CoverIntroductionList of Author Blogs and Twitter AccountsIndex by AuthorIndex by TopicLicensing Information1. Innovation & Disruption25 Years of Ed TechIf We Were Really Serious about Educational TechnologyWe Can't Let Educators Off the HookInterventionsWaiting for O SupermanA Field Guide to "Jobs that Don't Exist Yet"A Definition of Emerging Technologies for EducationInnovation in Higher Education ... and Other Blasts from the PastTo Lecture Capture or Not to Lecture Capture?Possible Futures for Innovation and Technology in Higher EducationThis is Not the Online Learning You (or We) are Looking ForReclaiming Disruption2. Openness & SharingInto the OpenDefining the 'Open' in Open Content and Open Educational ResourcesExploring the Open Knowledge LandscapePlanning to Share Versus Just SharingThe Access Compromise and the 5th ROpen Textbooks? UGH.My Open Textbook: Pedagogy and PracticeRemix, Mashups, Aggregation, Plagiarism Oh MyCrossing the Field Boundaries: Open Science, Open Data & Open EducationThe CCK08 MOOCOERs: The Good, the Bad and the UglyWhat's Right and What's Wrong about Coursera-Style MOOCsOpening Up Open PedagogyOpen Pedagogy and a Very Brief History of the ConceptInternational Something: Why You Should Care #DigPedDoes Open Pedagogy Require OER?Pragmatism vs. Idealism and the Identity Crisis of OER AdvocacyOpen Ends?The Fallacy of 'Open'3. Identity & ParticipationThe Question Should be: Why Are You *Not* BloggingThe Kindness of BloggingAn Introduction to Connective KnowledgeRhizomatic EducationA History of Knowledge, Distributed Cognition, and the PhDSome Observations on PLE DiagramsE-Learning 2.0The Role of Personality in EducationDigital IdentitiesKithNobody's Version of Dumbsomething is rotten in the state of ... TwittercliqueonomicsColonisers and Edupunks (&C.)Digital Trespass and Critical Literacy #OER174. Equity & PowerThe Golden Age of Education that Never WasBlackboard Patents the LMSThe Glass BeesWhat Do We Owe Students When We Collect Their Data - A ResponseAI is Coming for Your Instructional and Learning Design Jobs, ApparentlyMOOCs and Directing an Academic FieldThe Audacity: Thrun Learns a Lesson and Students PayThe Lower Ed Ecosystem: Bootcamps Edition#BreakOpen Breaking OpenOpen Cyborgs at #ALTCPlatform Literacy in a Time of Mass GaslightingWhy We Shouldn't Let Economists Play with EducationConnectivity as PovertyReproducing Marginality?Inclusion AgainOER, Equity, and Implicit Creative RedliningFor Now, Our OwnConcluding ThoughtsAppendicesA List of Some Great EdTech BlogsRecommendations for Formal Learning

The Kindness of Blogging

Editor's Note

This was originally posted to Sheila MacNeill's blog [] on February 6, 2019.

Photo by Robert Baker [] on Unsplash []

My blog is always at the back of mind, quite often I deliberately put it there as I haven’t found the time to write anything and post!  Last week, a couple of things made me start to reflect on my blog and my blogging journey (again).

Firstly the next PressEd conference [] call for submissions is open. I watched this twitter conference from a bit of a distance last year and felt the very positive tsunami of twitter love for it from both presenters and delegates. Then I was in a room with both Natalie Lafferty [] (conference co-organiser) and Anne-Marie Scott at a QAA Scotland Enhancement theme meeting (note to self – should write a blog post about that). They very skilfully shepherded a conversation to a point where I almost talked myself into submitting something.

Later in the week Lorna Campbell wrote, probably the best post [] about academic blogging I’ve read, based on her own experience and the work she is leading at Edinburgh just now.  If you’ve ever thought about blogging but still are a bit unsure -just read the post and go for it.

In the post, Lorna mentions a few of her favourite academic bloggers and I was thrilled to be included in there, to feel valued by my peers and community.  That made me think again on notions of academic kindness []which I reflected on after the recent SocMedHE conference.  For me one of the most rewarding parts of blogging is when people either link to a post of mine,  or when colleagues like Kate Bowles []point their students to my blog, or when people take the time to leave a comment. When colleagues such as Frances Bell [] leave a comment on a post, they always enrich the original post and push forward my thinking.  

All these acts of engagement with my, often quite rambling posts, is such as motivator to keep writing. It helps validate my thought processes and my own sense of worth and value. 

I think that that level of open, reciprocal acknowledgement is a key part of academic practice in our digital, or even post digital age. We all need to support and encourage as diverse a range of voices as possible to be heard.

In this respect, Maha Bali’s blog has been a revelation to me, reminding me of inequalities, dominant voices [] and the need to think beyond my global north norms. Connecting with her through her blog has expanded my horizons hugely and allowed me to connect with a wider community and hear more diverse narratives around many, many aspects of educational development and practice.

I’ll never forget the first time I met Maha in person at the OER17 conference. She mentioned my response to a pre conference blog post she had written. We had a hug in the middle of her keynote. I know not everyone is a “huggy” type of person, but to me that personified academic kindness. We connected (and continue to do so) through our shared (and different) perspectives on a range of topics from digital capabilities to what to wear []at a conference keynote to open education.

There is also so much hope to be found in Maha’s writing too.   That kindness of critically sharing different perspectives is what I aspire to, and what I see in so many blogs from my network.  

Blogging for me has never been about SHOUTING or stats- though data about your blog can be “interesting”. It’s about sharing experiences, about enacting open practice through sharing work, thoughts, hopes and fears. 

Although I have been blogging for quite a while now, I do still struggle to keep in the blogging habit. Time is always the enemy, and over the last year I have been spending a bit of my writing time on somethings else. Also, having spent many years finding my voice, recently the world has seemed such a crazy place that it has almost silenced me [].

However there is something about the freedom of writing in a blog that just keeps me going.  I love the freedom from the norms and standards of the tyranny of a  peer reviewed academic article.  The freedom to think aloud and have the power to publish when and where I choose to.

On reflection, I feel that my sustained engagement with blogging has been a key part of personal and professional and personal development process. The act of blogging has been a critical part of my own agency and sense of continuously developing, reflecting and understanding of my own praxis.

So I think I may have now just about convinced myself that I should submit  to pressed this year, and I want to thank  you, dear reader for all your kindness in reading this blog over the years.

Suggested Citation

MacNeill, S. (2019). The Kindness of Blogging. In R. Kimmons, EdTech in the Wild: critical blog posts. EdTech Books. Retrieved from

CC BY-NC: This work is released under a CC BY-NC license, which means that you are free to do with it as you please as long as you (1) properly attribute it and (2) do not use it for commercial gain.

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