to blog, to quad, perchance to deeply learn…

I’ve overspent my time allocation today already and am now getting anxious about my mind being away from my day job as I try and persuade myself that what I do here is all helpful to that, but stop I must – in just a moment, after I’ve had a brief meditation on what’s been going on!

there’s been some discussion today on the course FB page about quadblogging and why we want to give it a go, and how – and terrific contributions to the collective think aloud / write it down…. what I’m wanting to reflect on here now though, in my own blog space rather than the shared FB page, is what I’m learning and what I’m finding it difficult to learn.

I’ve already gleaned a plethora of new edtech tools – more than I can possibly keep up with the documentation of let alone the experimentation with – helpfully, Eric started an edtech Google doc so we can collectively keep the record straightish! (do we give daily thanks for the mighty hyper-link? don’t you just LOVE them?!)

but anyway, all of my explorations and comments in FB and G+ and twitter and whatever the hell else is going on has created problems as it solves others (such is life) in that while I do want to know what the different functions of the various platforms and tool types might be, I also find it extremely irritating when you can’t just find a quick answer to a simple question – like can I (or why can’t I) send a tweet to a list rather than to the entire universe? I am amazed at how quickly this environment with all its wonderful participants informs me of some things, and how difficult it can be to get information of that nature via Google…

What I seem to have learned today (though I am never quite sure really, because I simply don’t have time to read down beyond the first few items that google has engineered it to appear at the top of list when I search for something, and I am always left with a horrible anxiety that the answer I seek really is there but just beyond my reach or my capacity in the moment to think of an intelligent enough search term, and here I am feeling what it is to be a student in the 21st century… which is exactly what I joined the course in order to experience, so what am I complaining about? I got what I paid for… wait, I didn’t pay anything! well that doesn’t mean I got nothing in this case (though who knows, it may well mean I will later when Mephistopheles comes to call…

anyway, it is a good question that has been being asked the pst couple of days in our social network – what are we blogging FOR? and if we’re going to blog on the quad, what should we be writing ABOUT? and as Chris’ mind map shapes our thinking about this, I find myself putting in my ten cents’ worth about modeling literacy practices and the processes of development because that’s what I really want to blog about myself, but what I also really want to read about in others’ blogs – and that’s because it’s my research interest… and I hope I don’t bore others to death with it! but this is what i want my blog readers to read and comment on from their perspective, so that I can develop how I am writing about the things that matter to me most as an educator.

the day job for me is language education across the institution – academic literacy, English language proficiency, communications – call it what you will, I work in an institution that, like pretty well most universities in the Anglosphere these days, has a high and growing proportion of students coming into the system from backgrounds that have not quite prepared them for it, linguistically and culturally, and in which they will inevitably encounter some pretty big fat obstacles along the way, in expected and unexpected places, that they will struggle to name, let alone overcome without trauma….

And where once upon a time (apparently) people thought it would be a good idea to teach students ‘how to write an essay’ for example (or a report, or a blog for that matter) in some random optional class outside the curriculum, or behind a closed door somewhere down  a dark corridor, the trend now is (thankfully) to at least semi-recognise that it makes a lot more sense to pay attention to how literacy develops in the very contexts and moments in which it most needs to… so that ‘language education’ becomes an institutional approach to curricular and pedagogical development by and for all teaching academics across the disciplines – a matter of task and assessment design, and a matter of appropriate support just in time – ie modeling, discussing, demonstrating, engineering social interaction., and paying attention to the language in play and how repertoire might be expanded along the way in order to enable learners to complete challenging and engaging tasks…

anyway back to work for now – and if anyone can tell me how to tweet to my quad list I’m all ears!


2 comments on “to blog, to quad, perchance to deeply learn…

  1. Emily, I’m glad, too, that the academic essay isn’t the only genre we’re teaching anymore (at least we’ve changed that some at my institution). And that makes me think of why I wanted to quad blog in the first place. I have been blogging awhile to improve my thinking, get my thoughts down in a place that’s easily accessible to myself (or others to get feedback), but I haven’t had a network of folks to read and respond to. I do it with a writing group in my town, but not online with folks I don’t know well but who might be interested in the same things as me–like this course. I’m so glad I read this post. I am feeling overwhelmed, too, but what an incredible resource everyone is turning out to be. I’m impressed and excited to see how we learn, what we learn, and where it all leads. Thanks for this great post.

  2. oh thankyou Elizabeth for reading and commenting (and being so encouraging!) I am very much like you in this respect – have been blogging for a few years, quite a bit for teaching (modeling blogging per se, but also discussing subject material with students in an informal way in an environment richly resourced with language development links) but also privately – I have several private and semi-private blogs, that I use as a way to think on particular topics, to collate and digest the daily detritus – sometimes to offload have a whinge, often to prepare for more formal forms of writing and speaking that my day job requires – and in little bits each day, to write my thesis. But the business of going public is quite another matter – the dog blog [] is the only other public one I’ve tried, and that was written with family and friends in mind who live far away – and who love to read it, but unfortunately don’t comment, because they’re not ‘bloggy’ people! I am really enjoying learning from this course (even before the course has begun!) the far greater potential of these tools than I have so far taken advantage of… I’ve always felt far too embarrassed to ‘put myself out there’ as it were – have a long way to go in terms of feeling comfortable with that, but so far the experience on this course has been wonderful 🙂

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