Improve your learning fitness

Photo by Steve Brophy
Photo by Steve Brophy

I’m lucky enough to be writing this week’s post from a hotel room in Washington DC as I’m making my way to the 2015 ISTE conference.  As usual, jet lag is working over time and I am up and about at “stupid o’ clock” in the morning.  I’ve used this time to take in the sights of Washington whilst running.  Running for me has always been a way for me to collect and gather my thoughts.  As my legs and arms get into a natural rhythm, I find myself sinking into my own thoughts and reflecting.  As I was thinking this morning on my run past the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial and the World War Two memorial, I thought about how blogging and running were related.  I was never a natural long distance runner and would struggle to run a couple of kms/miles without stopping.  When I started blogging, I too would only be able to keep it up for a little while before I stopped.  With running, motivation was a factor and so it wasn’t until I entered a fun run that I had the motivation to keep training and to build conditioning.  With blogging, the #youredustory challenge has been the equivalent of the fun run.  It has provided continuous motivation to keep “in training”.  I know that I have one goal for the week and that it is an easily achievable goal.  Like running, the more conditioning I get, the better I perform.  With running, it is faster times, longer distances and quicker recovery.  With blogging, it is an easier writing flow, a stronger and more reflective voice and an increased “want” to connect with other educators.

This week’s training asks us to “write a letter to someone in your PLN and ask if they would join Share #YourEdustory?”  As usual, I’m tweaking the prompt and putting my spin on it.  I can’t give you the answer to why you should join in the challenge but I can share my “why”.  For me, like running, blogging gives me the space to reflect, to think back, project forward and to digest the happenings of the week.  It has allowed me to grow as a learner and is perfectly summed up by Biggs in the below paper (if anyone has a link to the whole article, please share in the comments).

“Reflection is indicative of deep learning, and where teaching and learning activities such as reflection are missing… only surface learning can result.”

Biggs 1999 in King 2002

Writing a blog can be equal parts catharsis and hard slog.  Sometimes the ideas flow and sometimes the well is dry.  With running, sometimes that hill is hard work and other times I can power up it.  It is all about perseverance.  I know that at the end of the run that I will feel amazing.  Endorphins rush through my body and I feel that I have worked out both mind and body.  When I post a blog, I get the same rush.  The more I write, I better I feel I perform.

If you are someone who is wanting to improve their learning fitness, use the challenge as your training partner.  If you can only train once a fortnight, then just do that.  Use the prompts as your training session.  Your learning fitness will grow as a result and you will find that you want to train/post more.  You will deepen your learning through reflection and grow your voice and network.  This post is not targeted at one person in my PLN but is an open letter to all of my PLN.  I look forward to seeing you out on the track.




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