Saturday, 28 December 2013

A tentative entry into the Blogosphere

As the end of 2013 approaches, I'm doing the usual stock-take of both professional and personal "to do" lists, and giving myself the inevitable appraisal that some things are about where I want / had hoped them to be, one or two are maybe slightly ahead of the target and several could "do better" in 2014. However one thing that will remain notable for me about 2013, is the extent to which I have upped my use of social media for professional purposes. I guess I had been in the contemplative stage of Prochaska and DiClemente " Stages of Change" model for some time, but was encouraged and motivated by Dorothy Bishop’s 2011 blog post “A gentle introduction to Twitter for the apprehensive academic” and so decided to actually start using the Twitter account I had set up some 12 or 18 months earlier. 

Yes, Twitter can be yet another form of procrastination, however it has also:

  •  strengthened existing academic connections, 
  •  introduced me to “new” academic colleagues whose work is cognate to mine, 
  •  exposed me to new academic articles and opinion pieces that (a) I would not have otherwise seen and (b) have been of material value to me in my work (i.e. not just of    passing but forgettable interest), 
  • somewhat alleviated the tyranny of distance for me as a “Down Under” academic, and
  • provided momentary light relief and amusement.

So – Twitter and I are a a bit of an item, and hang out together, at least for brief periods, on most days.

I’ve (mostly) got my head around hashtags and shrinking URLs, and almost enjoy the challenge of brevity….and believe me, for someone who LOVES words, 140 characters can be a challenge. However it’s not always possible to do justice to one’s thoughts and the shades of grey (a term I use with some reservation these days) that exist in one’s thinking around important academic debates, and that’s why I have taken to the Blogosphere, in the hope that I can expand my ideas a little further, and have them further expanded and challenged by those who share my interests.

     Amongst other things, I plan to blog on 

  •  early language acquisition and social (dis)advantage  
  • making the transition to literacy in the first three years of school 
  • challenges in applying evidence in the early years classroom  
  • the linguistic challenges encountered by marginalised young people and how these might be overcome  
  • restorative justice conferencing and hidden communication impairment  
  • the need for speech-language pathology to shift from a purely clinical to a public health (population-based) focus  
  • responding to the developmental needs of youth offenders 
  • teaching communication skills to medical students  
  • responding to the mental health needs of medical students 
  • life in the academy 
  • anything else that takes my fancy and I think others might be interested in.

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