Well, we’ve reached that point in our semester. That point where we come to write our last blog post. Our previous word count was supposed to be around 400 words, but this one has to be around 1,200 words, so we’ll see how that goes for me. The task was to read through each and every one of our blog posts and analyze the writing. In order to do that, we had a few basic questions to ask ourselves. The questions ranged from what our writings typically were about to what things that we blogged about that we might find worth it to go back and/or continue exploring. For the sake of a complete word count, I’m going to go down the list of questions and answer them with more detail.
The first question was “What do you usually write about in your posts?” I thought that was kind of a “duh” question, considering each week had somewhat of a guideline for what we were supposed to write about. Nevertheless, I can still give an overall coverage of what we wrote about. Each week we had an average of two blog posts to write. One was usually about a topic we were discussing, like PLN’s or ds106. We also read a lot of articles and reviewed and reflected on what we had learned from our reading. Sometimes we had videos to watch, and we reflected on them–what we had learned…what he had agreed with…what we disagreed with…sometimes even what we wanted to know more about relating to the topic. Our other blog topic related to our Independent Learning Project, once that got started that is. These particular posts for me were usually about what I had learned about sign language over the course of the week. Sometimes I shared resources of what I had used to help me. Sometimes I share videos. shared pictures of each individual letter as well as a video review of the whole alphabet…once I made it that far at least! After I got started on my Daily Create challenges, that added another blog post to my list. However, these ones were quite a bit easier considering I had to simply create something and share it. The writing was optional on these ones…unless it was a writing challenge that is.
The next question is “Are there broad themes or specific concerns that reoccur in your writing?”. The one thing I noticed that was recurring in my writing was how amazed I was that we could do pretty much whatever we wanted with our assignments. I just couldn’t get over the fact that I wasn’t being graded on what I was writing necessarily, but more so on the simple fact that I was writing. I can’t be sure, but I think maybe we might also be getting graded on whether or not we are learning. My amazement was due in fact that I had never been given the opportunity to execute a class in this way before—ever. Another theme I noticed was that each and every week, I was learning something new. Usually it was something completely new that I had to Google to figure out what it was before I could do the actual assignment on it. Amazement at the freedom and the amount learned was my biggest takeaway.
Question number three asked “Has the nature of your posts changed in the past 15 weeks?” I would have to say that the answer to that question is no, my posts haven’t changed a whole lot. The direct content of them has obviously changed, but what was behind them was pretty much the same. I did a lot of step-by-step writing. In other words, I looked at what I was supposed to do, what my initial thoughts on the topic was, and then how I went about looking over and learning about the topic. I usually finished it of with what my final thoughts of it all were. So, like I said, the actual words were pretty much the only thing that were different. Sometimes even those were pretty similar.
The next question reads “What changes do you notice, and how might you account for those changes?”. The answer is simple. I notice a heck of a lot more openness to doing things, learning things rather, in a different way. From the time I was in Kindergarten up until now I have been given a strict set of directions on how I was to complete an assignment. Only now, with this class, was I told I had to write a blog post, it had to be about this topic, and I could write pretty much whatever I wanted. We were always given a set of questions to guide our writing if we needed it, but if we felt like writing about something not on the list of questions, that was perfectly okay. I feel like the questions were there as a sort of “In case you get stuck” guide. I usually used them because, let’s face it, old habits die hard. While I loved the freedom, it was really hard at times to just go off writing about a topic without at least one or two questions to help gather my thoughts. So, back to what I noticed has changed, the openness, and what I think caused this change. That answer is pretty simple, too. When given such freedom like we were, it’s pretty hard not to be open. However, I think the openness is less simply explained, too. Sometimes it’s hard to learn about things you have no idea about. Maybe it makes you feel dumb, or maybe you don’t care about it. In my case, it made me feel sheltered. I mean, I hadn’t heard of most of what we talked about, but I was open to learning because it was presented to us in a way that was interesting and fun to learn. The things that I found less interesting were usually shorter articles or videos, so that was helpful because even if I wasn’t necessarily interested in the topic, I was still learning about it.
The next question: “What surprised you as you reread your work?” Quite simply put, I’m so amazed just how much I have learned over the past 16 weeks. I’ve learned a lot not only content wise, but also about myself. I’ve learned that I can learn in a different way than I’ve ever known. I’ve learned that I have what it takes to learn without someone handing me the directions cut and dried. Something that didn’t surprise me, though, was my lack of creativity once I had to do something other than a drawing challenge. It’s not that I couldn’t do it, it’s just that I wasn’t as proud of those ones as I was my drawing ones. Then again, that could be simply because I’m more comfortable drawing. I guess I just have to stick my neck out and gain confidence in the other areas so I like those creates just as much as I like my drawings.
One question on the list was what did I see in my posts that I felt were worth revisiting. I think the PLN’s are a great idea, but I think that’s something every teacher does naturally, at least to some extent. Next on the list was the Daily Creates. I just think it’s such a good idea to just get the creative juices flowing every so often. The best part is that it’s free. Number one most worth revisiting was the sign language I started learning for the Independent Learning Project. It’s just something that could be so useful to me as a future teacher.
The aspect I value most is the freedom. Whether we realize it or not, we are letting our thoughts out. It shows up weekly because normally if someone told me I had to write at least 400 words per week, I would probably cry and complain the whole time I was doing it, but this is different. I usually enjoy my blog posts.
Well, that’s a wrap for my last blog post. I’m proud to say I made my word count with room to spare. More importantly, I would like to take this time to thank Dr. Ellington for making this class so fun but yet so informative.