There are many, in fact countless, articles and posts trumpeting the educational benefits of blogging. I have written a half-dozen of them myself. But are there compelling reasons why all learners should consider writing blogs? I offer you these three compelling reasons why all learners should be blogging; becoming well-googled, telling your story, and sharing your passions.
- Compelling reason #1 - become "Well-Googled", a phrase popularized through the writing of Will Richardson and frequently used to describe the process of building a positive digital footprint. I typically ask the participants in my social media workshops to "Google" themselves and each other, and then report back through a class discussion board. Go ahead and give this a try now if you would like. What did you discover? If you're like most folks, you likely found information that surprised, and maybe even left you feeling vulnerable, or that your privacy is threatened. People can spend their time trying to keep their digital tracks under wraps. This is often frustrating and futile as more of our public records, and personal information moves to the cloud. On the other hand, people could expend their energies creating and nurturing a positive digital footprint. A blog is easily created, and can be an effective centerpiece for your digital presence. Reflections, stories, learning experiences, and tutorials become digital artifacts that create and expand your positive digital footprint. One point of becoming well-Googled is to create digital tracks that overwhelm either the less significant, or less desirable, messages that are found when searching your name. The days of the paper resume are disappearing quickly. Recruiters are looking for web-based evidence of accomplishment and learning.
- Compelling reason #2 - telling your story. Where is the box that contains the story of who you are and how you are living your life? Is your life archived in under-bed boxes, scraps stuck to the refrigerator, or plastic bins stored in the basement? As more aspects of our lives become digitized, what will become of our story, and our stuff? Once again, blogging offers a simple, sustainable, solution. A blog can provide a digital archive that can contain stories, pictures, videos, and life mementos. These are arranged chronologically, and can be tagged for easy searching. Additionally, blogs offer opportunities for collaboration and two-way communication in the form of comments. Some posts may be treated as archives, while others become living digital documents that change and grow with the owner. In the words of Dr. Helen Barrett, "We collect what we value." A digital portfolio built on a blogging platform provides an excellent method for displaying and sharing our digital collections, and our stories.
- Compelling reason #3 - feeding and sharing your passions. Genius Hour, 20% Time, Pirate Time, call it what you will, we all have interests that feed our curiosity and drive our need to learn and grow. You may hear some students say that they hate school, or they hate their teacher, but have you ever heard a student say that they hate learning? The answer is no, because this would be an indictment of his self, or her self, and an indictment on the intrinsic desire to improve. A blog not only can provide evidence of learning, it can also provide a digital stage to share what we are most passionate about. For students and teachers, a blog provides the opportunity for relevance and authenticity, not only with their work, but with their audience. Many educators are finding value in sharing the challenges and successes from their classrooms. Growth occurs through reflective practice. Once again, a blog provides a platform to document and share what is important to us. This terrific post from Catlin Tucker provides a thorough explanation of how blogging can support 20% Learning Time.
If you have a blog, what are your compelling reasons for blogging? What advice do you have for others who are thinking about getting started with blogging? Feel free to share your blog in the comments area of this post. Thank you for your time and attention.