It's been a while between thinks, it seems.
'Public' ones, in any case.
In one respect that ought to be slightly alarming, considering that, not long after the latest post in March this year, I left a blended role of classroom + eLearning to take up a position as a Learning Designer, which in turn ripened into a role as a Senior Manager for overall online course development (to a national cohort of more than 55,000 students, no less), and has more recently taken a turn into a role as Instructional Designer in yet another sector.
It's not all that inspiring to look at my social media output over the past 8 months (a fat zero) and line that up against the sorts of roles I was involved in during that period (involving titles with 'learning', 'online', 'course', 'development' and 'instructional' in them).
However, in other ways I guess it is understandable. Add 3 hours of commuting to your day, and the unique privacy issues associated with working for private or corporate training organisations, and you still have time and inclination to do plenty of thinking, but not much for pondering out (blog) loud.
Added to that, I got an iPad Mini in May, and from that moment onwards found the whole notion of sitting in front of a desktop computer a rather pointless exercise (unless it was at work and for work). I'm not sure about you, but I find mobile tablet use (not only the device but the times and places you suddenly find yourself using it) encourages more in the way of consumption and perhaps sharing of content, but not all that much in the way of creation. Blogging was something I'd always done at/on the desktop; my wholehearted conversion to tablet saw the blogging bug flutter away somewhere too inconvenient to get to...
In any case, I may be back in the blog saddle (perhaps I can convince myself it can be done from/on an iPad mini...), and I've gone ahead and done some updating and redecorating.
The name English Raven had to change, I suppose - for a variety of reasons. For one, I'm no longer predominantly involved in the teaching of (or learning design associated with) English - as a language (first, second or other). I also, with some degree of sadness, let my English Raven website -- after 13 years of web life -- vanish into the Internet ether. Far too big, too out of date and (in the end) too expensive to maintain. It seemed a little inappropriate to try and hold onto either website resource or moniker. They're a proud part of my past as an educator involved in diverse communities of practice, but new directions and change in general make a sort of overall 'shedding' feel both appropriate and refreshing.
So where to now?
It feels right to now dedicate the blog and its musings, mutterings and flutterings to the broader idea of educational design in general, but e-Learning in particular. Most of the posts over the past couple of years have already headed quite distinctly in that direction anyway, so it was more of a matter of committing the older nest(s) to appropriate archives and giving the blog a renewed and more targeted focus.
And what's in a (new) name then?
It's still kind of fun to look back at where the English Raven name came from, but I have to admit I did struggle in trying to come up with a new name this time around.
In the end I went with what I want the blog to both do and describe: Learn/ing. Hard to come up with something original and sticky from there, but it was actually the thought of 'sticky' (in the sense of 'sticks') that helped me out. Twigs are living sticks, I suppose, and they can be both small branches or shoots from a larger branch. And 'to twig' is to get or understand something - usually quite suddenly.
Hence, the blog is now renamed to represent the idea of small branches and shoots (of the learning kind), but also the belief that learning does actually represent or facilitate 'twigging' - suddenly grasping new things.
Welcome to Learning Twigs!