Why you need to consider blogging as a pedagogy to facilitate learning

Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano

I was inspired by a blog post written by Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano (known as @langwitches on Twitter) which begins by saying

“Blogging should not be an add-on, not an isolated project, but should be seen as PEDAGOGY”

It made me consider my approach to blogging, something I have developed only in the last 4-5 years. I now have a collection of blogs I write, each serving a different but valuable purpose.


The first blog I created was actually to demonstrate what blogging was to my students and to show them how to create a blog, insert images, video and audio. They were the writers and used the blogs to create online newspapers. When I then introduced how social media could be used to promote the blogs using Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+, it occurred to me that rather than just talk about the topic using a few PowerPoint slides, I could develop a blog to capture this information. This provided two outcomes – I could demonstrate blogging in practice and I was curating information in an open space that could be of value for anyone interested in the topic.

Academic Development

In addition to teaching I was also introducing colleagues to social media. This in turn raised questions and I found that by writing a blog post to answer these also contributed to a useful collection of information I could help the person raising the question but also signpost to others when the same questions came up again.

Reflective Practice

I then went on to create a blog I used for reflective writing. I was inspired by my colleague Professor Richard Hill to adopt this process when he told me that each day he writes for 15 minutes to collect his thoughts and goes on to reflect upon these, develop ideas and take these on to write academic papers and indeed a book. My reflective blog is private and this provides a space to write freely and often disjointedly although it makes sense to me!


Another blog I keep which again is private is my treasure chest of resources I gather. Here I can create anew post, grab the url of the item I am reading and make a few notes. Then I can tag each of these posts with keywords and by adding a tag cloud to the blog (a visual of all tags) click on a particular tag word to then bring up all the posts I’ve written with that tag. It helps me to organise the vast array of things I read that I may wish to come back to. Because it is private I don’t have to worry how each post looks or explain what it means – I can write a sentence or a page. It is my scrapbook if you like.

Open Courses

With my colleague Chrissi Nerantzi we have run an open course called Bring Your Own Devices for Learning twice now and have used WordPress to create the course site. The blog posts introduce the participants to the course and in this instance the daily themes. The comments facility enables anyone to interact with the posts.


Another project with Chrissi Nerantzi and colleagues David Walker and Peter Reed is #LTHEchat which is a weekly twitterchat about learning and teaching in higher education. The chat will take place in Twitter but we also have a WordPress site http://lthechat.com/ where we share information about the tweetchat, a poll to vote for topics for future chats and as a space to archive the chats once they have taken place.

My own learning

I personally learn from other peoples’ blogs and am immensely grateful they openly share their knowledge, their views and perspectives on topics, but also the processes they go through. Silvia’s blog is a case in point. Below is her blog about why she thinks blogging should be seen as a pedagogy in itself and how it can be used to facilitate learning through the process of reading, writing, reflecting and sharing.

Silvia’s post:

Blogging can support the strategies, techniques and approaches to facilitate the learning in your classroom no matter what grade level, age group and subject area. Blogging supports four primary areas:

  1. Reading
  2. Writing
  3. Reflecting
  4. Sharing

In each one of these areas, blogging can be a strategy to facilitate learning


  • in digital spaces support students’ skills in our increasingly digital reading environment
  • becomes a personalized content experience versus one size fits all approach
  • turns into a collaborative and connected experience
  • in digital spaces supports organization via archiving, categorizing and tagging of information
  • blogs is the start that continues to deepen with writing on blogging platforms
  • is part of research with non- linear platforms
  • is an essential component of content curation
  • supports content annotation which links to future writing


  • is about more than text (how do we communicate in a variety of media forms?)
  • gives students choices to communicate ideas in different media platforms
  • on a blog is writing for an audience
  • is about a conversation through commenting
  • becomes multi-layered and non-linear by using hyperlinks to connect ideas, concepts and resources
  • in digital spaces give students skills for our increasingly digital world


  • can’t be just for reflection sake, but needs to drive improvement
  • is the basis of re-evaluating your teaching and practices
  • techniques can be supported by Making Thinking Visible Routines
  • is part of a meta-cognitive (thinking about your thinking) process


  • is part of the feedback loop
  • is an integral part of the process of learning
  • is how you disseminate your students’ work to a global audience
  • as a technique of building and maintaining a digital footprint
  • is the foundation of a remix culture

Read more at: http://langwitches.org/blog/2014/06/03/blogging-as-pedagogy-facilitate-learning/ | Langwitches Blog

Silvia’s blog is a treasure chest of information and I recommend you also follow her on Twitter.

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Social Enlightenment: What enterprise wide use of social business ‘could’ look like

Social Enlightenment infographic

Image source: Jive Social

Click on the image to enlarge

“Overcome the suffering that email, legacy systems, and archaic processes bring. Let go of your frustration with not finding answers. There’s a path to enlightenment for every part of your company.”

This infographic from Jive Social is a lovely visual way to demonstrate how different parts of a company or organisation can do things differently taking a social approach. Continue reading

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Is there truth in the psychology of colour or is it simply down to personal taste?

colouring pencils

Image source: Wikipedia

How we use any of these colours in our lives can be very personal. From the way we dress, decorate our homes or even prepare food; we each may have different preferences to colour combinations. What pleases one person’s eyes can be a total turn off for another!

The Logo Company have put together an infographic on the emotions colours convey and aligned these with famous brands and the design of their logos. They say:

  • yellow = optimism
  • orange = friendly
  • red = excitement
  • purple = creative
  • blue = trust
  • green = peaceful

Continue reading

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Introducing Tweet Chats

Tweet Chat

So what’s a Tweet Chat?

A TweetChat is a virtual meeting or gathering on Twitter to discuss a common topic. The chat usually lasts one hour and will include some questions to stimulate discussion.  In order to be able to view tweets relating to the chat, a pre-agreed hashtag is shared. A hashtag is a word or series of letters and/or numbers preceded by #. For example:

#LTHEchat = Learning and Teaching in Higher Education Chat

#BYOD4Lchat = Bring Your Own Devices for Learning

By including the chosen hashtag within all Tweets relating to the chat, it is then easy to view just those Tweets by simply searching for #LTHEchat (or your own chosen hashtag) using the search bar in Twitter.


Tweets containing this hashtag will then appear in your timeline below. Continue reading

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Getting Started with Twitter

Getting Started with Twitter

Below is a screencast outlining 26 tips for getting started with Twitter. The slides can be accessed via SlidesShare here and downloaded. They have a Creative Commons licence so may be re-used with credit.

Screencast [slides with voice over]

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How to create lists in Twitter to organise those you follow into groups

Twitter lists

Creating lists is a way to filter the tweets you read into topics.  Currently when you view your timeline you will see Tweets from everyone you follow, along with retweets. Wouldn’t it be nice to zoom in on Tweets from specific users? Creating lists can help you do this. It’s a bit like creating folders in Word to organise your saved files. Continue reading

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Some simple steps to ensure your Facebook privacy settings are as you want them

Facebook privacy check up
I received the message below when I logged into Facebook. It was a useful prompt to check my privacy settings, something we should ALL do at regular intervals.

Are you aware that you can make the choice to share your posts and other information just with friends you are connected to – that is the people you are friends with. If you do not check these settings you may find that you are sharing your information publicly. This means anyone can see your updates and profile. Continue reading

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Extending your reach beyond the conference using SlideShare and Social Media


Over the years I have attended a good number of educational conferences. The usual format will include one or more keynote speakers and a selection of workshops and presentations. For many of these, presenters will prepare a set of presentation slides using PowerPoint, Keynote or Prezi. As a frequent presenter myself I am aware that my audience is limited to the people attending that particular session. You may choose to provide handouts or send the presentation file to the conference organiser who may add this to the conference website. The issue here is that handouts are not guaranteed to see the light of day again by the individual who took a copy, let alone anyone else. Having a link to your presentation file on the conference website my receive a few hits, but post conference I suspect not many will re-visit. What you can do however is to use social media to share your work. Continue reading

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Every little minute helps: Using Chrome to auto launch your most visited sites on start up


When you turn on your computer, it is likely that you will have a few favourite websites that you like to look at each day. Now whilst it doesn’t take that long to type in the web address for each one, there is a quick way to save these and have them open up automatically on start up using Chrome as your browser. Continue reading

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Using social media for learning, teaching and research

We want our students to

  • develop confident face to face and online communication skills
  • work collaboratively both synchronously and asynchronously
  • develop a professional online presence
  • use digital tools responsibly and effectively

To help our students develop these skills and knowledge we need to have clear pedagogic outcomes, embedding opportunities for them to learn and become fluent in a range of digital literacies. Information, media and technological fluency are all important. Continue reading

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