What was whereisab for?

In 2005, I started to keep a website, largely to help the people I was working with at the time. The idea behind it was really simple – have one place that you can put all your resources, and keep a journal of the places you visit.

The Collected Rambings of an Education Support Officer (ICT)

The original banner of the first incarnation of whereisab


How did it develop?

On a trip to Alan November’sBuilding Learning Communities’ in the summer of 2004, Will Richardson introduced me to blogging. It wasn’t until more than a year later that I actually saw the benefit of doing so though. I started to keep a blog on blogger.com (it’s still there – I can’t bring myself to delete the early stuff!), and framed it in a larger website that held video and pdf resources to show people how to use numerous different IT applications.

Blogger was home to the blog up until September 2006, when I took the plunge and set up my own installation of WordPress. I continued to blog there up until the summer of 2009, but the content of the WordPress blog is now assigned to the annals of history, due to a ‘misunderstanding’ between me and my then host (by ‘misunderstanding’ read they changed their terms and conditions, failed to let me know, deleted my content – when I then paid them what was owed, they then chose to rip me off for even more money to release my domain names and renew a subscription that I had categorically not asked them to do – not that I’m bitter or anything… phew – that feels better to get off my chest!)

Aside from the technical change from blogger to WordPress, and a change in host from Webfusion to … (I refuse to give them any acknowledgement at all by even typing their name), the site went through a number of different ‘looks’. It started with purple swirls, then moved to probably my favourite which was greys and purples all based around a fabulous photo of Craigendoran pier (which at the time was the view from my sitting room window), before ending with green smoke on a white background.

Craigendoran Pier header blog image

The second incarnation used Craigendoran Pier as its background


Why ‘whereisab’?

Why did I choose the name ‘whereisab’? With such a common name, by 2005 andrewbrown.co.uk was already taken, and I wanted a name for a site that summed up it’s purpose better than a statement of vanity. As I was doing a lot of travelling around Argyll & Bute in those days due to my work, it seemed to make sense to name the site after where I was, and what I was doing. Double bonus I suppose that I have the same initials as my then employer!

It certainly worked – a lot of people started to read and subscribe to my ‘collected ramblings’, and a fair few joined in the conversation. Did it make a difference? I’m not sure. A lot of people used the resources, which hopefully helped them make use of technology in the classroom, but I think most of what I had to say wasn’t particularly insightful, or indeed all that reflective on actual practice.

turquoise smoke header image

The third incarnation used turquoise smoke as the background

Why did it end?

I chose to stop the site for three reasons:

First of all: purpose. At the time of creating the site, my then employer wasn’t as ‘web-ready’ as they needed to be. I’m glad to say that changed, so the site stopped performing the purpose I intended, and largely became a place for me to think out-loud. By the time 2009 came around, my then employer took issue with employees discussing business on personal sites, so it started to fall dormant. By 2009 also, Twitter had taken over as the location where I said most online, and by 2010, Glow took this position. I simply didn’t need a site where I discussed education, as there are so many other better ones out there.

Secondly: name. Whilst the name seemed a great idea in 2005, by 2010 it was irrelevant. I came to the conclusion that the answer to the question posed in my URL was obvious – where is ab? Probably sitting at a desk somewhere. Besides, with the greatest of respect to you, dear reader, ‘where’ ab is, isn’t really anyone’s business but my own, and those close to me.

Thirdly: ego. I read Susan Maushart’s book ‘The winter of our disconnect’ in 2010, and decided to try a slightly smaller scale experiment for myself. I gave up publicly visible online work, to see how it affected my life. Two interesting things emerged from this – 1)I found I had more time for people in person, and more time to read/relax/enjoy, and 2)next to nobody noticed my online disappearance! Of my 1,000 followers on twitter, only a handful actually asked where I’d gone. I felt the site didn’t give a true reflection of who I was online, as it was so deeply linked to my role in education. I decided therefore, that the best thing to do would be end it. So there.

What did people say about it?

I first became aware of Andrew at the time of the first blossoming of the ScotEduBlog world. He was part of a small group of blog evangelists who grouped digitally and occasionally in the real world. At the time I was just beginning to grope my way out of the staffroom into what is now called a PLN but I still think of as ‘some pal’s. Andrews site had an extra bit of polish often missing from bloggers who grab a theme out of the box, or in my own case hack up a continuing experiment. Andrew has in person and online a distinctive voice, principled and serious and I read every post he made. The number of posts diminished over time but I kept reading, and thinking about what Andrew wrote. – John Johnston

I was never concerned about where Andrew Brown happened to be on any particular day. I always knew that wherever he was I could rely on him to be doing an excellent job driving forward innovation. Whereisab was a groundbreaking blog, full of insights that helped me make sense of the rapidly changing world of learning and technology. Whereisab always went beyond the personal as Andrew, ever the educator, sought out the significant learnings that he encountered on his journey through life. – Laurie O’Donnell

One of the longest running Scot Edu Blogs on the web that continued to transform, evolve and periodically be digitally remastered. Written by a trusted voice whereisab.co.uk was one of the most trusted ScotEduBlogs on the web for a long time. – Ollie Bray

Check it out: http://whereisab.co.uk