I appreciated going back over this semester’s work and rereading all my blog posts and seeing my thought process and overall writing skills. Going back and thinking about my thought process through the previous blogs isn’t something that I have ever really done. Normally, once I complete a task it’s done. I rarely go back and reanalyze my work. However, with this course (ENG 361) I would say that the majority of my thought process evolved around figuring out how to help someone either learn about something relating to a classroom idea or technology, or learning and developing as a follower as Christ.
Reflecting on this semester I can easily say that the most enjoyable blogs were the blogs relating to my Independent Learning Project. I think that mainly because I was able to grow and become more open about my own personal faith and in doing so I was able to help some people with their own faith and relationship with God. Regardless of the actual audience size, it felt like it was worth my time if just one person read and learned something from those particular blogs.
I must say though, the last few weeks of the class certainly opened my eyes up to a whole new point of view towards our educational system in America. This new view point is something I expressed with curiosity in my last few blogs. I would definitely say that having to reconsider and analyze our educational system showed me that there isn’t just one simple plan or path to educate our next generation.
The most common and repeating thing that I wrote about was my faith and God. I think that those Independent Learning Project blogs helped me build a deeper and more fulfilling relationship with God. In a more boarder sense, I would say that I wrote about how each weekly lesson opened my eyes in some form or another. There were so many different articles and videos that I read and watched that helped me build a more dynamic outlook on teaching and learning.
I don’t believe that there was anything that was glaringly bad about any of my blogs. I will say that one thing that I noticed is that when I gave myself plenty of time to write and edit, that my blogs were significantly better. I know it may seem obvious, but sometimes in the heat of the moment of a busy week, we can all fall victim to sometimes short changing ourselves. Luckily, that didn’t happen but once or twice. That generally occurred when we were on a break and I was home with family. It can sometimes be hard to keep up your classwork when you are out of your normal routine and out of your normal studying habitat. Overall, I would say that for a reminder for myself in future classes is to give myself plenty of time to write a well written paper and to give myself sufficient time to edit the paper.
One thing I noticed was that early on my blog posts were just over the word count. In the beginning I think I must have been writing to get those extra words. Comparing that to later on in the semester where I was writing to get a point across and to achieve some main idea, instead of simply writing out of requirement. This might have happened because I was developing as a writer, and I finally realized that it isn’t all about how many words you use, but the quality of the content. That old saying about “quality over quantity” comes to mind. I have always enjoyed writing, but I think that having to perform weekly blogs like we did in the class has really helped me develop as a more advanced writer. I like to think of it like lifting weights. If you want to get stronger, you wouldn’t just lift once or twice a year hoping to get better. I try to think of my writing in the same way. Each time I write a paper or blog is another practice or writing workout.
When I went back and reread all my blogs, I was surprised to see that they were all for the most part fairly grammatically correct. Generally, I struggle with grammar, and it tends to show up in my papers. It was refreshing to find that there wasn’t any glaring mistakes. Perhaps, I am developing in the area of grammar as well. I can only hope!
I saved a bunch of the articles that we read this semester. I did this so I could go back and reread and revisit some of the key ideas from this class. A few of them that I will absolutely come back to are the ideas from the last quarter of the class. I think that the ideas of not following the old status quo for teaching are extremely important in really connecting with my students. Also, by going back and revisiting material I might find something new or interesting that I didn’t see the time before. Hopefully, by doing that I will learn something that I will be able to implement in my own classrooms. I also know that I will probably reread my Independent Learning Project blogs. I say that because I want to start another blog series with the same subject, so I can go back and get some ideas of what to do and how to convey a Godly message to my audience.
The last thing I will mentioned is that I should continue to have an open mind for new material and ideas. I noticed that a lot of this class and blogs were firsts for me and I can say that it helped me grow as a learner.
The aspect I valued the most for our weekly blogs was actually the feedback that we would receive. It didn’t matter who it was from, but it was always uplifting to read a comment that said that they truly enjoyed reading the post. At least for me, it gave me encouragement to keep up the work and continue writing blogs. I honestly thing that a few of the blogs actually helped motivate me to strive to do better for the next weeks blogs. I am glad that we were required to read and comment on our classmates’ blogs.
Lastly, I think the blog posts helped me develop as a learner and a writer, and thus helped me fulfill the learning outcomes for this class. I would undeniably say that having to comment on our peers’ blogs helped develop our skills in analyzing and interpreting non-print texts. Also, having to read all the articles helped achieve this. Without a doubt I learned through social media (Twitter). Before this class I wasn’t one to really use Twitter, but after have taken this course I learned that as an educator it can be great tool to use in reaching your students and their families and helping stimulating educational outcomes. The Twitter part of the class also showed me the importance of building connections and building an online community. Having an online community helps people develop into better writers. This class also helped me in examining issues relating to online use, such as digital citizenship and copyright. I never really understood how copyright worked until this class. This is going to be very beneficial as a future educator and a business owner. The last thing I want to do is to improperly use material and get into legal trouble. The last outcome that directly affected me through the blog posts was being able to develop as a critical thinker and writer. I think that critical thinking is a skill that is an absolutely must!
I have enjoyed this course, especially the blogs. I have learned so much about myself as a learner but also about the entire educational process. I look forward to what else I might learn in my educational career!