Reflective Writing | Teaching & Research Blogging on tumblr with “Creative Academic Blogs”

By December 31, 2014 Research, Teaching No Comments

I’ve been engaged in a collaborative blogging project with my students at DAAP this semester.  They have been producing their “creative academic blogs” and I have been blogging alongside them as an artist/learner/teacher and researcher.  For ARTE 6012, I planned a range of assignments and projects that make use of tumblr and its multimedia blogging platform as a space for learning.  Through the blogging project, numerous outcomes have emerged for students and myself:

  • Active construction of new knowledge
  • Representation of oneself as an artist/student/teacher and researcher
  • Establishment of connections between course content and experiences outside the classroom
  • Increased quality and quantity of interaction amongst an inquiring community of learners/makers
  • Meta-reflection to “make sense” of the semester-long learning journey, traversing multiple courses and various experiences
  • Creation of blog posts that show and discuss “works in progress”, artists statements, course reading reflections, intersections between theory and practice, research/inquiry and field experiences

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From my perspective as an artist/learner/teacher and researcher, tumblr functions as a window into the learning and artistic practices of my students.  It has expanded my opportunity to know and “see” my students in a comprehensive manner, pushing beyond the formal structural boundaries of a classroom environment with rigid temporal constraints.  It has strengthened the overall educational experience for me as an artist/learner/teacher and researcher.  When the learning community is actively engaged with the technology, there is an increased ability to meet with Others in a common space that bridges traditional interactions in the classroom with knowledge and understandings that are constructed and produced in the “in-between spaces” (studio, community, home, digital, etc…).

I experience the blogging project as a student/learner who is engaged in a continuous process of “coming to know” the students in my course.  As I encounter the blogging content they create, I experience them pedagogically as teachers.  They are expressing knowledge, demonstrating artistic practices, experimenting with new concepts, critically reflecting on society and culture, documenting their experiences and generating artifacts of inquiry.  This project allows me to challenge students individually, based on their own interests, abilities and experiences, which is an asset for teaching/learning that can be carried over into discussions in the classroom, in the digital community and in direct feedback for projects.

In addition to encountering my students as pre-service educators, the blogging project provides me with the opportunity to understand my students as artistic practitioners and to engage them as intellectuals in pursuit of knowledge. By prioritizing the representation and exploration of the “artistic identity” alongside the student and teacher-to-be, we are able to focus on a holistic project of identity formation within the space of teacher education where the “artist” resists fading away into the background as part of the professional socialization process.

In the attached images, I am attempting to map out and conceptualize the blogging project as I’ve experienced it, while also attempting to position-take with the students’ perspective.  This is a rough draft and also very messy. I have numerous additional ideas to develop. I also hope to engage those students who are interested in providing input/participation into this research/inquiry project in order to generate a more complex and layered understanding of the relational and educational dynamics of the collaborative blogging project.  I anticipate my continued effort to reflect on, critically analyze and theorize this experience over the coming months as part of my regular blogging, artistic and academic writing/thinking practices.

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