Blogging reflections on 2014

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For the last few years I’ve reflected in detail on the year’s blogging activity and the activities it represents.

2010’s practically focused ‘what did I ship’ when I was a school teacher.

2011’s depiction of transition from school to academia.

2012’s year of doggedly refining and reconstructing my thinking as I developed as an academic.

2013’s reflections on teaching and learning as I wrote my book and moved on from Plymouth.

 

2014 has been a huge shift for me, moving to London, joining Nesta and working on a whirlwind of projects, research and events. With more activity, has come less blogging in terms of number of posts, although it is interesting to see in the above links how my posts have shifted over the last few years into a form that takes significantly more writing.

Having read Paul Dolan’s ‘Happiness by Design’ recently I’ve been thinking about where I focus my attention, attention having seemingly become ever more strained and limited in supply since the changes my life has taken since this time last year.

It’s so easy to get swept away or along with things these days, and next year for me is to be a year of very closely guarding my intention as to where I focus my attention.

That said, I’m not doing a deep and lengthy review of the blog this year. Also to come are some changes around here in which I hope to better respond to the value that you, the readers, get from this as well as the value I draw from it.

For now, here are the ‘most read’ posts in the last year. Their numbers will be the starting point for my being intentional about what I write here, but certainly not the end point.

1. Models for Thinking: Possible Lines of Development (PLODS)

2. Models for Thinking: Cummin’s Quadrants

3. Praxis: Bringing Theory & Practice to Teaching

4. The Thinking Teacher (Book landing page)

5. How to come out of nowhere: Avicii

6. Reviewing my NQT year

7. E-Learning for Independence

8. Levelling Off

9. Theory of Change in Education

10. Why don’t teachers have business cards?

Stats like this tell an interesting story. Most of these posts were not written this year (only 9. and 10).It would be easy, as David Didau mentions in his own review, to be downhearted at this. However, measures stem from particular assumptions about what is of value, and hence can only tell you about what values are built into them. These, I think, tell me three things.

One, that posts that have been around longer often get more traffic as they’ve built a presence.

Two, that posts about things no one else is writing about but people care about do well. For instance the first two have been viewed more than all the other posts on the blog combined.

Three, that SEO matters. Those with titles with search terms such as ‘E-Learning’, ‘NQT’, ‘Praxis’ and ‘Avicci’ do well. Anyone who has ever written a blog with ‘Ofsted’ in the title can tell you the effect on views a ‘hot topic’ word can have, hence (in part) the vast numbers of Ofsted related blogs saturating the blogosphere.

Using these stats to tailor what you write and chase audience is one particular approach, and if you focus on the stats and the values built in to them and change your writing to suit then increasing those stats is likely. That’s one set of values to consider in guiding blogging activity.

However, there is also immense value in the interaction with a post by just a few individuals. Some of the conversations that have changed my thinking the most have come out of discussions around posts that were not on the list above. My post on 3 ways of seeing technology in schools has been a starting point for numerous face to face discussions and led to a book chapter, two outcomes with very different value.

And perhaps, in this discussion of stats has come out one of my most important reflections for 2014, being clear on the specific value of things. Whether it is measurements, use of time on particular things, or what you do and don’t listen to and take heed of, the values that underpin things are often less than clear, but shape them completely. That’s been a message of 2014 to me. 2015’s intention is to be increasingly intentional about how I respond to these values.

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2015: My year in blogging reviewed
2013: A year in blogging

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