Tag Archives: blogging


My last post was at the end of January, just about the time that I finished the data collection for my dissertation.  I spent the next five months analyzing and writing and successfully defended my study on June 3, 2009.  It took the rest of the summer to finish it and then I plunged back into work.  A combination of feeling pretty broke after not working for several months and a worry about being bored led me to take on several different projects, all of which seemed to have major deadlines in October and November so all those hours I freed up by finishing graduate school (I figure somewhere around 30 hours a week) were suddenly filled.  Any plans I had for posting some blog entries or even twittering were abandoned.

But now the work load has subsided a bit and I actually spent today reading and crocheting rather than working.  I got on my computer to check in to the online classes I’m teaching and to harvest a few crops in Farmville.  And, I had an urge to write, too. It’s funny…I was really worried about being able to find the time and energy to read once I finished my degree.  So many people had told me that they hadn’t been able to read for a long time after finishing their degrees.  And reading whatever I wanted was one of those things I kept promising myself that I was going to do when I was done.  So, I made an effort to read and even did some writing about my reading on my personal blog.

What I didn’t seem to be able to do is write professionally.  In fact, the last thing I wrote was a proposal for the American Educational Research Association conference.  I’m happy to say it was accepted.  I’ve been doing a lot of creating or what you might think of as 21st century writing: a website for a STEM project, the first in a video series called Math in Real Life and two episodes of a new podcast.  I’ve also been doing a lot of data work including Moodle administration, survey development, and a conference handout book.  And there’s been some flash programming for a kids’ website I’ve been working on with my husband. But, with the exception of some personal journaling and a few blog posts about books, I haven’t been writing, not even Twitter posts.  I should be working on an article about my study and I have passing thoughts about twitter posts and blog entries.  But I just can’t commit to the process.  (Just as an aside, this is my second stab at getting this blog post done.)

I’m not sure about the source of the block.  I do know that I find it difficult to write off the cuff they way I used to when I wrote blog entries.  They weren’t completely stream of conscious but I certainly didn’t draft them the way I did my dissertation.  The first three chapters of the study began as the proposal so they probably went through somewhere around 8 to 10 drafts and were written over the course of a year.  The last two chapters only went through two drafts and were written in about three months.  But that was three months of almost full time drafting, writing and revising.  It was intensive but also satisfying and productive.

But it seems to have ruined me for writing anything else. I want to edit every sentence, labor over every work, craft each paragraph.  I worry about having something important to say and whether I should be adding citations.  The freedom I used to feel as I wrote blog entries eludes me.

So, for tonight I’m going to stop and publish this…just get some words moving around.

Now More Than Ever

It has taken me nearly two weeks to muster the energy to write this post.  You see, I’m a Unitarian Universalist, and on Sunday, July 27, a gunman walked into the packed Knoxville church and opened fire.  Two died and seven others were wounded.  A letter found in his truck indicated that he harbored hatred for liberals and gays who he perceived as preventing him for getting a job.  Subsequent reports revealed a deeply troubled man who planned to keep shooting until the police came and killed him.  It would be easy to write him off as another crazy person who had somehow gotten his hands on a gun.  And, even as I mourn for the Knoxville church, I know this isn’t the worst mass shooting nor is it the last.  But this one hit pretty close to home for me and not just because it was directed towards people of my faith.  Another reason is because it also reminds us that promoting civil discourse is one of the most important things we can do as we send our students out into both the real and virtual worlds.

That was the theme of an article I wrote–“Don’t Feed the Trolls: Using Blogs to Teach Civil Discourse“–for Learning & Leading With Technology that appeared in the May 2008.  I’m in the process of getting permission to put the article on my website so for now you need to be an ISTE member to read it.  Why is this important to this story?  Because I, at least, had my head in the sand when it came to the rhetoric of hate that has been directed towards liberals.  Evidently, joking about killing liberals and issuing liberal hunting licenses is fair game for cable news commentators, radio entertainers, and conservative bloggers.  I wrote about this in my personal blog:

Really?  Someone, anyone, finds it funny to talk about killing people like me because of my political views.  I might find Russ Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly offensive but I would never wish their death.

And I found myself wondering how we got here…where hateful rhetoric like this is not only accepted but seemingly encouraged.  While I wouldn’t want to blame people like Sean Hannity for what happened last Sunday, his ongoing war against liberals certainly didn’t help.  For someone who is mentally unbalanced, these relenting attacks become an underlying soundtrack to a tragic life and offer up an easy target.  Tom Friedman says that while he was sleeping, the world got flat.  While I was sleeping, the world got ugly.

We can DO something about this, folks.  We can talk to kids about how words–whether spoken or written–really matter.  I’m sure there are liberals out there who are also guilty of negative rhetoric although my own bias might make it more difficult for me to really hear them.  As you head into the school year and start getting your kids on the web, please take the time to include civil discourse in your conversations with them.