Walking Stick Blogger

A Learning Space for Literacy and English Language Learners

Reflections on Practice: Commenting

One important rule of thumb we can pass on to other edubloggers is to comment to others’ posts with ideas you are comfortable with as-is, without the option of them being edited or deleted in future. Emotionally charged content, rants, and drafts should be posted in one’s own blogs, with links to the posts that inspired you.

That is what this post is about – a rant about perceptions of what edublogging is about. Most educators think grafting current perspectives of teaching into edublogging is innovative. It is not.

Commenting on comments like we are doing here makes it like a forum – far too limiting. But if we all brought our ideas back to our individual blogs, we would all have full control over how we present our ideas, to whom, and have choices in future over editing and deletion.

The nuts and bolts of edublogging is being worked out in living text right now. This conversation is an example of the transformative processes we as learners are undergoing using edublogging.

This event for me has triggered critical self-reflection. For me, I think that the issue of ownership and control of what we say, and working concurrently within a number of “spheres of concern” (private, student circle, university community, academic learning community, and so on) poses a number of issues that change our perspective of who we are and how we could/should give voice to our thoughts.

It is interesting that we all tend to be very self-critical as writers, and oscillate between holding back, and then we ease our censor, and start writing ideas we could get heat for. This really makes me ambivalent about posting, really cautious, about opening myself to scrutiny. 

My instructor has encouraged me to post to more public academic blogs, and I have begun to take these steps.

Up till now, edublogging is either/or: either a closed system of personal/group blogs with no access to the public sphere, or a public blog meant for as broad an audience as possible. Case study after case study have referred to the first scenario, always forcing learners to post, always restricting the edublogging activities within a sandbox, always highly directive and structured, always within a context of the instructor evaluating and directing and coaxing learners’ blogging activities, and always requiring learners to work in a vacuum, posting and commenting on others ideas without guarantees of instructor or peer guidance nor feedback. Yuck! Who in their right mind would volunteer to participate in such blogging as a learning activity? I most certainly would not choose to. But this is probably what is considered edublogging by most educators today.

I never considered the consequences of taking my peers’ comments initially reserved for myself and the peer group out into the public as well. It has been a humbling learning experience. I now know that it should have been my responsibility to seek permissions first, warn these learners in advance, and allow them to either delete or edit their comments before the content went public.

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netizenship • July 7, 2009

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