Sue Waters, a friend who has always stepped up and helped me out with just about every request I have ever made to my PLN, sent me an email a couple nights ago. In it she said:

I’ve been asked by some 4th year preservice students to put together a video on the value of blogging. They had wanted me to answer the questions but I decided that it would be considerably better to get videos from people around the World sharing their thoughts — that way we get more ideas.

If you are able to video yourself answering some or all of these questions that would be excellent.
What are some of the benefits of blogging?
How have you used blogging with your students and how has it helped them?
How do the students feel about blogging?
What are some tips for educators new to blogging? (with using them with their students)

So here is the response she got from me, a Canadian living in China:

This was the first time that I used Camtasia, compliments of Techsmith and Alan November teaming up and providing it to all of the BLC09 presenters. It is a great tool that is easy to use with all the features that a Mac lover like myself would expect. The transitions are a little choppy, but I basically sliced and diced up a Powerpoint presentation, ‘This my blog has taught me“, and then recorded my screen as I spoke. The whole process took just over a couple hours and it was a lot of fun to be doing a project like this again, after creating my POD’s are Coming presentation this summer.

I noticed as I watched this and listened to myself that the idea of a blog being a ‘learning space’ came up both when talking about my own blog and when I spoke of the classroom and what technology could do to expand the classroom space. I think that our idea of where learning happens has made a fundamental shift from book knowledge of the last century to anywhere/anytime information access of today. It is exciting to see classrooms make this shift too. Last night I commented on a blog post by a student of Clarence Fisher‘s, in Snow Lake Manitoba, Canada. In a way you could say that I visited Clarance’s class. We live in an amazingly connected world and I love that sharing and learning has become so global.

I’d love to see others share their blogging story, and if you do, share them with me and Sue too!

(Youtube version)

Credits: I mention Alec Couros’  ‘Thinning Walls’ in the video and I use the following images which I credited, but not very clearly:

Head Inside: Brain Wash by ArtWerk / Yanko on flickr
we need more of it. By wei never sleeps / Wei on flickr
The World through your eyes By The eclectic Oneironaut / Rubén Pérez on flickr

18 comments on “Blogs as Learning Spaces

  1. This really is an excellent video from both the technical quality and content. You should be really proud and as always I’m extremely grateful.

    You have me thinking — love how you talk about it in terms of your learning space which sounds better then your PLN or your PLE. Wondering if others have used ‘learning space’ before?

  2. How am I going to use blogging in my learning? Well, I’m convinced now that I should figure out how and what to do to make one. As a writer, I’ve shared with you my “print snobbery”. It is shrinking, but I don’t think it will every completely die. Forgive me for this. I just have so much respect for the editorial process. Have a piece of mine in print is just so affirming. (Probably a big part of it is ego, but there it is…)

    But I see now how completely a writer’s process can be enriched by sharing and learning from others in this environment. As I write this response, I’m seeing how much my drive for print is ego-motivated, and it causes me to ask, “What do I really want my words to achieve?” If I dig through all the ego junk and get to the heart of my desire to write, it is that I may share something that will touch others, and will reflect to them their own nobility.

    And this is from an online editor, would you believe…?!

  3. David, this is awesome! And I came across it just as I was preparing a workshop for preservice teachers. I also agree with Sue about your use of the term ‘learning space’. Even though your thoughts may become a part of a larger conversation – it is your personal learning space where you shape your ideas.

  4. Sue,
    Thanks so much for requesting that I do a short video. In a way I guess you could qualify what I discuss as a PLE, but I do like to define it as ‘my personal learning space‘. I’m not trying to change the use of any terms, just trying to make meaning for myself.

    I remember when excerpts from this post were published in a textbook about ‘Heroes and Idols’. I had such a sense of accomplishment for being ‘published’, although I’d already been ‘published’ on my blog for almost 3 years at the time. I shared my pride in being paper-published on Twitter where one of my wise friends said, “…But your words have always been published, so what if now it is on paper?”
    That kind of burst my ‘paper = published’ view. The fact is that I’ve had no feedback what-so-ever on my paper article, but I get feedback, questions, and interaction with my readers here. My articles stay ‘alive’ on my blog with google often pointing the way to articles that I wrote many moons ago.
    But I still love that my article was chosen for print in a textbook and I love that students who would never go to my blog get to read my work. I still love print, (even if most books that I read now are not in digital format).
    At BLC08 Keynote speaker John Davitt asked and answered this question about digital vs the print world: “Which world do I want to live in? Well, the answer is both!”
    So, it isn’t an either/or thing, just a new place for you to share your writing, and I for one will enjoy reading your blog when you get it started.

    Glad you can use some of what I shared here, this affirms what I just said to Amalia… I hope your workshop goes well and I’m glad I could help in a small way!

  5. This is a great video that has me inspired to think how I can use blogging with my students, perhaps for our Economics case study of China and in my Society & Culture class. I need to think further.

    As a teacher, it is becoming increasingly hard to determine where lines should be drawn to distinguish the reliability, usability and validity of web sources, including blogs.

    As a writer I have a desire to be paid and recognised for writing. Will blogging lead me there or take me away from it?

  6. Hi David,

    Very helpful to hear your thoughts on blogging and learning. The fire never dies. The most powerful comment for me was when you spoke about why you decided to ask your students to blog. “I found such value in it that I figured that students would get a value from blogging as well.” Your passion for learning through writing on your blog shared with students. I can't help but think the experience ignited something important in your students.

    Thanks for sharing this.


  7. Hey there.

    Thanks a lot for posting that comment on my blog. It's kinda nice to know that people do actually read it once in a while. I thought that the above post was very true. I love blogging, but I only really found out about it after my first of two years in Mr. Fishers class. People need the chance to find out about different things when they are still young. If they don't, they won't have any motivation to do anything about it when they are old and grumpy.

    -Thanks for listening

  8. Dave – it’s funny, I thought about creating my last blog post as a video but decided not to using the excuse that the topic didn’t fit a video very well… I think I just haven’t been able to take the video leap yet. Thanks for sharing this – I think it may help me take that next step and mix video with writing to enrich my next blog post, whatever the topic might be.
    x-posted to

  9. I don’t have a blog yet, and until this post and especially video I didn’t thought that the blog can be an useful tool to teach and learn, but now I am full of ideas how to create my own blog and share my ideas and thoughts about teaching and learning.

  10. Thanks very much for sharing you’re experience, I think it’s awesome how you manage to create a blog as a learning space without walls. Now a days we are working with children that they don’t know how is to live without google, without being connected to information. It is so important to create a learning space were they can get or connect every time they want (not only in class).

    I feel so late at this learning space progress, because this article is from 2009 and I just read it know (2016) and I find it amazing! You open my mind with you’re video. Sometimes I thought that blogs were only for teachers for inspiring or taking ideas, and I was so wrong! We can really develop a project with you’re students and not only inquiring for information, collaborating with each other.

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