Saturday, September 12, 2009

Why Blog?

Why Blog?
This is a post for my JHU Technology and the New Science of Educators course. I was trying to decide how to present information about what a blog is and I decided that what better way than to do it than within a blog post! Plus I can encourage folks to respond to my blog, since they are getting graded on their class participation. (of course anyone out there in the blogosphere is welcome to comment as well) Wow, I love the power of being in education ;)

1) For anyone out there in the blogosphere who happens upon this, take a look at this video from Commoncraft on what a blog is (my class should have already viewed this from my ppt.


2) Take a look at the blogs I have tagged on www.delicious.com (we will talk about Social Bookmarking in a couple of weeks)
Make some observations about some of the blogs you look at:

* What do you see as common components of all/most of these blogs?
* What are some things that may be very different from one blog to another?
* What are some of the audiences for these blogs?
* What are the tone of the blogs?
* Are all blogs equal? Why or why not?
* What other comments do you have about these blogs? (Remember you will be choosing a blog to follow for 2 weeks--it can be any of these or any other blog related to your educational interests)
* How are these education related blogs similar or different from any blogs you may have looked at on a more personal interest level (ie, politics, news, sports, etc)

I look forward to your comments!

22 comments:

Robin said...

What do you see as common components of all/most of these blogs?

I think what is a common component of these blogs are that they are all geared towards education, either towards teachers and educators or directly to students.

* What are some things that may be very different from one blog to another?

Some of these blogs seemed more professional than others, but that's not surprising. Some of these blogs are more news-oriented with a more global or national perspective. Others are really from the classroom...including student comments. Some of the blogs were more immediately interactive with students.

* What are some of the audiences for these blogs?

The audiences tended towards either educators as a whole or students in the class.

* What are the tone of the blogs?
What's great about blogs is that they all have different tones, just like teachers!

* Are all blogs equal? Why or why not?
See above...all blogs and all teachers are not created equal. And because blogs rely on participation from commenters (especially student/classroom blogs), if the comments don't add to the discussion, the blogs tend to fail. Or at least, they aren't as robust as they can be.

* What other comments do you have about these blogs? (Remember you will be choosing a blog to follow for 2 weeks--it can be any of these or any other blog related to your educational interests)
Looking at the blogs designed for classrooms, you can really see how the quality of the questioning and the amount of participation in the comments section can kind of make or break the quality of the blog and its overall usefulness.

* How are these education related blogs similar or different from any blogs you may have looked at on a more personal interest level (ie, politics, news, sports, etc)
I think people "police" themselves more on blogs that are more focused. Through content, the number of participants is smaller, and people are naturally interested in the topic. I've found that news and gossip blogs (yep, I read them) attract some of the strangest and most inappropriate comments.

Ev said...

1. Each blog is done with a typical site such as google/wordpress. Each of these blogs has a comment section. Some comment sections are used more than others. Each blog is either for the students, teachers, teachers around the world, or all. Some blogs serve as a homework posting spot for some classes, where as others seem to be formally integrated into core subjects of the students school lives,
2. Some blogs are used as homework postings, some are used as discussion sites for members of the same class/grade level and others are used much like typical blogs, where they are there to emit news from around the world wide web. Also some are there simply to provide “link dumps”. Link dumps are a huge problem I have with many of the blogs I read because it takes no originality.
3. The main audience of all of these blogs is surfers of the world wide web. I am sure if the owners of these blogs looked up the google searches used to find their blogs they would find some interesting things. Most of the blogs are for students and teachers.
4. Each of the blogs (much like everyone in humanity) as a tone of it’s own. Some are there to inform, whereas others are there to provide information on assignments and happenings around the United States of America.
5. The comment I have for these blogs is that I would never follow any of them (except for class). The reason being many of them are not local to me (Baltimore area). The Baltimore Sun Education Blog (dibs if no one else has chosen this one to follow for the assignment) is a blog I follow and enjoy following mainly because I work for a school system that it covers and used to work for the main school system that many of the blog posts used on the blog originated from.
6. These blogs are nothing like the blogs I follow. The blogs I follow have to deal with sports (Pittsburgh sports mainly….go . The other blogs I follow are cheesy celebrity blogs. The last type of blog I follow is blogs that I would call nerdy humor. I use blogs to escape from the world of teaching and everything else that is going on in my life. To have a chance to Pittsburgh Penguins or how the LHC is going to kill us all is sublime.

Beth Poss said...

Ev,
(Is this Jonathan?) I agree that blogs only used as a links posting are not original--and boring! I have actually been trying to use Twitter for that type of resource sharing lately. I prefer blogs that make you think philosophically about a subject--I just stumbled across one the other day that I am probably going to recycle for a discussion for our class, but you can go ahead and look at the original posting, if you like on Dangerously Irrevalant http://www.dangerouslyirrelevant.org/2007/04/key_question.html,
Go for it with a local blog like the Balt. Sun :)

Ev said...

sorry beth, this is Don....i just go by EV when i comment on blogs on blogspot.

Beth Poss said...

Thanks, Don (I do need you all to give me some indication of who you really are--1st name only is fine--so that I know if you responded or not!)
I just came across a nice resource listing blogs in different subject areas, that you might want to take a look at if you have not yet found a blog you want to follow, or if you are just looking for something specific to your interest area. Check out the Moving Forward wiki at http://movingforward.wikispaces.com/Education+Blogs+by+Discipline

Anonymous said...

OLA

## What do you see as common components of all/most of these blogs?
I think the most common of these blogs work for make discussion between people, upload and download files. Most of the blogs is given the opportunity for the visitors to express their views and comments. Blogs are updated every month or every day it is depend about the bloggers.

## What are some things that may be very different from one blog to another?
The different from one blog to another based on the reason for why the group establishes their blog. Some of blogs for professional work who uses it for classes, projects, Business, or serious issues and some for unprofessional work who uses it public news, sport, family, personal or upload and download music and movies. Blog now becomes more popular.

## What are some of the audiences for these blogs?
The audience based on the type of blogs. For example, the audience for education blogs is the teachers and student, for personal is the general people, or for business is the businesses' person.

## What are the tone of the blogs?
Each blog has his tone. it depend on blogger or personal who creates the blogs. Many blogs gives the person who creates the blog to upload his tome.

## Are all blogs equal? Why or why not?
No. Not all blogs equal
Why
Every blog has his audiences, design, quality, tone and subject.

## What other comments do you have about these blogs? (Remember you will be choosing a blog to follow for 2 weeks--it can be any of these or any other blog related to your educational interests)
1.Blog is good way for making a communication between group.
2.It increases the education that can help student to discus, share the information with each other and keep touch between student and teachers.
3.Blog give you choice to create your own page to ask.

## How are these education related blogs similar or different from any blogs you may have looked at on a more personal interest level (ie, politics, news, sports, etc)
I am interest with blog news. It is a similar to education blogs work, but the different is design and quality of blogs.

OLA

Beth Poss said...

Ola,
It is good to notice the frequency of postings from bloggers. As you all will be following a blog for a 2 week time period, it would be good to follow someone who post fairly frequently--at least a couple of times a week, as opposed to someone (like me!) who only blogs infrequently.

Don said...

can we follow any blog we want for 2 weeks, or does it have to be an educational blog?

Dan said...

What do you see as common components of all/most of these blogs?
The blogs I looked at all had good intentions and tried to inform people. The voyager blog used questions for people to answer. The My Wonderful World Blog and the Teach Every Student blog sought to inform parents, teachers, students and administrators.

* What are some things that may be very different from one blog to another?
Some blogs may be easier to read and follow. The “My Wonderful World” blog was easier to read than the voyager blog. The font was bigger, and the colors were easier on the eyes. The MWW blog also was more informative. The “Teaching Every Student blog was also easy to read and useful for teachers.

* What are some of the audiences for these blogs?
The audience for the voyager class blog seems to be for students. The audience for My Wonderful World blog seems to be a wider education audience to include parents, students, teachers and administrators. The audience for “Teaching Every Student is teachers and parents.

* What are the tone of the blogs? The tone of the voyager blog was neutral. The tone of the My Wonderful World blog was excited, and positive. The tone of the “Teaching Every Student” blog was serious.

* Are all blogs equal? Why or why not?
All blogs are not equal. While some blogs could be written by everyday citizens. Other blogs could be written by scholars, CEO's or other experts. Some blogs could be written by people who are uninformed about what they are writing. While some could be written by people who have years of experience behind what they are writing.

* What other comments do you have about these blogs? (Remember you will be choosing a blog to follow for 2 weeks--it can be any of these or any other blog related to your educational interests)
Some of these blogs seem interesting and could provide some good ideas. I enjoyed reading about the elementary school principal and her MSA ideas on the My Wonderful World blogs.

* How are these education related blogs similar or different from any blogs you may have looked at on a more personal interest level (ie, politics, news, sports, etc)

A blog on the Redskins doesn't have links for blogs on other subjects. The site, www.fanblogs.com only has blogs on sports (every sport I think) but nothing else.

Marcus said...

* What do you see as common components of all/most of these blogs?
Some common things included on most of the sites include links to other sites, a comment section, and previous/recent posts.

* What are some things that may be very different from one blog to another?

One thing that was different included a survey on one site for the public to reflect on their instructional practice.

* What are some of the audiences for these blogs?
Some of the audiences for these blogs are students, parents, educators, and the general public.

* What are the tone of the blogs?
The tone seems to be somewhat informal, particularly for the sites that appeal more to students.
However, some sites appear more informational

* Are all blogs equal? Why or why not? Some sites captured my attention more than others. I particularly liked the site about literacy because of the quality of the teacher created assignments and student posts.

* What other comments do you have about these blogs?
I am just learning about blogs, and I think they are pretty interesting. After seeing examples of how teachers engage their students with homework assignments and discussions, I am excited about creating my own blog. I can really see how something like this can be powerful and engaging for students and even parents or other educators.

Beth Poss said...

I really like the thoughtful comments you have begun leaving about the different blogs. Yes, Marcus, I agree, that most blogs are pretty informal, some even take on a conversational tone.

I find some blogs easier to follow than other's too, based on the organization and visual display--a blogger needs to think about this when setting up and adding info to his/her blog.

Don, you do need to follow a blog related to education, but it can be anything from a teacher's classroom blog to something on educational philosophy or reform. Not a sports blog, sorry :)

Jayme said...

* What do you see as common components of all/most of these blogs?
All of the blogs are centered around education in some form. They are geared towards teachers, students, educators, parents and some toward the general public.


* What are some things that may be very different from one blog to another?
The focus varies from blog to blog. Many of the blogs are educators views and opinions about what is going on in their schools or the education world, some are great resources for teachers to find ideas and resources for their classroom, some blogs are discussion forums for their students where assignments are given and discussions are being held and some blogs are set up to share student work.

* What are some of the audiences for these blogs?
Teachers, administrators, students, parents, anyone with an interest in the education field

* What are the tone of the blogs?
I thought that the overall tone of the blogs were positive. Some of the blogs were opinionated on certain subjects or views but that’s what blogs are for sharing and discussing.

* Are all blogs equal? Why or why not?
No they are not equal. Why? How could they be. The blogs all have different purposes and were created by different people with different experiences and purposes.

* What other comments do you have about these blogs
I learned quite a bit by exploring the different blogs. I really like the idea of giving a question and having students post to it. It’s a great way to check their understanding and start a discussion. I would really like to start my own classroom blog for some of students to post to.

* How are these education related blogs similar or different from any blogs you may have looked at on a more personal interest level (ie, politics, news, sports, etc)
I really don’t follow a particular blog. I tend to come across them if I am searching for something. I am learning more about them and after exploring a few I am finding a new purpose for them in my personal and professional life.

Jayme said...

Does anyone know of any good local blogs for education?? I checked out the Balt Sun one. Any others?

Lorna said...

Each blog has a distinct visual signature. Some are very creative with their graphics and others are less graphical and more textual. But each is designed to meet the purpose to which the blog was first created for.

The audiences in the blogs from your del.icio.us bookmark are focused on students, educators and parents. And each site is a learning experience where educators, parents and students can collaboratively grow by their discussions.

The tone of these blogs was a learning experience gained through open discussion on a wide range of subjects from can we trust our faculty with the internet to how to work out computations. Each blog really provided an open forum for thought provoking responses. Of course the National Geographic’s My World blog site was wonderful visually. But when I went to the different areas for educators, kids and parents there were NO Comments. I found this quite curious that there were very few comments at this site. And yet Mrs. Perry's "Love That Dog" discussion was very popular with students.

All blogs are not created equal. The best blogs are those created by individuals who are passionate about their subject matter. Seems to be the same thing we say about what makes great instructors. It’s the passion that engages and is contagious, provoking all to enter into the discussion.

These blogs did not seem different from other blogs I have looked at other than the fact that they were focused on education, and opening up the discussion about how we approach the use of these new technologies.
http://paullevinson.blogspot.com/2009/09/new-new-media-promo-video-find-mindo.html is a BlogSpot by author Paul Levinson on these new media and how they are changing the way we do everything.

Lorna said...

When I saw the comment Marcus made about the site with the survey that asked visitors to comment about their use of the technology. It made me think of the comment in the book about "acceptable use policies" for the institution. I am curious. Do most institutions have an acceptable use policy for these new technologies?

Robin said...

For those of you looking for some more local blogs to follow, some of the Baltimore City Charter Schools have blogs. Like Beth said, the frequency of these blog posts varies, so I can't guarantee that it will give you the amount of information you need for the assignment. But, I think it's great to see the different schools the different approaches to technology use.

Jonathan said...

What do you see as common components of all/most of these blogs?

Hello everyone, sorry to jump in last minute, but one of the advantages of being last is that I get read all the comments that everyone has posted. Robin is right; all the blogs do seem to be directed to concerns of educators. Although at a closer look the blogs also range widely in their discussed concerns. Issues like bridging the gap for on older generation that finds the musical stylings of a kid named Fred to be annoying and bazaar to a book about a skin disorder a journalist is promoting. Which is kind of surprising. When skimming through a mired of blogs I can see why the smart choice is to subscribe that suits you a stick to it.

They seemed open to anyone concerned with education related topics. Teacher, students and parents being the most obvious audience

After reading your suggestion Beth I went and checked out movefoward.wiki and found an art educators blog called artjunction. I liked it a lot; the tone of that blog seemed to be pretty informal and relaxed. It also had a lot of great projects and ideas to use in the classroom. I think found the blog that I am going to follow.

It doesn’t seem that all blogs are created equal, some see to be more conversation or discussion oriented, will others seem to be more link or “check this out” focused. I think someone in the class even mentioned the aesthetics of the blogs. I believe that visuals can make or break content on the web.

As a newcomer to the blogging-sphere I didn’t know what to expect. I think you really just have to surf the web and find a verity of blogs that suit your taste before you can start comparing them to each other I look forward to seeing what’s out there

Jonathan said...

Oh thought you guys might like this. you might have to copy and paste it.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIFYPQjYhv8&feature=player_embedded#t=13

Su said...

Su
I’m sorry about the late response. I’m sure a lot of my answers will be similar to the other comments, but here we go:

* What do you see as common components of all/most of these blogs?

They are all education related, whether it be directly about education or an instructional tool. They also all have comment sections and most seem to encourage commenting.

* What are some things that may be very different from one blog to another?

The topics of discussion vary widely throughout the list of blogs. For example, some were used for a classroom discussion or assignments, some were opinions and ideas from educators, and some were informational. There is also a variety of the types of creators of the blogs and their audiences. Some are created by educators for other educators, some are by educators for students, and there is also the student to student group. For myself, I found some blogs much more interesting than others, and I’m sure the favorites change person by person.

* What are some of the audiences for these blogs?

The audiences were students, teachers, parents, administrators, and a general audience. These all depended on the blog owner and the topics.

* What are the tone of the blogs?

The tone varied from blog to blog. There were some that were very informal and fun and others that were formal and more serious. Again, it depended on the person writing the blog and their audience.

* Are all blogs equal? Why or why not?

No, they are not. Just like everyone has their own personality, these personalities show up in blogs as well. Like Dan said, it also depends on the level of experience of the blogger, whether they have a higher education or whether they are students, whether they have expertise in the topic or not, etc.

* What other comments do you have about these blogs? (Remember you will be choosing a blog to follow for 2 weeks--it can be any of these or any other blog related to your educational interests)

I really enjoyed the Educational Origami blog – I think I’ll be following this one for the assignment. I seems like this is more of an informative blog on various education related areas, so there aren’t as many comments as I have seen on others. However, the comments that I have seen on there are also very informative and interesting.

* How are these education related blogs similar or different from any blogs you may have looked at on a more personal interest level (ie, politics, news, sports, etc)

I agree with Robin and how depending on the type of blog, the audience can be very immature or strange to very mature and professional. I have only read the occasional celebrity gossip blogs (it’s like a train wreck…I just can’t help it) and blogs by friends (they’re a great way to keep up with friends, especially when they live across the country). So, compared to the blogs that I’ve encountered, these educational blogs are quite different.

Beth Poss said...

Robin,
I love your statement: "Each blog has a distinct visual signature"
Very well put.

I have definitely enjoyed this discussion on blogging, and keep in mind some of the comments that have been made (especially the one on institution/district policies) for an upcoming discussion we will be getting into.
Stayed tuned to the ELC Announcements late tomorrow afternoon for our next session, which will focus on Social Bookmarking, one of my favorite types of Web 2.0 applications and one that I think is very easily put into place in classrooms.
See you online!
(please let me know by email if you did not get an invitation to join our collaborative wiki, ASAP)

Beth

Brian T said...

Each of the blogs has a simple Topic and Response structure. As EV remarked the majority of the blogs are composed with simple free webtools.

Blogs are relatively simple however many aspects can be altered about the blog including layout, graphics, links, content, and comments.

These particular blogs are targeted towards students, teachers, and educators.

The tone of the blog is something that is set by each individual blogger which is inevitably variable.

Blogs are partial to their creators, and are the sole opinion of the creator allowing the creator to control and edit the displayed information.

The general layout and concept of the blog is the same however chalkdust takes a more of a nonconventional approach to blogging and lays out the information like a news letter. This is a much more eye catching page design/ layout and creates a unique experience. Personally I prefer a forum style over the typical blog structure. However many sites allow for viewer feedback and comments expanding the world of blogging like this one... http://ncaafootball.fanhouse.com/2009/09/21/espn-captures-clemson-fans-misery/?icid=main|main|dl2|link3|http%3A%2F%2Fncaafootball.fanhouse.com%2F2009%2F09%2F21%2Fespn-captures-clemson-fans-misery%2F

Beth Poss said...

Brian--I appreciate your comments about layout, etc. The layout of a blog can definitely make the visual and organization appeal of a blog. IMHO, one of the great things about the "Read/Write" web is that the average computer user can just go to a free place like Blogger or Wikispace and create their own webpage, without any knowledge of HTML, programming, or even design. So folks who have that background or the $ to pay for a more sophisticated program, can and do come up with more sophisticated better designed spaces. As educators, however, we should all not be intimidated by the "style" of a blog or space, but instead can be looking at how we can use these tools to benefit students (whether it be through student use or our own PD). Just my 2 cents!
Beth