So, I didn’t get caught up and am still a week behind in my 10 Weeks of Activities for Better Blogging (which is okay since I notice that Rob and Jonathan haven’t posted the Week 6 activities yet anyway). I am going to split my Week 5 Activity, which is entitled “ Getting Ideas for Blogging, into two entries: the first I will just talk about my process and the second I will actually take the time to write one of those original entries.
The task begins with a simply question:
Where do people get their ideas for blogging?
Given that my blog is a bit different I kind of have two answers to that question. I say that my blog is a bit different because much – in fact most – of what I post are items that are simply copied and pasted. Recently that has meant copied and pasted from my e-mail’s inbox. I subscribe to a lot of listserves managed by K-12 online learning programs and organizations, as well as a lot of research-based organizations. Any of these that include content related to K-12 distance education I simply copy and paste into entries that get released at pre-determined times (usually to ensure that the content flows consistently throughout the day). As such, there can be days where there are as many as 8-10 entries (like much of the last week of August) and other days where there are hardly any entries (like today where there are non that would fall into this category).
When I have time, I also try to explore other resources for copy and paste entries. This often means Facebook or Twitter, or just my own web browser. In Facebook, I am friends with many colleagues who are involved in K-12 distance education and I like a whole whack of pages that are managed by K-12 online learning programs (and as I find more I simply add them). In Twitter I maintain a list of some ~200 K-12 online learning folks (which isn’t as near as comprehensive as it used to be, as last year Twitter somehow deleted all of my lists – as that list had well over 300 folks on it before it got deleted).
In terms of original entries, they are often based on either research or ideology – often both. Unfortunately, the K-12 online learning movement in the United States – as well as many of the organizations that represent this field (including, I’d argue, the one that is sponsoring this 10 week program) – have gotten caught up in a neo-liberal agenda to reform education. Being from the more progressive camp myself, I find that from time to time I need to draft an entry that responds to something I see as blatantly ideological (and even political). I try to focus these entries on what we know based on the research, as well as to expose the hypocrisy often exhibited by the neo-liberal argument.
The other type of original entries that I write tend to be research focused. These will take one of three forms. The first will be to comment on some news item through the lens of what is known from the existing research. The second would be to report on the research that is being produced. The third would be to draft entries on my own research.
There is a third type of entry, which is kind of a combination of the copy and paste entries and the original entries. From time to time, as conferences or other events approach I will often post entries that highlight some aspect related to K-12 distance education about that entry. For example, for most of the academic and practitioner conferences I attend I post the list of K-12 distance education sessions that I have been able to locate in the program. For events that are solely focused on K-12 distance education I try to highlight the research sessions or the Canadian sessions (if it is an international event).
So that’s how I get my material. I’m going to try and post one of those original entries tomorrow and figure out a way to both post the entry and dissect it through the lens of the Week 5 Activity as well tomorrow or Wednesday. Then hopefully Jonathan and Rob will get the Week 6 activity up so I can get caught up.