How can we use blogs as fertile fields for ideation?
I do believe that my thinking helps to push that of others. Sometimes in the way they agree, and sometimes when people disagree. Opinions and ideas are often formed in what people read and how they connect to it.- George Couros
I’ve been blogging for almost seven years now. I’ve abandoned blogs, started fresh in new spaces, and devoutly followed in the steps of other bloggers. If you are looking for reasons why students should blog, click here. If you want to be convinced that you the educator should be blogging, click here or here. This post will focus on the applications for blogging once you’ve started. This post might help you revamp your blog, or it might provide you with a few new approaches to learning in the great wide open. Before we sample that menu, I’d invite you to listen to what some of my former students and colleagues had to say about blogging (just 5 months into the process):
You have all the innovation you need right there in your room” John Spencer (full video here)
1. Map out your menu
Be sure to include options for a wide variety of thinkers. Here is a sample menu for an English class:
2. Be adaptable:
Remember that we are teaching learners how to engage with a hyper-connected world (more on that here).
Remember that posts are containers. Sometimes my posts contain podcasts. Sometimes they curate tweets. Veer off script, test, trial, experiment.
3. Start and continue conversations:
Connected learning is about linking ideas, and seeing our community as one that values bridges. A good post will connect us back to learning as well as connect us forward to applications, inquiry, or others. Posts will formulate questions, and invite more learning in.
Here’s a sample comment a 9th grade student left on a 10th grade student’s blogpost:
4. Embrace the chaos:
“Failure counts as done. So do mistakes,” says The Done Manifesto. Posts can be lists of questions, a curation of post it notes, or a single image looking for someone to ‘see, think, wonderfy’ it. “Human beings are collectors,” says Austin Kleon in this talk, “…an artist’s job is to collect things.” Use the blog as a means to preserve ideas, half-formed, partially-formed, fully formed. As I type, I’m doing just that. This post is an example of imperfection. When I click ‘publish,’ I will share it with my PLN on Twitter and ask for help.
5. Commenting is an art:
If we learn to see ourselves all as ‘idea coaches,’ and to remember that each comment left on a post is an opportunity to encourage, support, or tease thinking out, we need to make the time to learn how to go about commenting a little bit better. The art of commenting is every bit as important as the art of blogging. Have a look at this comment left by a 9th grader on this post:
While you may want to develop your own commenting protocols (here’s mine), a good simple guide is to have students think over these ‘thinking moves,’ as a provocation for commenting.
Thinking Moves for Blog commenting – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires;
Has this post planted a seed in your idea garden?
If you’d like to chat more with a DLC about blogging, just ask.