Just realised that today marks the anniversary of my first blog post, and I was reflecting on the changes it has made to my life in that time. The original motivation for starting the blog was to take myself through the process of setting it up and go through the various stages of development, so that in turn I could take others through the process and prove that the technical bits were just challenges to be overcome rather than insurmountable barriers ( I was already convinced that here at last was a tool to put learning, and writing in particular, in the hands of the learner). I have to say in that respect it has been fun – if at times very frustrating – and I am learning a new language as I go – the language of posts and inserts, tags and categories, uploading and embedding, not to mention wikis, wordles and widgets.
In terms of developing literacy skills, there is no doubt in my mind that creating blogs and wikis in the classroom, and making full use of Web 2.0 technology, most of which is free and far less technical than many teachers imagine, is the way forward for learners and teachers, allowing them to make links within the school and out to the wider world. What better motivation to write creatively and accurately than to know that your peers, the most critical audience of all, are reading, watching and commenting on what you produce! What better motivation to write than to know that what you are writing isn’t only being read by one critical adult, and it isn’t coming back with a grade on it? As someone somewhere once said, the best motivation is self-motivation. Incidentally, if you want to see how blogs can be used in the classroom, have a look at this one from Australia, or this one from Perth Academy in Scotland.
Recently, signing up to Twitter and developing an expanding network of friends and colleagues with common interests, I have added a new dimension to my social networking and opened up a whole other world of possibilities, enlisting in what Mike Coulter has referred to as “an army of researchers”. I’d like to thank all of them for getting me this far, especially those listed in my Blogroll (and who would have thought I’d ever say that a year ago!). Look forward to talking, sharing and working with you for a long time to come.