Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Why We Blog

Yes! With some help from the marketing department of the best college in Ireland (click here to find out)
I can proudly report that

Leo's Learning Blog has been nominated for the Irish Blog Awards in the category of Best Specialist Blog.

Well, surely this is something to blog about!

Yes! but before I get too carried away I note that there are many excellent blogs in this category including Eugene's Blog, Deryk Thormy's Blog and Jimmy Hill's Blog.

So what's going on with blogging?  
What are we all doing and more importantly why do people blog?

As you might expect I have a learning theory that might explain, in part, what may be happening.  

I refer you the work of John Dewey (1859 - 1952) the American educationalist and philosopher and the further insights of Professor Chip Bruce a "master blogger" of many years, a great scholar and a friend of mine.
Chip and others have developed the notion of an Inquiry Cycle model of learning based on 4 basic human impulses identified by John Dewey (for a fuller treatment I recommend you read Chips Bruce's work here). 
The basic idea is that we all have a tendency to learn through a cyclical process involving Ask, Investigate, Create, Discuss and Reflect - as in the diagram below (source Chip Bruce):


I contend that this is precisely what we seem to be doing when we blog.  
We start by asking some kind of question, in my case for example: 
Can we measure learning?
Top Ten Insights on Learning  
The question "ask" or inquiry begins with the writer but gets passed on to the reader.
Next we "investigate" to get new insights and often source and build on the ideas of others.  And, as a natural consequence, we seek to build on the ideas of others - this is the "create" part of the cycle.
With new insights and ideas its only natural (literally) that we seek to share, communicate and "discuss" with others - hence all this blogging.
Finally we we think back on the experience and "reflect" and this, in turn, initiates the cycle again.

We live in a complex and challenging and for me, this blog helps me to sort things out - it is part of my inquiry, my way of making meaning and my learning.

Monday, February 22, 2010



These days this is my favorite book.

I have blogged previously on one of Bateson's "Metalogues" - look here to review. Bateson's metalogues are styled as father daughter conversations.

Here's another one I would like to consider - this is a short extract from the opening:

Mealaogue: About games and being serious

Daughter: Daddy, are these conversations serious?
Father: Certainly they are.
D: They're not a sort of game you play with me?
F: God forbid ... but they are a sort of game we play together.
D: Then they're not serious!
Through this conversation Bateson goes on to introduce many ideas about how we "play" together.  The core of this idea is not new - there are always unspoken rules associated with how we communicate.

For me, the most useful question is: "What's going on here?".  Ask yourself this question when attending meetings, participating in decisions or even writing (as I am now).  Frequently, we interpret a situation at an immediate and shallow level.  Often, what's really going on can only be appreciated by interpreting what's being said along with the unspoken rules of the encounter.
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