BLOGTALK NOTES: A Practical Introduction Into the World of Ed-Blogging (DRAFT).

the single biggest problem facing education today is that our Digital Immigrant instructors, who speak an outdated language (that of the pre-digital age), are struggling to teach a population that speaks an entirely new language
(Prensky, “Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants,? 2).

The Tip of the Iceberg:
This is meant to be a very brief and practical introduction to blogging. It is by no means exhaustive, but is more like walking into the shallow end of a pool. The water is nice, but it gets a lot deeper if you want it to. If you are interested, I would suggest you check out some of the ‘recommended reading’ list below, as well as some of the recommended ed-blogs.

What is a Blog?
Some excerpts from a blog entry by the same name:
The term ‘blog’ is short for web log, which is basically a net based website that is organised in chronological format. David Tosh and Ben Werdmuller offer a more precise definition in “EPortfolios and Weblogs: One Vision for ePortfolio Development:?

Ethos of the weblog:
A weblog is defined as any web page with content organised according to date […] Weblogs have enormous strengths as a communication medium. This is in part due to some of the technology underlying them, but it is also related to the ease of publishing. A weblog author can press a button to load their weblog client, type some words into a box, press another button – and it’s posted up for the world to see. This immediacy and ease of use is paralleled only by email, which may go some way to explain weblogs’ increasing popularity. (“Eportfolios,? 3-4)

The inception of blog technology allows access to those who are not necessarily ‘net literate:’ “[Blogs allow] average users with no technical ability to easily maintain a regularly updated web presence? ( “Learning Landscape,? 4). The implications of this user friendly interface are that they enable efficient and free access to net real estate that is open to anyone who has access to a computer with an internet connection

Source: http://dcsenglish.edublogs.org/2005/10/24/what-is-a-blog/

Who Uses Blogs? Some Quick Stats.
Technorati , a blog dedicated search engine, currently monitors 22.4 million blogs and 1.8 billion links (accessed Dec. 06/05).

– “Microsoft announced [April 10, 05] more than 4.5 million spaces (their term for weblogs) have been created. That’s 3 million added in about 90 days, since 11 January 2005? ( weblogs.about.com .

– “80,000 new blogs [are created] every day? (Seth Godin, “Who’s There?? 6).

– In the last U.S. Presidential election, parties used blogs to present their platform and as a propaganda tool ( http://epnweb.org/blogmeister/index.php?blog= , accessed Dec 06/05)

– There is now a blog reporter in the White House Press Corps (Source: Time Magazine, Mar. 21, 2005 .

– Reporters for ‘Global News’ riding along on campaign busses use blogs, as well as digital phones with photo and video capability and are able to post from these.

– The majority of people using blogs are under the age of 19 (somewhere around 90%).

Harvard ( http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/ ) and Stanford ( http://cyberlaw.stanford.edu/blogs/ ) now widely use blogs.

My Blog Examples:
My own ed-blogging experience (after much cynicism, research, and reading) began by creating a personal blog:
Palimpsest Redux:
https://jamesmatthew.wordpress.com/
I strongly suggest you do the same if you are interested in using blogs for the classroom. Doing so will provide you with experience, practice, and insight into how blogging works. It will also provide students with a relevant and personal example of appropriate use.
(ie: not using full names or giving out personal information, appropriate discussion and topics, use of proper grammar and spelling {using a word processor to compose and spell check work prior to posting})

The next step I took was to change my course homepage from a traditional webpage to a blog format:
DCS Literature 12 blog homepage:
http://dcsenglish.edublogs.org

My reasons (very briefly) for doing so are as follows:
1. Using a homepage was a great communicative tool for my classes, but I just spent too much time staring at html code and trying to figure out why it didn’t look the way it was supposed to . The switch to a blog homepage was a logical step, and has also greatly increased efficiency in communication. Now I simply write a post or add a link with ease (ie: no coding required, it is done for you).

2. Using a blog as a homepage models appropriate use and provides an opportunity for students to get familiar with the look and feel of a blog. Students can see first hand what a ‘purposeful’ blog is, and also interact with it on a daily basis. This eases students who are not familiar with blogs into familiarity.

3. Connection with a potentially global audience and conversation. This helps deconstruct the walls of the classroom.(see: https://jamesmatthew.wordpress.com/2005/10/13/why-i-advocate-for-social-software-in-the-classroom/ ).

The next step in this process for me was to introduce a team blog, where students are equal contributors of content.
DCS Lit. 12 Team Blog:
http://herot.learnerblogs.org/

Let’s Get Practical: Other Ed-Blogs:
Question: Why do I need a blog?
Answer: You don’t…

But with one, communication with students and parents becomes simple and efficient. You can easily (read: cut and paste) post assignments, course updates, reading schedules, etc.

Phys-Ed: team updates, press, practice schedules, tournament updates and coverage
Bible: discussion space, post assignments, have interactive assignments where students post comments and assignments via the net vs. paper.

Socials: Connecting with the outside world through following blogs such as “Radio Free Nepal”, reporting and discussing global issues, social justice reporting (see: Reporters Without Borders ( http://www.rsf.org )

Examples of Other Ed-blogs :

Science: http://aluminium.edublogs.org/
, http://woodchurchscience.edublogs.org/

Organic Chemistry 11 http://chem242.blogspot.com/

Phys-Ed: http://central.hcrhs.k12.nj.us/Bezsylko/ ,Dance: http://blogs.its.carleton.edu/pe168/

Social Studies (gr. 6 class): http://room613talk05.edublogs.org/

, Social Justice issues: http://freenepal.blogspot.com/ Radio Free Nepal, http://www.socialjusticeinc.com/blog/blog.html , http://caser.edublogs.org/

English and Math: http://llfrizzell.edublogs.org/about/

AP Calculus: http://calhelp.blogspot.com/

Principal’s Blog: http://blashdebbie.blogspot.com/

English: http://weblogs.hcrhs.k12.nj.us/beesbook/ (This novel study occurred online and the teacher actually got the author of the text to drop in and share comments on the blog!)

Journalism: http://central.hcrhs.k12.nj.us/journ2/

Library: http://usiplib.edublogs.org/ , http://scilsresx.rutgers.edu/njasl/

Art: (the best I could find) http://glowlab.blogs.com/blogart/ , http://www.archinect.com/schoolblog/blog.php?id=C0_200_39

Home Ec: (for inspiration) : http://www.elise.com/recipes/ ,

For a more exhaustive list of classroom examples, check out:
http://www.weblogg-ed.com/my_weblogs A master at work. Will Richardson is an Ed-Blogging guru. If you want to be inspired, check out his class blogs that he lists.

http://www.weblogg-ed.com/best_practices

The Process of Creation:
A walkthrough of signing up for a blog, logging in, changing its’ look, creating a link, a category, and writing a first post.
Moderating comments: How to.
This will be demonstrated during the meeting using ‘edublogs’. The process is the same for using ‘learnerblogs’.

Note: Blogger lacks the ability to have categories, and simple links. You can link, but you have to know html basics (talk to me if you want to know how– it is pretty simple).

Sign Me Up (free blog resources):
Edublogs–for teaching professionals:
http://www.edublogs.org/

Learnerblogs–for students:
http://www.learnerblogs.org

Blogger– a simple blog platform http://www.blogger.com/

The I.E. 5.0 problem — If the computer you or your students use to blog with is running Internet Explorer 5.0 or below, then you will not be able to use ‘Edublogs’ and ‘Learnerblogs,’ as posts will not be fully published and will be lost. Blogger may be the solution to this, or upgrading to a more current version of IE (5.5 or above).

Recommended Reading:

Prensky, Mark. “Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants? From “On the Horizon? (NCB University Press, Vol. 9 No. 5, October 2001) © 2001 Marc Prensky.

Ganley, Barbara. “BLOGTALK Paper?

Godin, Seth. “Who’s There? Seth Godin’s Incomplete Guide to Blogs and the New Web.? ©2005, Do You Zoom, Inc.

David Tosh and Ben Werdmuller. “Creation of a Learning Landscape: Weblogging and Social Networking in the Context of E-portfolios.? 15/07/2004 . University of Edinburgh, (draft).

McHugh, Josh. “Syncing Up With the IKid.” Edutopia ,Oct. 05.
Siemens, George. It’s Not What it is, it’s What it Enables (http://www.connectivism.ca/blog/37)

Recommended Ed. Blogs (Blogs as tools for Pro-D and deep thinking):
Will Richardson’s “Web Logg-ed?: http://www.weblogg-ed.com/

Barbara Ganley’s “Bg Blogging?: http://mt.middlebury.edu/middblogs/ganley/bgblogging/

Aaron Nelson’s “Teacher in Development” : http://teacherindevelopment.blogsome.com/

David Warlick’s “2 Cents Worth” : http://davidwarlick.com/2cents/

George Siemens’ “Connectivism Blog” : http://www.connectivism.ca/blog/

Graham Wegner’s “Teaching Generation Z” : http://gwegner.edublogs.org/

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7 thoughts on “BLOGTALK NOTES: A Practical Introduction Into the World of Ed-Blogging (DRAFT).

  1. James,
    Way to go man! I’ve heard many folks suggest that when you try to evangelize the blog, you should focus as much as you can on what it enables you to do, not so much on what it is. Let me see if I can pass you a link…hang on…bingo…found it. (Gotta love del.icio.us man!) http://www.connectivism.ca/blog/37

    15 minutes isn’t much to work with, but I really like your idea to present with your blog. Way to go! I also like that you try to include blogs from all “walks of life” – this is relevant to you! You could also try to explore the professional development aspect..hey if you want to be a better teacher, blog! You’ll be amazed at what you learn.

    15 minutes. Hmmm. Influence others is partly about inspiring them. You go boy!

    Eagerly awaiting your results..and any chance on podcasting this?

  2. Pingback: woodchurchscience » we’ve been linked

  3. Thank you so much for your comments and suggestions.

    This is a great example of the ‘connectivity’ available to us all via the net and blogs!

    Aaron–thank you for the reading suggestion. I have added it to the ‘recommended reading’ list.
    Podcast….yes!! What a great idea. I have test driven it and will be doing a podcast of my presentation. thank you so much for that awesome suggestion!

    Jean-Claude- the screencast is outstanding! Thank you so much for the contribution of your knowledge. I am thinking this would be a great way to show/ introduce students to the blogger platform.

    Mike, Graham & woodchurchscience–thank you for making your site available to teachers like myself. Way to go on modelling appropriate use and immersion into tech as a supportive tool for teaching.

    I will be posting my podcast asap and my follow up comments on the presentation.

  4. Pingback: What is a blog? What is a weblog? / BLOGTALK NOTES: A Practical Introduction Into the World of Ed …

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