Auditing this Course (Which Hopefully isn’t Similar to getting Audited by the IRA)

After rereading all of my blogs, I have to say, I look at my older blogs the same way I look at my junior high Facebook posts.

What was I thinking?!?

junior high

An actual picture of one of my junior high Facebook statuses. Thankfully, none of my blogs were quite this painful.

Not that my older blog posts are bad, but they represent so much less thought and personal analysis than my later blogs. When I began Dig Lit Class, I took the blogging requirement  at face value, treating it as just another assignment that needed to be completed for the week. My blogs written during this time did not feature enticing lead-ins or pictures to break up the text, and were written in tediously long paragraphs. No wonder my earlier blogs didn’t get a lot of views.

The point where I notice I grew in my blogging maturity is my post entitled, “Life as a Process, not a Destination.” While this blog wasn’t necessarily a requirement for this class, I was feeling the urge to get some nasty feelings out of my head and written in a format where they no longer had any power over me. This monumental blog post features many attractive pictures, an interesting opening line, text broken up into smaller paragraphs, and, most importantly, my own brand of humor. After writing this blog, I realized why blogging can be such a rewarding part of life.

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Observe, a pretty picture used to break up the text. Also an image used in, “Life as a Process, Not a Destination.” (Photo CC by Chez Andre)

A recurring theme I see in my blog posts is interesting titles. I see my proclivity towards creative titles as a strength, as I, personally, would much rather click on a blog  titled, “Be-you-tiful” than “Independent Learning Project Week 6.”  My blog titles reflect the personal growth and creativity I developed throughout this class, and yes, are meant to bait someone into clicking on my blog (let’s face it– we all want our blog to be the most popular).

Another theme I noticed in my blogs is that a picture of a box of chocolates occurs in more than one of my posts. This picture is pretty representative of my every day life, to be honest.

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So good, I had to use it like three times. (Photo CC by Dave Gunn)

Content wise, I think my blogs reflect my struggle between being a conceited know-it-all who is good at standardized testing and being an empathetic educator who deeply cares about the needs of each and every student. When I began this class, I was critical of educational reform, primarily because traditional educational tactics worked just fine for me. I viewed the people that didn’t excel in school and wanted to change its format as people that didn’t try hard enough, people that just liked to complain.

As I journeyed on in this class, I realized a lot of my views about educational reform were narrow-minded and naive, and I was able to modify my thoughts about the issue. One blog that especially reflects a change in my arrogant views towards educational reform was my post about digital citizenship. In the digital citizenship module, I perused not only the sources that were provided to us, but also articles about cyber bullying on the Pine Ridge Reservation, a place where I have volunteered in the past and about which I feel passionate. While researching digital citizenship, I had my eyes open to the fact that not every student was blessed with the opportunities in life that I have, and didn’t have access to caring teachers or innovative educational resources. It is my job as an educator to not only provide an empathetic ear and a proactive approach to teaching to my own students, but also to any child, preteen, or teenager that is pleading for help. I have the duty to enact educational reform because, as a reasonably privileged human being, I have the inherent responsibility to provide any means of help to anyone who may need it.

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Teachers: Basically superheros. (Photo CC by karla_k)

One idea that I posted about that I have found the need to revisit was developed during our digital activism module. In my blog post for that week, I started off by mentioning works of digital activism used by others in their quests for justice, and started developing my own form of protest against the Keystone XL Pipeline. For some reason, I was worked up about the pipeline that week, a feeling that manifested itself in my blog and has continued to shape my schoolwork throughout the semester. In my class called Communicating in Groups and Teams, our small group is presenting a persuasive speech about the ecological and social consequences of the pipeline, and why Nebraskans should oppose its construction through our state. While I realize that this speech probably won’t inspire a room full of jaded college students to storm the streets in protest, I am not done developing my platform about the pipeline. I have realized that I have the power to voice my opinion about issues that may have major impacts on my life, and that I have the duty to stand up for what I believe in life. Therefore, I plan on becoming active in organizations, online or otherwise, that oppose the construction of the Keystone XL and support the rights of the Nebraskan people. I know I probably won’t make a huge difference, but it never hurts to try. Because of Dig Lit class and blogging, I have realized my ability to support a cause that is bigger than myself, and I think this is an idea worth revisiting outside the realms of the class.

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That was a lot of text in a row. Here, have a pretty picture. (Photo CC by James Jordan)

Weekly blogging has become a cherished part of my regular routine, and I will be sad when it is no longer a requirement. Much like my yoga practice, I’m fairly certain that regular blogging will be something I’ll try to keep up with for a while, but will ultimately run out of time for and let slide away. The aspect of blogging I’ve enjoyed most is the way it lets me express my emotions and opinions in a non-judgmental forum. While, when the class began, I was a bit hesitant to let me personality shine through my posts, I soon realized that the internet is a big place, and one more crazy person sharing their opinions isn’t going to startle anyone. I might as well spill all my passionate (and sometimes irrational) feelings and thoughts into a safe, effective, and free form of therapy that other people may be able to learn from. Sometimes, I would post blogs that weren’t a requirement for this class, just because some negative feeling was eating away at my happiness. By putting what was bothering me in writing, I could understand exactly how I felt, formulate a plan for how I was going to deal with it, and then never let it cross my mind again. For example, right now I’m worried about finals, and I’m starting to think this worry is negatively affecting my personal relationships. But now that this feeling is in writing, it no longer has tacit power over me, and I can focus on how I’m going to change it. Blogging is so beautiful because it gives me a chance to vocalize my opinions and my feelings, vocalization that loosens the grasp these  thoughts have on my mental state.

Throughout my blogging for Dig Lit class, I’ve written some posts that I’m proud of, some posts that have expressed how I feel, and some posts that I’m seriously life, wtf (like seriously, how did I connect my PLN with the “More cowbell” sketch from SNL?). But overall, I’m proud of the progress I’ve made as an educational reformer, a digital activist, and an influential (maybe) author. I hope to keep up my blogging practice once this class is over, because it’s a cheap and effective form of therapy, and it helps shine light on the root of what’s really bothering me. Who knows if I actually will keep blogging though? For now, I am happy to be done with the semester, sad that I won’t be forced to blog anymore, and excited by the progress I’ve made towards becoming a better teacher and learner.

Namaste.

icecream

Just like yoga, blogging has been a journey of finding bliss.

COURSE WORD AUDIT

(thought this was as a good place to put this as any)

website address for my blog: https://margaretvinton.wordpress.com/

Number of blogs I have posted this semester: 35

Twitter use name/handle: Margaret Vinton; @DigLitMargaretV

Number of tweets I have published this semester: 343

Number of Daily Creates I have posted: 30

Where are my Daily Creates posted?: Combo of Twitter and blog (writing Daily Creates are on my blog, all others are on Twitter)

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