The Comment Challenge Final Reflection

I saw this and thought of us:

The 31 Day Comment Challenge has been all about peaceful exploration, even as the heroes of one of my favorite sci-fi-spoofing comics — Brewster Rockit — has been engaged in a war of commenting and blogging words with the visiting alien race.
For me, though, the entry into the Comment Challenge has been fruitful on so many levels. I really appreciate the thoughtfulness and support that the organizers — Sue Waters, Silvia Tolisano, Michele Martin and Kim Cofino — put into the activities. And they spent a lot of time making sure that everyone had some sort of comments and discussion going on. It was always a pleasure to open up my moderation bin (yep, I still have it in place) and see their names there, with an insightful comment.

external image comment_challenge_logo_2.png

So, what have I discovered?
  • I created a Commenting Invitation (which began as a policy) so that people who stumble across my little space in the world will know they can participate in discussions and reflection — I love many voices.
  • I use moderation for comments but many folks do not, and I am remaining where I am on this issue but I keep thinking about it. I guess, in the end, I need some sort of control, which is sometimes looked upon as a bad thing in the blogging world. I may reconsider this. Not yet, though.
  • I explored some new technology — including CoComment, which I like very much, and Seismic Video, which is easy to use and easy to embed for video comments, and some other tools that escape me right now. Thanks to everyone who shared and demonstrated the use of new ideas in the Comment Challenge.
  • I ventured far outside my normal blogging circles and found some wonderful places to explore and people to meet, and some of them have followed me back here to become part of the Day in a Sentence and other activities. I welcome all of you here.
  • I blogged in another language, which was a first for me, and quite a thrill. I had never even considered that before but with all the translation tools available, it seemed to work fine. I don’t think I inadvertently comment-bombed anyone.
  • Perhaps most important: I tried to look at my blog through new eyes as the daily activities were designed not only to empower us as visitors to other sites, but also to view our own site through the lens of a visitor — is it inviting? is it conducive to discussion? do we project some personality/persona/brand/voice? why are we blogging anyway?
I will take these lessons, mull them over and continue to refine who I am as a blogger and commenter, knowing that the two go hand-in-hand together. I have responsibilities on both side of that fence and I hope I can keep them up.
One of the final activities was to think about how we can use what we have learned in the classroom. I already do have a Commenting Guidelines that I use with my students but I think many of us struggle with ways to show students the importance of constructive comments in building a relationship with another writer or nurturing a community of writers. As a teacher, perhaps we need to make sure all of the scaffolding is in place to make the experience of blogging and commenting a supportive and nurturing experience for our students. We need to shake them loose from the “IM” speak and shallow comments, and move them into a richer world of writing and interaction. Blogs are just one platform for this, but comments and reaction expands the sense of audience and publishing considerably.
What did you learn from your Comment Challenge experience or from just dropping by from time to time? (vicarious learning is perfectly acceptable).
Peace (in appreciation),
  1. What a great cartoon! not offended, we are an army of …. bloggers.
    Yes, would be nice to do a recap of this challenge lessons.

    Great job

  2. Tena koe Kevin.

    Like you I commented in another language spawned out of a bit of software on the Internet. I made two comments on the blog site. One in English, that I had sent some time ago and got no reply. The other was in the foreign language – Spanish.

    The response I got was an email, in very polite English, requesting that I remove the offending translation.

    Peace in cats. 🙂

    Ka kite

  3. Hi Kevin,

    The lessons I have learned are similar to yours, though I did not blog in another language — I just don’t feel comfortable enough doing that. I guess it’s about control and command of language. I want to be understood very clearly, and that’s just not possible in another language unless I am fluent in it. I’m passably fluent in French, and I find even that to be intimidating. I applaud those who are able to comment in languages other than their native tongue — it is difficult!

    One of the most insightful things for me, like you, was the use of video comments. Video is a medium I am learning more and more about, and definitely need more experience in! But what a great communication opportunity! 🙂

  4. Kevin, it’s been great to visit some many blogs to see what people have learned over the past month. What’s even better is that I’m still learning! I like how some of the learnings have been similar but many are different, and that’s great.

    I appreciate your thinking about the scaffolding required to make blogging a rewarding and authentic experience and that we need to ween students off IM, SMS etc. and to get them to engage thoughtfully and reflectively. We need to get them off the ‘technology’ and into the language of reading and writing. I’ve come across a book, “Proust and the Squid: The story of science of the reading brain”, (by Maryanne Wolf) in which the question is raised as to the importance of reading (and literacy) as our transition to a digital culture accelerates. Interesting stuff.

  5. Hi
    Video is quite different and there is a comfort factor that goes along with it, including the ability to talk from your head (not always easy). But I do like seeing someone from time to time, hearing their authentic voice and watching the facial expressions. So, I see video commenting as having some value — not to replace words, but to complement them.

    Colin, thanks for the recommendation for the books. I appreciate it. The brain is a funny and amazing place.


  6. Kevin,

    I have in my quotation collection this gem, which seems to track with your cartoon:

    “People used to believe that a million monkeys at a million keyboards would produce the works of Shakespeare. Now, with the internet, we know that’s not true.”

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