About Me

Education, the knowledge society, the global market all connected through technology and cross-cultural communication skills are I am all about. I hope through this blog to both guide others and travel myself across disciplines, borders, theories, languages, and cultures in order to create connections to knowledge around the world. I teach at the University level in the areas of Business, Language, Communication, and Technology.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

What I learned this year blogging

In response to the Big Question for this month, I followed directions, reviewed my posts, and reflected on what I learned.

First of all, I really like my writing style (which is good because I wrote it). Sometimes, as I reread the post, I realized that it was really well-written! (Enough of self promotion). I feel that the best posts, however, were the result of other bloggers pushing me to reflect on and write about an issue I had not thought was really important. Ken Allen, Michele Martin, and Christine Martell especially, asked some questions and entered into dialog that really made me think.

So what did I learn?

About Blogging:
  • Comment on others blogs, but when the comment is more than 2 paragraphs, write a post and link it.
  • You can vary your voice and tone.
  • Tag so you can find links when writing about the same subject in subsequent posts. I can't tell you how many times I had to go searching for a post I was SURE I had written, but had not done a good job of tagging
About Research:

I have been submersed in Academic Research for the last 5 years. This year, through some simple questions from Michele and Ken, (can you give us an example or tell us what you saw in your class), I reconnected with the importance of "quick and dirty" observation and analysis.

In academic writing, you look to the literature to give you theories. Then you set up your research in a well planned systematic way, analyze the data, and then go back to the literature to explain your findings. While this has its place, I feel it also makes academic research (and even corporate market research) outdated. After looking at my posts on the use of wikis in my classroom (Group Communication and Wikis , Lessons learned about wiki use), the lessons learned from my New Communication Technologies in Organizational Life course, and even my observations on my own children's use of facebook, ipods, and cellphones has allowed me to begin to create an emerging portrait of the new knowledge worker and the type of training he or she will need to be successful for the 21st Century workplace. This has taught me that I can begin with my observations in realife circumstances and still come away with some valuable information that would be helpful to others. I wonder if this is a new direction for academic research (and a new battleground in academia as it does not fit the model of "academic rigor").

About technology:

More and more as I write about the Web 2.0, I find that there is less need to know the tool and more importance should be placed on the affordances. It seems that many of the postings came down to what technology could allow us to do rather than the tool itself.

I find that I am also moving away from blogging sites that list tools, and concentrating more on sites that discuss HOW to USE the tool and the impact it will have on instructional design and student learning. Don't get me wrong, I still refer to Jane's E-learning Pick of the Day and Cool Cat Teacher on a regular basis. But I go to these sites when I know what I am looking for, usually a specific tool use. I wonder if this is the natural progression of Web 2.0 users? Do we start with the tools, then see the potential after using the tools, then look for new ways to use the tools and look for advice on more design or instructional uses?

Comments and reader interaction:

I have learned to be content with the few people that comment on my blog. I value them highly. I also like the new google option that identifies followers as it allows me an opportunity to get to them on their blogs. While I think I work best with comments, I took a page from Michael Hanley's blog where he commented that as long as he can see through the viewer stats that people are reading his blog, he is satisfied. He recognizes (as do I) that his posts tend to have a lot of information. As long as he has the feeling that this is helpful to readers, he won't worry about comments. I have adopted this philosophy as well (although I do like people to comment as it takes the guess work out of what your thoughts are). I hope that I am inviting enough for people not to be intimedated to post questions, comments, and even disagree with me. I learn so much from those disagreements (as long as they are civil).

I learned the most in an interaction with Ewa. Her comments have really inspired me to look at alternative ways to assess learning in the workplace.

5 comments:

Michele said...

Virginia, I'm glad that you've shared so many of your real-life experiences and observations from the classroom. To me that's a very rich source of learning, a form of experimentation that's very necessary at this stage. I hope it's something that you continue to do in 2009!

Anne Marie said...

Hello again Virginia

I've been thinking a lot about the differences between the two kinds of research you describe. I've been wondering about registering for a PhD but wonder how I would cope.... I think I could follow your example:)

I hope to read more from you about this. I wonder if others feel this tension.

PS Generally great post:)

V Yonkers said...

Michelle, yes, it has been useful for me to go back to that part of my work. I have always been a researcher and analyst at heart. I strongly believe in a person's gut instinct, followed up with a more formal search. Unfortunately, academia does not always allow you to do that or give an instructor credit for the "gut".

Anne Marie, Janet Clarey and Karyn Romeis have also integrated their struggles of work, family, and advanced degrees on their blog. I am lucky that I live in an area with many universities where I could find a program that would let me do what I wanted. Unfortunately, this also means that to find a full time job teaching in higher ed, you need those three little letters behind your name!

Blogger In Middle-earth said...

Kia ora Virginia!

It's been great to share our experiences across the globe! We must make a resolution to keep this up in 2009, as Michele suggests (thanks Michele!)

The wonderful thing for me is, though we don't always agree, me you and Michele, that we can have a lot of fun discussing and sharing our opinions - AND HOW RICH IS THAT!

Haere rā
from Middle-earth

V Yonkers said...

I agree Ken. I have both your blog and Michele's on my igoogle next to my e-mail, so it is convenient for me to see what you are blogging about.

One thing I like about both your blog and Michele's is that you blog about a wide variety of topics, some of which I would never have thought of but really interest me (like the one on the new nano-chip).