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You will respect my authoritah!!

December 6, 2006

Still thinking of starting your own blog? Are you a bit of a blurker? Don’t think you have anything to say?… then read on. I’ve got a tale to tell!


I had a really interesting chat at last weeks LTS Futures meeting in Stirling with Ewan ( and Andrew (no blog… yet! — one of LTSs Content Editors) about authority when blogging. Ewan  asked me if I agreed that, in order to post a comment on a blog with any authority, the commenter really needs to have their own blog. The question took me by surprise, and I  wasn’t sure how to answer as it’s not something I’d really given a great deal of thought to. One week later, and it’s still rattling around in the back of my mind. One week later, and I’m still not sure if I agree that you need to have a blog in order to comment. One week later, and I’m wondering just how many others are sitting out there blurking(*) because they’re worried about sticking their heads above the parapet?

As I said at Stirling, I really have Ewan to thank for my current blogging. I’d had a blog in the past (2003! …courtesy of iBlog and my .Mac subscription) but, while I could see the potential in the classroom, I didn’t really pursue it with any great vigour. Part of this was down to the logistics of using a blog in a class where only just over half the pupils had access to a computer or internet connection at home, and the rest was down to the simple fact that I didn’t appreciate what a fantastic community of edubloggers there was out there to bounce ideas off…

Fast-forward three years, and I’ve risen to Ewan’s ‘What- no blog?’ challenge and gone public. I suppose I followed the traditional route for many bloggers. For a while, I blurked around, dropping the odd comment here and there, and felt that my voice wasn’t worthy of bringing to a wider audience… then I realised that I was really just making excuses for not getting on with it. I launched my blog amidst a blaze of apathy, and was all set to change Scottish Education for the better.

Without being silly about it, I think that blogging has been the single most career changing and improving thing I’ve ever done. It has turned me from being a happy camper wandering through the Scottish Education system without a care in the world or a thought in my head to being a genuinely reflective practitioner. I have ended up reading more about education, thinking more about education, and evaluating and revising my own practice as a result.

Since I started blogging my reading has come from everywhere, and my conversations have gone everywhere as a result. I read education blogs from the Scotland, England, Ireland, Hong-Kong, USA, Australia, Canada… you get the picture… and I’ve become involved in conversations with many of these people.  I’ve found ideas for lessons, I’ve been able to give ideas for lessons, I’ve made friends, and I’ve genuinely enjoyed talking about education and where it’s going with some of the most interesting people going… in short, Blogging about education has made me a more productive and engaged learner and teacher… which is exactly what we want our pupils to become!

So… quit blurking, and get blogging! I look forward to hearing what you have to say!

(*) = blurk:(vb.) lurking on blogs

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. December 6, 2006 8:34 am

    Think you’re (both) right here – it seems somehow irresponsible to leave comments and have nothing to tell where you’re actually coming from.

  2. December 6, 2006 11:47 am

    Go Neil! I think you are spot on here. Since I’ve been blogging, I’ve learnt more from my blogging colleagues than any other means of education. Thinking out-loud, and reading others do likewise has made me into a far more reflective practitioner. Such a simple tool, but yet so powerful.

  3. December 6, 2006 8:29 pm

    Hi Neil,
    I don’t think we should limit or define blogging by saying what a blog is or who can or cannot comment. Commenting might be a useful way for teachers to dip a toe in the blog water.

    Personally I’d be quite happy commenting on blogs if I didn’t have one. For me blogging is a lot more important for my pupils than myself and I am delighted when anyone comments on their work, blog or no.
    One of the best exchanges on our blogs: Sandaig Poets » bio poem by Kimberley-Jayne was between a pupil and our ‘fairy blogmother’ who has no blog of here own.

  4. December 7, 2006 12:24 am

    Chris (and John) – I agree, and I think I’d rather have a comment from someone who didn’t have a blog than no comment at all. I also suppose that the email address the commentor uses (assuming it is accurate!) can be an indication of who the person is and where they are coming from (I’m thinking here aout institutional addresses).

    AB – I keep asking my colleagues if they are blogging yet… there are a few who are starting out, and they are already beginning to see what I’ve been talking about.

    John – You make a really good point about who the blogging is for. I wonder if I’d be as enthusiastic about it if I wasn’t a teacher… I think I would, but I’d be speaking to a different group of people… I suppose the main thing is to try and convey some of that enthusiasm to the pupils… they are, after all, the real inspiration for teachers!

  5. December 7, 2006 12:29 am

    John – Thanks for the link! Kimberley-Jayne’s post/conversation is simply superb! I am humbled by her ability to keep a conversation going at such length.

  6. Jackie permalink
    December 9, 2006 12:03 pm

    Neil – you’re inspirational (but you know I think that!) After all your encouragement I just wanted to write and say I now have a Flickr account (nearly missed the staff Christmas party I was so inspired!) and WILL be a blogger not a blurker.

  7. December 9, 2006 3:11 pm

    Jackie – Thanks for the kind words! I look forward to seeing many geographically and historically amazing photos in the future… I’ll even show you how to add geo-tags (if you haven’t already done so!)…

  8. Wendy permalink
    February 13, 2009 2:46 am

    I stumbled across your blog after google imaging “computer says no” as part of my daily work routine googling junk. I write in a livejournal, but more often than not one-liners and rants, and nothing of personal development – unless you count doing really well in a computer game on the weekend a form of personal development and achievement. At any rate, I don’t blurk; I just leave comments here and there after tracking down a blog from a google image.

    I don’t think that you need a blog to leave an interesting, worthy or insightful comment. Comments I find are often far more valuable to the person reading them than the person who has actually left the comment itself.

    At any rate, my blog is really lowbrow, but strangely enough, I’ve received comments from blurkers now and again.

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