At first, I did not have a clear purpose for blogging. Since I am a school technologist, I thought a series tech tips, (see Richard Byrne's or Alice Keeler's excellent examples) could support blended professional development at my school. However, I wanted a mechanism for documenting and reflecting upon my progress towards professional learning goals. My interests became focused on potentiating teaching and learning. This is what I wanted to learn about, and write about.
In 2013, I participated in Dr. Helen Barrett's ISTE session, "Digital Portfolios for Professional Development." The objective of this hands-on, full-day workshop was to create the framework for a web-based digital portfolio. While the rest of the class built a Google Site, I stuck to my guns with Blogger. A short time later, I attended George Couros's, "Blogging as Portfolio" workshop. He validated my thinking by sharing several examples of educators' blogs purpose-built as digital portfolios. Sue Waters and Silvia Tolisano have also provided excellent models of education blogs that model transparent documenting of learning.
It took about a year for me to develop a blogging purpose and style that felt comfortable for me. Like others, I mistakenly went through a phase where my primary concern was on my blog's analytics; how many comments and page views, what's my Teach 100 ranking? I have been influenced by the work of Will Richardson, Audrey Watters, and Jackie Gerstein. I am becoming better connected, and better educated. I purchased a domain name and "Nocking the Arrow" became firmly entrenched as my digital learning space and social media hub, my blogfolio is documented evidence that blogging is making me a better learner.
In addition to this blog, I've contributed thoughts and information posted on Fractus Learning, AmplifiEducation, and Schoology Exchange. These writing opportunities spurred me to dive deeper into research, apply appropriate citation, and improve my writing mechanics with more thorough proof-reading. Reading a variety of blogs has helped me improve the layout and functionality of my blog. Readers are easily able to navigate, search, comment, and share. The power of professional portfolios; it's enjoyable and interesting for me to see how my writing and blogging have developed the past five years.
Blogging has advanced my professional learning like no other activity. The fact that others can learn from my musings is a bonus. I subscribe to more than one hundred blogs, and I read at least a dozen posts each day. I make an effort to comment on at least one blog per day. I have learned so much from bloggers, call it reciprocal, professional courtesy to share what I am learning. I have aspirations of writing books, blogging is part of my focused 10,000 hours of practice that Malcolm Gladwell speaks of.
This post is also killing two birds with one stone. AJ Juliani has initiated a 30 Days of Blogging Challenge, and Ronnie Burt has created an EduBlogs Club. Both of these initiatives are helping me kick start my writing for 2017, sparking ideas for topics, creating opportunities for collaboration, and sharing learning journeys. If you are considering blogging in support of professional learning, expanding and supporting your PLN, or just want to scratch your documentarian itch, these programs provide an engaging, supportive pathway. I started blogging with the hope of initiating some sort of revolutionary change in education. What I've learned is blogging is much more satisfying when I just write for myself.
What is your blog story? Do you have questions about blogging? Do you have suggestions for improving this site? Your comments are welcome and appreciated.
Thank you for reading and sharing - take care.
Related Reading and References
"Why I Blog (And How You Can Too)." The Edublogger. 24 Sept. 2015.
"30 Days of Blogging Challenge (are You In?)." A.J. JULIANI. 02 Jan. 2017.
"#EdublogsClub 1: My Blog Story." The Edublogger. 03 Jan. 2017.
"My Secret Art of Blogging." Aaron Davis. 10 November 2016.
Photo credit (1) Ronnie Burt - "My Blog Story"