Summer A has concluded, but it is simply the start of things to come for the GRS crew. That’s pretty intimidating considering the work that was put in these last 6 weeks. Even so, it would be really disappointing if there was no challenge, or no struggling involved with our learning. For me, appreciating “how far I’ve come” is dependent on the difficulty of getting there. That stated, it would have been nice to have a break longer than a weekend.
To get on task, this is the final blog entry where a course and blogging reflection will commence! I contemplated dividing this post with subheadings, one for a blog reflection and another for a course reflection. I determined that my blog entries attempted to connect to ideas and discussions during class, so I decided against that plan. Also, I am very tired and look forward to a well deserved nap after publishing this piece, so I will act very uncharacteristically and proceed to ramble with the hope that something sticks.
A major takeaway from EDU487 was the use of prompts. A well worded prompt can initiate a train of thought that can last for days. Bring it to a group and they can discuss for hours. I look forward to crafting a great prompt to provide our learners during summer camp. Luckily for me, there have been many examples of prompts used throughout EDU487. “DO NOWS!!!!!” for instance. Another was the introducing of blogging, a powerful and useful literacy practice.
Blogging has been a means for me to integrate information from readings with aspects of myself, just like it was for Ms. Frizzle, and I imagine most people with a blog (Luehmann, 2008). I found that, with a huge amount of creativity, you can find threads linking the most concepts (Pokemon and speciation). That also requires a strong understanding of literacy practices to determine how concepts are similar, where they differ, and to what degree.
Using personal elements in my blog helps me stay invested in the practice, where as if I was confined to which topics I examined, there would be an issue. In a situation like this, blogging would turn into just another assignment, rather than something I did because I took pleasure from it. Ms. Frizzle wrote about her frustrations with her district, displaying her feelings, thoughts and enforcing her will by voicing her opinion (Luehmann, 2008). In this regard, blogging gave her agency. While there are certain expectations involved in blogging in EDU487, there is enough agency provided that I felt respected as a learner. While discovering the level of freedom I should provide to my future students will be difficult, it will be worth it to show them the respect their due.
The aspect of blogging that I am most excited to see is the metacognitive. How will I see modeling 6 months from now? How will my understanding of scientific literacy be revised? Will I still play Pokemon? These are all questions that can be answered through keeping a record of my thinking, in other words these blogs. We can assess: our own personal growth in this way, the performance of instruction in challenging thinking, and our instructors can assess our thinking to revise their practice. We in turn can think about placing the literary practice of blogging in our instruction.
Unlike Ms. Frizzle, I do not have a large community reading my posts (Luehmann, 2008). Instead, I have an exceptional cohort and supportive instructors, which are an infinitely better community (feel lucky if you are ever told, “YOU’RE IN!!!!”). Blogging as part of a wider community means that you have a way to share your thinking and read the thoughts of others. Arguments can erupt and thinking can be challenged. Having a community also means not feeling alone and knowing that others are there to support you when you are down. I believe that creating a community of learners and supplying a culture relevant to that is paramount as a teacher. Blogging has been a good model to base that practice around.
Writing this reflection post was a fairly easy task because of one prompt given to the class yesterday by Sean, Mike, and Jo (“List one thing from April’s article that you found interesting”). Through the practice of “idea theft” in discussion that followed, I was able to incorporate the great ideas that my wonderful cohort provided into this post. I would like to thank you, all those involved in EDU 487, for an enlightening and enjoyable experience!
I leave you with this video, which will conclude this post with an idea that I presented in the beginning. I hope you take some meaning out of it.
Luehmann, A.L. (2008). Using blogging in support of teacher professional identity development: A case study. The Journal of the Learning Sciences, 17, 287-337.