At least for me it does. This very post that you’re reading right now (you’re still reading, right?) began as a bunch of notes on a page that grew from:

  1. watching a recorded webinar on Community Best Practices in the U.S. Air Force, and being awed at how spot-on it was in terms of leveraging social learning for developing a community of professional learners. (For real: why does the U.S. Air Force have well-connected, pedagogically-driven educators but the U.S. school system is so broken? What is wrong with this picture?)
  2. reading my notes.
  3. reading some Wenger, White, and Smith.
  4. participating last-minute in an Elluminate session with Jen, which I was unprepared for but still psyched, and from which I felt more like a lurker (ironically, which I openly criticized) than a participant.
  5. reading my notes again and realizing I wasn’t following my own advice.
  6. zeroing in on THIS:

Zeroing in

Yeah. Don’t you hate it when you’re your own best teacher? It occurred to me that by not blogging, I was not participating fully.

And that’s when I realized the OTHER OTHER thing:

I had taken all this time developing notes for a part of my thesis…

… and I now had something to write about.

I’m back.

(not in black)

Hold me to it, please.***


*Don’t go stealing our ideas, now. I’ve got a prototype, even. Pshaw!

**It’s not like I haven’t written anything, btw. What do you think I am, a total slacker? There’s been this thing called g-r-a-d s-c-h-o-o-l. Would you like to read my article annotations? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

***Gently. No wrestling-grip strength, please.

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 12 November, 2010  Posted by at 11:58 pm On the Personal Side, Writing Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  8 Responses »
Dec 072009

I have been noticing lately that since I don’t have a TV, I spend much more time in my Google Reader. I feel like I am reading MUCH more lately, in general, but it’s been nice to have time to actually peruse the items in my reader that before, I used to gloss over.

However, I’ve noticed that rather than get to all those posts from The Guy/Girl Who Posts 12 Times Daily, I am find myself looking forward to reading those posts from The Guy/Girl Who Posts One or Two Nuggets Per Month. What I mean is, while I thought I’d be happy about spending more time in my reader because I’d finally have time to read all the stuff from the people who seem to have tons of time to do nothing but write blog posts, I’m finding that these people — the ones who post incessantly — are not the ones whose blogs I look forward to reading.


Well, I’m starting to think it’s because I favor quality over quantity. Just because you’re writing all the time does not mean you’re writing something good all the time. Some of it’s good, and some of it isn’t. In fact, I’d venture to say that of The Guy/Girl Who Posts 12 Times Daily, about 20% of those posts are worth reading. Granted, even 20% of 12 each day still more than The Guy/Girl Who Posts One or Two Nuggets Per Month, but which posts are staying with me later? which ones am I remembering?

The ones from The Guy/Girl Who Posts One or Two Nuggets Per Month.

Isn’t that interesting?

And I find myself really excited when I see something new from Nugget Guy/Girl in my reader, whereas when I see stuff from 12-Posts-A-Day Guy/Girl, I kinda find myself groaning about how I’m going to have to sift through all the post titles to find what’s actually valuable. And even being worth reading is not the same as lingering in my mind and causing reflection.

I’m still thinking about how and why this all is, and may post a follow-up at a later date… just thought I’d record my thoughts while I had them.

What do you think? Do you, like me, seem to prefer reading Nugget Guy/Girl over 12-Posts-A-Day? Or is it not possible to generalize? What makes specific posts in your reader stand out?

Striped Bachelor by Matti Mattila

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 7 December, 2009  Posted by at 3:18 am Professional Development, Writing Tagged with: , , ,  2 Responses »
May 072008

So, I’ve been reading a few things about blogging. And I’ve been reading a few things about writing. And I’ve been reading a few things about both blogging and writing, and I’m starting to think I’m missing something. Or need clarification, at the very least.

I’m going to keep this philosophical, much like my assessment post a while back.

First, a question:

If (text-based)1 blogging is a kind of writing, then aren’t all bloggers writers?

And now, the statements:

  1. I (foolishly, perhaps) believe that all my students can become good writers2 of some kind.
  2. I therefore believe that all my students should try their hand at blogging, just as I believe all my students should try writing poetry, maybe a short story, a personal narrative, an e-mail, and oodles of other writing types.
  3. I do not believe a great writing teacher needs to be a great writer; he / she simply needs to “know the ropes” and be great teacher, period.
  4. I therefore believe a great blogging teacher does not need to be a “master blogger”, but that he / she just needs to know how it works, and be a great teacher, period.

And finally, more questions:

  • Those of you out there who use blogs with your students, how do you use them?
  • Do you assess them? If so, how?
  • And if you don’t use blogs with your students, why not?

The background

I am changing (quite drastically) the way I use blogs with my students for the remainder of this school year, and next. And so, I’m looking for ideas and anecdotal feedback… errr.. feed-forward… from those who have walked this path before me. :)

1Of course, the visual-types of blogs aren’t really writing, but a different kind of communication

2I define the term “good writer” as one who creates “good writing.” And for the definition of “good writing,” I turn to one of my most influential mentors in both teaching and writing, Carl Leggo, who once stated, “Good writing gets the job done. It works.” I should also note that I have different definitions of “great writing” and other comparative terms.

Photo credits: You can almost see the grass grow by aussiegall; How to Grow a Blog by teachandlearn (licensed under CC 2.0 Generic)

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 7 May, 2008  Posted by at 10:44 pm Assessment, Education Philosophy, Writing Tagged with: , , , , ,  7 Responses »