Having been a teen in the 80’s, it seems natural that a certain tune by Billy Idol began playing in my head as I thought about revamping my blog. Like most bloggers, I started out on the edge of the dance floor, watching experts reflect on their learning, promote new ideas and highlight favorite resources before I got out there myself. Once I did, I found myself shuffling around alone in a dark corner.
As a graduate student, I blogged regularly, but my audience could have been Billy’s empty eyed girl. I published posts that were assignments at best and my readers skimmed over my thoughts. No one stopped to dance with me, and I was guilty of the same. Prior to that, I blogged for my students and their parents. At the time, I didn’t realize the power in encouraging parent interaction with the content. My primary motive was keeping them informed.
I’ve since realized the potential for initiating a conversation or to remain true to my analogy: a dance. With that goal in mind, I provided professional development through two blogs last school year. The first, The ICATS 30 Day Challenge, was a team effort and is currently active with their latest challenge. The second was my first attempt at organizing a virtual book club http://evscireaders.blogspot.com/. In both cases, the early comments were stiff and not readily forthcoming, but developing a natural rhythm is a process.
I’m not running blogs as part of my professional role now, but in the last couple of months I’ve made a deliberate effort to comment on blogs others have shared either directly or through my learning network. In some cases there have been exchanges. These remind me of folk dance classes in elementary school where you have a partner for a few seconds before skipping off to the next one in line. These dances are exhilarating and I enjoy them, but I’m also looking for others who are willing to come together as a group knowing there’s “nothing to lose/nothing to prove.” I found such a group with Education Bloggers on Facebook. It’s easy to get lost in a “crowded lonely room” and I’ve realized, it’s time I ask the world to dance.