Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Reflection in Rotorua

I am off to Rotorua tomorrow to attend a conference: the 14th International Reflective Practice Conference.

Blogs and reflective practice
The main reason for attending the conference is to present a paper on how blogs can be effective tools for reflection and reflective practice.

This will be a challenge because this is the first presentation I have made specifically on blogs, apart from the more practical blogging workshops.

Main points
The main gist of my talk will be:
  • keeping a journal is considered to assist reflection, creative writing, critical thinking and cognitive learning
  • blogging is the next step in the evaluation of reflective practice
  • blogs traditionally are text but can be other media such as audio and video
  • linking to other blogs and the comments by readers encourages sharing, discussion and further critique of ideas, which further extends thinking and learning
  • privacy and confidentiality can be an issue
  • admitting one's mistakes in public may be seen by some as unprofessional but readers can learn from the blogger as she processes her experiences and learning, and can add their perspective to the blogger's reflections
  • there are concerns that deep learning can be achieved from blogging - jury appears to still out on that question
  • readers of this blog have enabled me to process ideas, and have supported me when my reflections have been painful and challenging - I would never have received that level of support or learning from a paper journal that was for my eyes only.

Do you have any thoughts about this or any questions? Is there anything I have missed or got wrong?

Michele Martin: Becoming a more reflective individual practitioner. The Bamboo Project. March 8, 2008
Merrolee Penman: The use of blogging to support professional learning. Healthcare and Informatics Review Online. June 2008.
Paul Trafford: Mobile blogs, personal reflections and learning environments. 2005. Ariadne. Issue 44.

Image: Heels Gate Thermal Reserve Percita


Claire Thompson said...

Hi Sarah,
You said "there are concerns that deep learning can be achieved from blogging". I'm wondering if this is worded correctly. Concerns are usually reserved for something negative; isn't deep learning positive? I particularly like your fourth point about blogging extending thinking and learning. Best of luck with your presentation!

hbacmama said...

Hope your presentation went well.
I am totally in over my head in even commenting on this post.
I blog because. Just because.
I read blogs to learn, to evaluate and to expand my mind. Often I am bashing my head on the table when I read things that I, in my limited knowledge, KNOW is incorrect.
I also blog, because often I have no one else to 'talk to' about what bothers me. Just typing it out is helpful, even if I mark it as 'private' and no one else reads it.

Joy Johnston said...

Sarah, I agree that blogging can be a good tool to assist in reflection and maieutic learning. I found it an easy transition to go from a reflective journal to writing a blog. When there are issues that I think are too personal or raw to put 'out there' on the blog, I will return to the hand-written journal.
We do need to be conscious of privacy issues, but not constrained. The blog writer who uses current experience to explore knowledge and to test practice trends and fashions. Most of my professional knowledge (midwifery) can be told in stories. http://villagemidwife.blogspot.com/

Sarah Stewart said...

Thank you all for your comments. Needless to say, there will be a blog post about the conference and how I felt it all went.

@Claire: Yes, you're right, I have written that wrong. BTW, I'd be interested in any references to research into deep learning and blogs, either that support or refute the notion.

@hbacmama: What I love about blogging is that I hear from people in all walks of life & what you have to say is just as valid as any midwife or academic. Academics particularly spend so much time navel gazing, so it's great to hear from you, the person on the street, so to speak.

@Joy: ,Yes, privacy is a big concern and one I touched on in my presentation. You can change things and make them into a generic story but if they are too personal (or a 'professional risk'), I think you're right to say that the reflections should be dealt with in a different way - you could have a closed blog or just not publish the post & keep it in a draft form.

Merrolee said...

Good luck Sarah - - I'm preesnting at the national OT Conference in Melbourne next week on the use of social networking tools (the 2 examples google documens and blogs) to assist bridging theory-practice divide... will love to hear how yours goes!

M-H said...

Too late to be useful, but I wanted to say that as well as all the things you've listed, blogging is a social practice. Reflection on one's own can be got from a private journal; reflection in the (virtual) company of others through blog commenting communities brings a breadth to that reflection. (Constructivist pedagogy is part of this argument also.)

Sarah Stewart said...

Thanks for that, M-H. That is the especial reason I like reflecting in blogs as opposed to a private journal.

The other thing (which is about me being needy) is that I think I am quite hard on myself at times. And I really appreciate people saying "Hey Sarah, don't be silly-things aren't half as bad as you think-get over it and move on".