Tuesday, May 03, 2005

We are being studied...

In the last two days, I received TWO requests to participate in studies of blogging. I agreed to both and completed their surveys. The second group is studying how teachers can use blogs as tools for reflection. Here are my answers to their survey (they will also be reading the blog and "coding" various types of statements).


1. As a K-12 educator, how do you feel about blogging?

I like it. I like writing, I like knowing that someone reads my writing, and I think I have important stories to tell and opinions on the world of education.

2. As an educator, what is the blogging experience like for you?

These questions are ridiculously vague. I'm doing my best here. I often think about my posts during my (long) commute home from work. It's a way for me to decompress from the day, to share my frustrations, thoughts, opinions, ideas, and stories. Everyone in the world has an opinion on education and the state of the public schools, but how many people have been in one recently? And how many people have any idea what urban schools are like? I blog not to provide definitive answers but to give one teacher's insider perspective. As it turns out, I think my blog is useful to new or soon-to-be teachers, who I believe compose a large part of my audience.

3. Based on your experience, what are the benefits of blogging? What are the disadvantages?

Benefits to whom? For me, it's a place to exercise my writing bug, a way of thinking through and recording my experiences. I hope it benefits children by planting ideas in various people's heads about how to improve education esp. in cities. I've been told my writing is helpful to new or aspiring teachers because it gives them a sense of the real issues they will deal with or ideas of how I handle the same issues they are facing. I enjoy being a part of a community of teachers who blog - I get ideas, I share frustrations, I feel connected beyond my school or city.

4. I'm interested in learning more about your personal involvement with blogging. What is it about you---your situation, your attitudes, etc.---that lead you to blog?

I thought blogs would be stupid, before I read any. The idea of someone's personal journal being on-line seemed horrendous - I mean, most people's day-to-day lives aren't, in and of themselves, all that exciting to the general public. And I don't have tons of time, so I didn't think I would really care about political bloggers opinions on everything - I'd honestly rather read straight news. I stumbled upon a few blogs one summer and found that some are very well written and entertaining - and that's when I saw the possibility. Since it was summer, I had a lot of free time, so I experimented with starting my own. My first go at blogging was horrifically boring - I just wrote about movies I'd seen, plays I'd been to, etc. I gave that up quickly. Then I thought, the most interesting stories I have to tell come from my teaching experience, and they have some value, I think, to the world in general. So I started a teaching blog.

5. I've heard a lot of really positive comments about teachers blogging. So what's your assessment?

I'm happy. What surprises me constantly is the loose, but real, community of teacher-bloggers out there.

6. I've also heard about a lot of problems with blogging, so feel free to tell me about the problems you have experienced.

People sign you up for their email newsletters, take you to pieces for your opinions, ask you to promote stuff on your blog... that's annoying. Mostly I get positive feedback, more so than with any other internet project I've ever been a part of. Blogging takes a lot of time, becomes an obsession... sometimes I wish I hadn't written stuff, or hadn't posted it, but I (for the most part) don't believe in taking stuff down once it's posted, unless I do it within 48 hours. After that it seems like going back and changing history, you know what I mean?

7. That covers the things I want to ask about. Anything you care to add?

I'm curious about the goals of your project - your questions are really broad. I'm wondering what types of stuff you'll be coding for when you look through our blogs, and what smaller ideas you are interested in studying. But I suppose you can't tell me that until after the project is over.

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