How are our online conversations part of our own learning?
I’ve been loosely participating in the 31 Day Comment Challenge, (which is an effort to focus on improving blog comments through various activities.)
It’s been a little bit of a learning curve for me to figure out how to use coComment, which is the tool we are using, but by joining the 31 day challenge group, and then backtracking to blog post’s other participants have been commenting on, I’ve discovered a number of bloggers I had never read before and have been gradually widening my reading circle.
And some of the activities, like yesterday’s Five on Five, intrigue me in terms of doing them with students. (The challenge is to respond to five blog posts in five minutes). I think this activity would help break through the ice for those teachers or students “shy” about responding to blog posts, somewhat like a writing “fluency” activity that English teachers use. (Though reasonably, maybe it should be Five in Ten, to be feasible!) And of course, the point of commenting isn’t generally to comment just to comment, but sometimes it does take some steps to get students or teachers over that hurdle to try making a comment.
A teacher at our campus, Bill Martin, pondered this idea of helping students with commenting during a recent workshop we did. He wondered how to help students move from commenting that was somewhat “parallel” where they engaged with the blog post, but not with the other comments, and how to help them engage in more of a conversation. I think creating a challenge like the 31 day Comment Challenge (a simplified version possibly) to help students “practice” and develop their conversational abilities in writing might be a valuable way to ease them into blogging.
As for reflections on my own blog, I notice that sometimes my posts aren’t invitational enough to comments, or don’t seem to be. So I’ve been pondering how the way I write posts might enter into that. (Although I don’t think this is the entire reason–many excellent bloggers don’t have a wealth of “commenters” but have many readers, of course!) But I think about posts that sort of challenge an idea, or throw a question out, or challenge the accepted thinking, or generate controversy, and how those posts are written.
Clearly, the point of blogging isn’t purely to “receive” comments, but there is a lot of learning in the discussions and exchange that can happen. So that is why I’ve been reflecting about this. And as we start our blog for our new professional learning community, I want our blog to be a place where everyone involved feels like an active part of it and comfortable either posting or commenting, so I’ve been pondering the invitational-ness (is that a word) of the writing I do there.
So some questions…
Are there particular writing styles that invoke comments? If you read this blog and don’t comment, is there a reason? I’d love to hear feedback.
Is it because you prefer just reading? Or that you don’t tend to comment on blogs in general? Or don’t have time, but enjoy reading? Or is it the style of some posts that don’t seem to require comment? Or you think that you have nothing to add(though I’m sure each of you does!) Or other reasons? Even if you don’t usually comment here, I’d love to have input or reflection on your commenting habits, and perhaps relating to this blog in particular if you feel so moved.