They say that time flies when you are having fun, and obviously I have been having way too much fun completing this PhD, because next week I present my final seminar. It is almost over.
Writing my thesis has been a fairly singular activity, and this blog has been my window out into the world – my way to stay in touch. Rather than disappearing behind a computer screen for three years, I feel as though my blog has helped me to maintain an online presence even while I have spent almost all of my time sitting at my desk with my pup Ruby as my only company.
I have blogged in different spaces during my career. You can see my earlier blogging on the ResourceLink blog, which I authored from its inception in 2013 until I left my position in 2016.
When I began my PhD in January 2016, I began this blog. During my studies, I have authored 92 blog posts. I have replied to 180 comments, and through this blog I have connected with people from all over the world.
What did I find to write about?
I have blogged about my research: about Connected Learning, Informal Learning and Flexible Learning; about PLNs (of course!) – and how to supercharge your PLN, as well as the theories and practices that underpin PLNs.
I’ve also reflected on different forms of digital communication – including memes and emojis. I’ve advocated for school libraries and teacher librarians and promoted the digital and critical literacy that is needed to manage an information saturated world.
I’ve also used this blog to share the presentations that I have created for various webinars, conferences and keynotes, and I’ve used my blog space to express different things that I’ve learnt through engaging with learning opportunities such as #EngageMooc, the University of Edinburgh Digital Footprint Mooc and Open Networked Learning.
Obviously I’ve enjoyed blogging, and I hope that others have enjoyed reading and sharing my blog. Through the blog, I have made wonderful friends who inspire me with their professional expertise and generosity – intellectually, professionally and personally. It provides a ‘long tail’ of evidence – I am embedded in the area of my research, and I continue to learn with and through each blog post.
What about you?
So should you blog? Only you can answer that question! Do you want a window to the world while your head is buried in papers and your eyes are glazed with Times New Roman font? Do you want a space where you can express your thinking – as raw, and as rough as it might be, while you wrestle with complex concepts and try to understand the hopelessly interconnected worlds of theory? Would you like an avenue to ‘give something back’ to others who may be able to learn from you, even as you learn from them?
If your answers to these questions are yes, then why not give it a try? It may not be for you, and that’s ok too! The wonderful thing about a blog is that you can begin and end anytime you wish. There are no rules about the length of posts. They can be text or visual. Your blog space may even host your Podcasts, if you would rather voice your thoughts and reflections. You could make short videos, and share them on YouTube, but reblog them for another type of audience. The options are endless.
If there is something that I have written about previously that you would like to discuss or learn more about, leave a comment, or contact me via the online form. The beauty of the blog is that it builds over time, and so this space truly is my professional portfolio – a collection of all the things that I have learnt about, delved deeply into and experienced through the three years of my PhD and beyond.
What is next for me? Who knows? Maybe someone out there reading this knows the answer to that question! But you can be sure whatever it is I will continue to blog, and to share my experiences. So just be careful if you are inspired to begin a blog from this post. You may become addicted!