Some PLN Self Assessments
So, as I began my summary of my progress thus far in my attempts at creating a PLN, I quickly turned to my classmates’ blogs for inspiration and ideas as to how to approach this task. What did I find? Quite frankly, a newly formed sense of disappointment in myself and my attempts thus far, specifically in expanding my blog. As this semester has progressed, I have honestly found that I have come to dread completing my blog and keeping up with my daily posts. I realize that this is quite a horrible statement coming from a future English instructor. But don’t get me wrong, it’s not the physical act of writing that really gets to me. I love writing and expressing my opinions, views and insights. However, I am a strong believer in specific guidelines. I understand that these blogs were kept open-ended to encourage a better participation and because these are a newly introduced addition to our curriculum. However, a lack of guidelines subconsciously always leads me to put off things. I have seen some criticism concerning “last minute, Tuesday night bloggers,” and this has only discouraged me more. I’ll be the first to admit it: I am very much so a procrastinator, always have been, unfortunately almost always will be. This, combined with my expanded workload in other areas, unfortunately also contributed to my struggling blog. Furthermore, because I am constantly determined to contribute blogs filled with the newest technology and methods rather than my own personal insights, I have found that I’ve spent hours upon hours researching and looking up different parts of education. Too often though, I struggle in combining these random ideas into one specific blog, causing me to write and re-write each blog, ending with a final product that I’m still not fully satisfied with. So, I’m going to try to build from my rant to go over some of the specifics of my blog thus far, and I’ll list where I recognize I can improve upon my work.
Consistency: Steady B- or C+, but hoping to bring that up!
I’ve recognized that my consistency in putting up posts isn’t as frequent as I’d like it to be. Especially in comparison to some of my classmates’ work, I’ve seen that more effort needs to be produced on my part to get me and my blog up to par. I tend to post about once a week, though my progress in the beginning was very slow, putting me behind a few blogs. I have found that I struggle the most in picking a topic each week, and really sticking with it. In this endeavor in particular, I have found that I start out on a topic, stumble upon a classmate’s blog or some other interesting aspect of teaching, and completely abandon a topic because I’ve focused my interest. My one struggle with this idea of consistency, however, comes from my determination to make my blogs insightful and truly helpful. As a writer, I have found that I really can’t pound out a meaningful piece in an hour or so, especially when I have to draw information from outside research sources. I like to be able to spend time looking up stuff, then think through my paper before I directly apply these insights into what I want to say. My solution? Diane, get off of youtube and google, and stop scanning your classmates blogs so much. Though it may produce more personal reflections in my blogs, I’m determined to better manage my time to make my production improve vastly when it comes to my number of posts.
Goal for improvement: I’m determined to get my number of blog posts up, so I’m going to commit myself to completing 1-2 posts a week. I’m also focused on sticking with a topic to the end so that I actually have physical work to show for the time and effort I’ve put into my research and insights. Finally, I’m going to set time limits for myself, forcing me, as a writer, to really crack down and focus on the one topic I wish to address, instead of spending excessive amounts of time over-researching and browsing for ideas.
PLN Conversations: ECN is an A, Blogging Convos about a B-
In regards to my conversations throughout my PLN, I realize that there’s room for improvement when I comment on my classmates’ blogs. I consistently read their blogs for inspiration or insight, but I do need to start actually putting my comments and reflections down, rather than just gaining my own personal insights. I will give myself credit for referencing my classmates’ blogs somewhat frequently in my own posts. However, I have found that my greatest interaction so far in the PLN comes from my interactions on English Companion Ning, my newest obsession. I’m truly amazed at how helpful teachers who never have, and most likely never will, meet you are. I’ve started several discussion on there, all receiving dozens of comments containing advice and insight. I feel the best display of my success is from the results I got from a discussion I started entitled “No, I’m not a student, I just look young.” I addressed my concerns over looking very young and how this could affect my position and level of respect in a classroom. The results? Currently, there’s 34 replies, all offering insight and personal experiences and struggles teachers have faced in the same situation. I later received more positive input from my classmates whenever I spoke about this discussion in my blog post entitled “My Experiences with English Companion Ning,” making this my personally most beneficial blog.
Goal for improvement: I’m personally proud of the connections, conversations, and insight I’ve gained from English Companion Ning. I have used this as my primary means of inspiration and connection with those in my field. However, I do hope to engage more openly on my own and my classmates’ pages, adding comments to their posts and replying more directly to their views on my own posts.
Overall, I feel that I’m pretty proud of my content within my posts. Though they are not as frequent as I’d like them to be, I still feel that my posts actually contribute to the conversation and that they could be useful to any current or future educator. Because I sped so much time on developing my blog posts, I feel that I’ve managed to produce some pretty well composed thoughts.
In my opinion, my best blog posts:
My Experiences with English Companion Ning
SMART Board Technology in the Classroom: What is it and how can I use it?
I’m personally most proud of these posts because I put a great amount of time and effort into constructing them, and I feel that the number of views and input I receive from outside sources, especially in my SMART Board post, shows that my hard work is paying off.
Blog stats and content overview: The inner workings of my blog
This is the monthly, weekly, and daily (well the daily from March 8 on…) breakdowns of the number of people who view my blog. (Sorry if they’re a little tough to read)
Though my number of views varies at times, and my blog is marked by a slow progress in January, I feel that my averages for views is pretty good and would give myself a good rating for somehow drawing people to my blog. (okay, so maybe that’s not totally all from my contributions but is it so wrong for me to take credit?)
Here’s a summary of my top posts and pages:
I feel that these stats speak for themselves, as it makes sense that my homepage would receive the most views. Likewise, I feel that my SMART Board post received the second most clicks partially from its mention through my professor’s blog and one of his ECN posts on a “Teaching with Technology” discussion (thanks Jason!).
Finally, here’s a summary table of all of the totals concerning my blog (posts, comments, views, etc.)
I’m not horribly disappointed in myself in regards to most of these numbers, but I absolutely want to increase my number of posts and comments because I feel it will improve my blog as a whole and will better immerse me in the various conversations going on. Overall, I see that I still have a lot of room for improvement. I feel with a little bit of self determination, time, and effort, I can really get this thing going so that I will have a product that is fully functionable that I can be proud of by the end of the semester. For the time being, I’d give myself a B- on the overall project. I’ve built strong connection and included some great content in some areas, but I definitely need to be more consistent in my posting, commenting, and replying. Thanks for hanging in there, until next time!