Saturday, October 18, 2008
Reflective Practice - blogging and learning
Michele Martin has a series of posts on reflective practice relevant to blogging for learning. In her latest Web2.0Wednesday assignment, she asks us to share our favourite blogging for learning activity.
My activity is all about what I’ve been researching for the last 5 months since I started blogging. It’s really a series of activities rather than just one pursuit.
This all began with Michele Martin. Her May post invited people to participate in The Comment Challenge and got me into blogging. In all fairness to this particular Web2.0Wednesday assignment, the whole series of activities in The Comment Challenge was really based on reflective learning.
I joined The Challenge because I wanted to learn about blogging. In New Zealand, the acme of male achievement is to attain the legendary certificate of a good bloke. My goal became to achieve the imaginary certificate of a good blogger.
I use a simplified action research technique. It involves a cycle of actions by which alterations can be made to improve practice.
Action research uses an action cycle similar to this:
The cycle can be thought of as beginning with reflection.
This phase relies on recorded data and evidence gathered from experiences.
I assess recorded data and think about what it means in terms of my aims and objectives. I often ask the question: “Does this data show that I am moving along the ‘improvement’ pathway?" The answer isn’t always ‘yes’.
In this phase I don’t need to be sitting at a computer. I can reflect on things travelling on a bus going to work.
The planning phase is usually based on the reflective phase. It is the phase where decisions are made – the let's-try-this phase. It is based on what transpired in the reflective phase while examining available gathered results and reviewing those.
I have to be creative in this phase, the how-the-hell-can-I-do-this stage. It is the phase where I may have to change old methods, or look for new ones.
In this phase, I may have to seek help or advice from others, or do a bit of finding out from the Net - web pages, web data, or other blog posts.
Here I put into action the plan that fell out after the reflective phase. This is the phase where I build, and attempt to put into action the ideas that I’d given time and thought to. Friends may have helped me with those or recommended that I try new things.
It is the ‘doing’ phase. It is the phase where plans are rolled out and methods are implemented. New tools and techniques are tried. Mistakes are made or acted on.
This phase takes place all the time, but mainly during and following the action phase. A number of tools and techniques are brought into play.
I call upon expert bloggers during this process by emailing them or from feedback in comments. There are many blogging experts who help me, either directly or from posts on their blogs. Many of them are in my commentsphere.
What is gathered is recorded in a log or diary. To a large extent, the blog becomes an extremely important diary in itself. But it is not exclusively what I keep as records. I also keep notes that I refer to in the reflective phase.
I use a number of Web2.0 tools, such as Google Analytics, that provide data about my blog. Recently, I’ve been monitoring text in posts using the Flesch Reading Ease.
No cycle is exclusive:
I have several cycles operating at once. None are mutually exclusive. From time to time the outcomes of one series of cycles could well affect what I do in others.