Monday, May 31, 2010

Why Blog?

Why Blog?
This is a post for my JHU Technology and the  Science of Educators (Summer 2010) 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 ;)

Explore some blogs (You can 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:
You might comment on any of the following:

* 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)

21 comments:

Geraldine said...

Thanks to this course and this particular assignment, I got to post my very first blog comment. After looking at different blog spots suggested by Beth in her delicious site, I was overwhelmed with information and links. It took me a long time to finish browsing just the first blog site. I wanted to check out all the links, comments, and posts. I was trying to be meticulous and critical about it, but then, I realized I don’t really have to click on everything. After a few sites, I just read comments and posts that interest me. What I found common among the blog spots is that most of them have comments, links, and archives. They are also created to voice out certain information, may it be facts that connect us to the real world or a journal entries that convey the bloggers feelings or insights. The blogs spots differ in audience, appearance, and purpose. Some are aesthetically done like the Dangerously Irrelevant site, some are user friendly, and some would have advertisements. Some are educational and some are teaching us life skills. Blog spots can appeal to a general audience or to a more specific one. The Gifted Exchange and Unwrapping the Gifted-Education Week Teacher obviously are intended for the following audience: teacher, parents and students. Ms Perry’s 4th Grade Blog and JO-Blogmeister were specifically created for their students and parents. It contains information relevant for the class. I also noticed that some bloggers would have some information about them on their site like Darraghdoyle’s blogspot and My Wonderful World Blog, I feel that this provides a personal touch to the site and creates a more intimate connection with the audience or readers.
I was really amazed with the RSS feed, it is a cool way to subscribe, organize and monitor all of the blog spots that interest me. It is an easy way to read different blogs without opening a new tab, unless of course you want to see the full view of the website. This will be very helpful for our next assignment which is following a blog for two weeks. I already have four subscriptions in my Google reader and I am still tempted to add more. I will definitely continue to use blogs as a professional resource and for my personal growth as well. I may not be able to use it with my kindergarten students, but I can definitely create one for my parents so that I can communicate with them continuously regarding their children and about what is happening in the classroom.

Beth Poss said...

Joan,
I am glad you found your way through the activity--I agree blogs can be overwhelming, and it is easy to get lost in all the links, etc. I use RSS feeds to read through a post and then only actually go on to the actual blog if I want to reply or check something out. Keeps me a little more sane!
Beth

Lisa T said...

I too am quite overwhelmed at the blog just looking at a couple I can see that blogging can help to present a variety of different types of information. So far I have just looked at a couple and I see that most people are really responding to the target question and providing useful insight. I think that blogging can definitely benefit teachers and students. It can provide meaningful conversation about assignments and allow students to freely express themselves in a none threatening manner.
But I am still overwhelmed and I have to look more in depth with the sites to really understand what blogging is. Definitely will be back to comment after I sort through it.

Heather said...

I tried so hard to "lure" people to comment on my blogs. I left a couple at different sites. When I first started this assignment, I literally went to google and typed: elementary school teacher blog. I found myself looking at different types of blogs. The first ones I looked at were teachers blogging about articles they read. And then I looked at blogs that were of interest to me, such as proteacher.net where I could respond to kindergarten specific blogs. I found myself having sympathy for the first year teachers making all of their things. It turned out I was passionate about suggesting things that have worked for me.
I was seriously disappointed that no one responded to ANY of my blogs. I even went away from the education blogs and started blogging on personal interest sites - and no one liked me there either!
The common factors on all these sites were space for personal opinion, further links, and the past archives. The purpose of each blog is different and sets a different tone. Most of the education blogs were filled with passionate teachers responding with their own opinions. I tended to be drawn to the ones that weren't aesthetically pleasing - I like underdogs.
Somehow along the way, I got onto an awesome website: soyouwanttoteach.com. It has soooooo many ways to expand your tech in the classroom. I've already used three of the websites.
I need to look into the RSS feed that Geraldine comments on - my husband also told me to check it out. It sounds user-friendly.

Jo-Ann said...

Exploring the blogs through the Google Reader was like a breath of fresh air compared to the common blogs that expose the most mundane that I have been used to reading. The initial impact on me was the desire to create my own blog site not as a professional but as a parent. I thought of how it would be cool to document stages of my children’s development, my own parenting style, our conversations, their writings, and projects and be able to look back in time when they are all grown up and when I am old and gray.

But onto the assignment, I chose the most intriguing blog titles Dangerously Irrelevant and 2c Worth which did not disappoint me. While 2c Worth appealed to me because it also discusses about the latest technology gadgets like the iPad, it did not seem to have many comments and the site posts blogs less frequently than the other blog site. Dangerously Irrelevant on the other hand, has a wide range of audience from professional teachers, education policy makers, to students, and regular readers who may be interested in educational book reviews or commentaries about our schools and teaching.

I have indicated “like” in some posts. However, I have yet to muster the courage to share my thoughts in the world of professional blogging. Or is this novice blogger doing it already?

Jo-Ann said...

Exploring the blogs through the Google Reader was like a breath of fresh air compared to the common blogs that expose the most mundane that I have been used to reading. The initial impact on me was the desire to create my own blog site not as a professional but as a parent. I thought of how it would be cool to document stages of my children’s development, my own parenting style, our conversations, their writings, and projects and be able to look back in time when they are all grown up and when I am old and gray.

But onto the assignment, I chose the most intriguing blog titles Dangerously Irrelevant and 2c Worth which did not disappoint me. While 2c Worth appealed to me because it also discusses about the latest technology gadgets like the iPad, it did not seem to have many comments and the site posts blogs less frequently than the other blog site. Dangerously Irrelevant on the other hand, has a wide range of audience from professional teachers, education policy makers, to students, and regular readers who may be interested in educational book reviews or commentaries about our schools and teaching.

I have indicated “like” in some posts. However, I have yet to muster the courage to share my thoughts in the world of professional blogging. Or is this novice blogger doing it already?

2c Worth - http://davidwarlick.com/2cents/
Dangerously Irrelevant - http://dangerouslyirrelevant.org/

prek24-7 said...

I typed in the words "pre-kindergarten blogs" and I got tons of information. First, a list of links came up and then I found blogs. Ironically, two of them were called Lorrie or Laurie. Of course, I looked on these blogs. The blogs were very creative with lots of clip art, which isn't surprising when dealing with pre-kindergarten. I was able to get a lot of ideas for my learning centers. Many of the bloggers post announcements of upcoming events, information on past events, learning videos and teacher resources. Most of the blogs were very colorful and informative; a few mainly focused on information and not so much the visual components (i.e., clipart, videos and class pictures. I think these teacher blogs are an excellent means for teachers to communicate with parents. Instead of just sending home letters, invite parents to access the class blog to find out about upcoming events. These blogs would mainly be accessed by teachers, parents,principals or college students interested in becoming teachers. The blogs I saw were whimsical, with links to ice cream, christmas, luaus, learning practices and themes that are geared to pre-kindergarten students.

Eva said...

To blog or not to blog? This question keeps lingering in my mind while browsing on the different blog sites @ delicious.com. I even ask some of my friends, who have been blogging for a long time. They said they do it for fun like a hobby, some said for educational purposes, but I guess on top it, I think blogging is a good source of ideas as well as interacting and networking with colleagues. I also look at it as a means of sharing knowledge with others. I noticed that some blogs may or may not have this component: post rankings (top ten posts). Most blogs have sections for posting comments; list of people who follow the blogs; tool bars to navigate (share;sign in; create) and the blog selection itself. The audience varies from professionals, educators, students, and family. The tone varies from positive to negative feelings like excitement, frustration, persuasion and oftentimes a clearing house of ideas.
It seems to be really confusing at first because there are a wide range of topics even on blogs. I also did my own browsing on topics I am interested in, like the twice-exceptional (due to the fact that I am a special educator), technology in the classroom where I found an interesting discussion about the smart boards or the inter-write boards which we have in our school. I actually end up following some blogs; but I choose “The Innovative Educator” which focuses on integrating technology in the classroom. They have a variety of interesting topics like “Kids Teach Kids with Mathcasting”, which amazed me because I haven’t done any podcasting and I am glad that learning to podcast is included in this course. The experience is somewhat a learning process for me; I discovered that there are blogs that are really informational and very relevant to the course and applicable for teachers and teaching improvement. To be honest, I found myself enjoying browsing on blogs everyday. It becomes a part of my daily search and browsing on the web. It also creates an excitement for me to be able to use these different ways on how incorporate technology in my teaching even with my special education children. There is always a room for new things like knowing how to use the RSS feed to follow and subscribe to blogs. It is funny, because I do not even bother to know what RSS is until I took this course, I usually see RSS but really never pay attention to what is it and its purpose.
Although incorporating this kind of tool in instructing students especially the younger ones, educators should be aware that certain parameters should be established first before teaching and allowing students to use blogging. I can personally recommend “blogging” as a tool for learning in order to enhance skills and creativity in writing. This can also serve as a kind of an electronic “portfolio” where students can write their thoughts and feeling on a variety of topics and interests.

Beth Poss said...

Eva--you did a nice job explaining the features of a blog--those features are all the things to look for to know you are in a blog, and not a discussion board or other interactive web site. Sometimes it is hard to figure out the distinctions between them all!

tashanarenee said...

I decided to search for blogs related to pre kindergarten because I thought it would be beneficial to me since that's what I teach. Common components of most of the blogs I reviewed was links, comments, posts and a wealth of information. The topic, layout, frequency of posts were different with the blogs I looked at. The audience varied from blog to blog. Some blogs were geared towards parents, educators, policy makers, and undergrad/grad students. Searching for blogs was a bit frustrating in the beginning because there. Once I had a better idea of what I was looking for I was able to filter through blogs and select the ones I was interested in. Some blogs were mostly professional resources and information. Others were by professionals who frequently made posts about current events. I enjoyed reading some of the blogs because I was able to get ideas about things related to my profession. This has been a learning experience and I will continue to use blogs as a teaching resources.

Smartmouth01 said...

Well as fellow blogger of the internet world... I like blogging--I have a blog of my own. I use it to express my opinions (as a former opinions columnist). Although the similarities of the blogs that I have looked at...are that they are all opinionated and about education. I myself looked at the Action Line--a web site for Maryland State Educators, and I blogged up a storm. LOL After this hectic year of layoffs, cut backs, (shoot lets say it) bad kids, and equally horrible parents; I had a lot to say about Maryland Educational Public School System. I got responses...all were very interesting. And like Geraldine I found some stuff I can use later in education. I like blogging but wouldn't yet use it in school--to me too much can go wrong.

Nicole B said...

I decided to search for a blog using "teacher blog" and came up with a host of undesired results. (smile) Then I remembered our previous discussion on searching the internet and narrowed it down to math teacher blog. This resulted in a few blogs that were moderately interesting to read but yielded very few comments. Then I saw http://mathteachermambo.blogspot.com/. I decided to follow this blog because not only is it specific to the content that I teach, it provides tangible resources that I can use in the classroom free! As an educator you learn to beg borrow and steal good ideas and this is a good place to collaborate and "borrow" ideas from other educators.

I liked the way that this blog placed only the posts from the moderator on the homepage. If interested , you can click on comments to view comments from other followers. This organized the information on the blog and it was alot less overwhelming than some of the other blogs I have seen. I think this can be a useful tool for teachers to share ideas, resources, and sometimes frustrations. I also think this could benefit students, however, it would have to be on a secure site. I am interested in the discussion piece of the wikispace. Would that be considered a blog?

joan said...

I find all of this overwhelming! What I mean by that that is it seems you could stay on the Internet 24 hours a day 7 days a week. All the blogs that I checked out had several links which in turn had more links!
The other thing I noticed in perusing different blogs is not all of them are updated regularly. I, too, posted to my first blog; commenting on the blog that I am following.

Jun Ballano said...

I started to browse on blogs after our face to face class. I found it, as most of us said, very overwhelming. I have previously know and heard this term before, but never thought that this could be an interesting activity that I could let my students do (especially that I also teach writing skills). I tried to browse on other topics aside from those that Beth suggested. As my passion is on reading and literature, I tried to search for blogs related to my interest. indeed, I was successful.

I found several that did not have the icon COMMENT in it. I may be wrong, but it said is a blog. I know that blogs could make readers post a comment on it. I also observed that all of the blogs I have read (I just tried to read the title and click those that appealed to me)are very personal in nature. There was one (http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/Bridging-Differences/)that is authored by two professionals and they made their blogs looked like letters for each other. It made me remember a Filipino novel that is structured in forms of letters for each other by two sisters (Urbana at Felisa).
I tried to search for some topics and voila, a lot them came out. I was trying to look at sites that had 2/3 published blogs in a week, but was at first disappointed. I realized later that I need to actually go to their homepage to know what is it that is recent.
I found that these blogs are just the same as writing an opinion essay. They are focused on a certain topic and expound it through personal experiences and/or citations. Others are merely commentary in form.
As I said earlier I found this to be a very effective tool to make my students write even outside of the classroom. I have to however set parameters of the sites or topics and structure that each of them has to follow. I may use the write traits rubrics and guidelined to focus on a certain aspect of writing.
I have browsed and experimented on the RSS feed as well, but am yet to find myself okay with it. I have found this activity confusing ate first but would definitely be rewarding once we get the feel of it. Thanks to the first lesson and am sure the next lessons, and we shall all receive naturalization by expertise in the digital nation, am I right, Beth?

joan said...

MATNOnline: is a great resource for Special Ed students and their parents. I will pass this information on to SPED teachers at my school to pass on to their students and their parents.

Flikr: don’t really understand why people would want to put their videos and pictures out there for other people. Maybe it is a generational thing.

Learning Grids: I was unable to access any of the free resources and it seems one must purchase Clicker 5 in order to get anything out of this link. However, in watching Clicker 5 it seems a great resource that parents might want to purchase in order to help their child at home with reading and/or writing difficulties.

Read/Write/Think: I have actually seen this website before in a workshop I took recently and I am currently exposing my students to it. I feel it is very useful especially in helping students with their writing.

ILLUMINATIONS: I love this website and I have sent this link to the Math teachers in my school; Great resource. I plan to teach my TAG students some of the card games especially Krypto!

Spark Notes: Why wasn’t the Internet around when I was in school? Helpful summaries are provided to many young adult books. I guess you are reading even if the Spark Notes are what you are reading! Looks like a great website for teens.

Rainforests Math: Couldn’t really review this because you must purchase a membership to Mathletics in order to view or use the activities. A whole-school license is $499 and an individual license is $59.
Internet 4 Classrooms: Characterized by grade level and then by subject, which is really helpful to Teachers.

Thinkport: I like this website because it is diverse; Math, Social Studies and Reading. Plenty of activities and interesting facts.
Access Center: Another great resource website for teachers and parents of SPED students.
Microsoft Clip Art and Media: So glad that I have access to this website because I was very limited to my clip art before.

Brain Pop: I would be willing to subscribe to this website because it hits on many areas in the elementary school curriculum and provides lesson plans. Webinars are provide (very helpful for an immigrant like me.) It can be purchased through Title One funds for schools and they provide the research necessary in order to apply.

Intellitools Activity Exchange: I found this frustrating as I registered and after 30 minutes, I still hadn’t received the email to be able to log in. It looks like it could be a very useful tool, but it takes too long to get into the website.

Emmeliza said...

Perseverance is a must here to read and digest information needed to advance to the next level of computer and technology literacy! I, for one, do love to read (and a lot) but this assignment beats my appetite for reading! In one simple word most of you have used, it is just overwhelming. I guess, like everybody else, I checked out sites suggested in Ms. Beth's delicious sites. I do like the first two - the Gifted Exchange and Unwrapping the Gifted since I was able to find some articles or blogs that I can relate to my experiences. However, I googled early childhood education blogs to look for some sites that might be appealing to me but after several visits to the following sites like http://www.blogcatalo.com/blogs/early-childhood-education.html, http://www.hatchearlychildhood.com/blog/, http://earlyed.newamerica.net/blogmain and www.literacyconnections.com, I got a little apprehensive of the possibility of getting responses to my comments. After spending three hours searching for sites, I ended writing comments to Gifted Exchange. What an learning adventure! (I will post more. I'll be back.)

Beth Poss said...

Emmeliza,
I am glad you did persevere, even if the assignment was overwhelming. Luckily, you only have to look at the vast number of blogs you looked at for this assignment, and not on a regular basis. I do hope that you have found at least 1 or 2 blogs that you would like to keep up with. I know that while I subscribe to maybe 10-15 blogs, I only regularly go to 2 or 3. I do use the RSS feed to help winnow down what I want to look at--often I just scroll through the titles and blurbs and only click on something that really peaks my interest. I do like the human connection of blogging that you don't get from other internet sources--you learn a blogger's personality and I have even gotten to meet some bloggers that I follow at conferences that I attend. Then it is like meeting up with an old friend :)

Emmeliza said...

When I visited http://www.blogcatalog.com/blogs/early-childhood-education.html, there was one blog post that piqued my interest- RE: Obama's Presidential Council for Early Childhood Programs which has a good discussion on hiring quality and competent teachers for early childhood programs, more funding to these programs, the No Child Left Behind and the like. I clicked on the link and sure enough I spent hours reading more about it. Now, this is what I like about reading. I guess that holds true to those who check out blogs- either they are reading posts that they are passionate about or may have a strong dislike for opinions shared. As of this writing, I have not posted any comment yet to this blog post since I feel compelled to check out first the authenticity of information given before I comment on it. In addition, what makes blogging more interesting is the exchange of ideas among the readers/writers which makes any blog spot a fertile place for sharing reflective responses or critical comments. It seems like a new type or wave of journalism when these blog posts entice readers to participate as writers whether one is an amateur or professional. Now, with the other blog spots suggested in delicious.com as well as to the other sites I have visited, most of them have an appealing lay-out or webpage design and advertisements. Some have included profile of the blogger/author and have indicated recent entries/comments and archives. The blog posts for some are lengthy while others are short and easy to read and understand. Some posts are highly 'intellectual' material but some seem to be 'everyday or common issues' stuff. Most blog posts are informative and cater to teachers, supervisors, parents, and students. However, I believe that the type of blog spots will determine the kind of audience who may respond to such posts. Now what I am aware of...that this is my first set of published work. Hmm...but not yet there of becoming a tech savvy!

MD Allen said...

I have been going through these blogs listed in the ppt. I have found a few uses that I will be able to actually use. The rss seems valuable, especially for this class. I like the idea of keeping all your interestes in one little area and when you click it just shows you what is new. that will be key to keep current and not overwhelm yourself clicking and clicking and reading and reading. just the facts, mam. the second useable feature i found was the classroom setting. I like the exam schedule and the pictures of the students. I often send home links with the students to help reinforce skills covered in class. I could put these things on a blog and open it to the parents also. they could ask questions that other parents probably have. This seems very useful. when the parents say ohh, what did you learn in school today and the student says nothing, they can look to see if in fact there was anything new posted. Or if the students themselves put something up there. A draw back to this is ensuring that all studnets have an e-mail account.

Anonymous said...

My experience with posting a blog wasn't similar to some others in the class. The blog I found was very interesting to me. It was a "flat classroom" and using the internet to allow students to virtually chat with students from other countries. I really enjoyed reading the information and though it was geared to middle and high school levels, I was thinking of ways I could use it in the primary classroom with TAG students. I even commented on that in my post. It was a current blog, so I thought that my comment would be posted shortly after posting it. My comment still has not shown.

I understand the concept of a blog. I had a perception of blogs that was similar to the format of social networking sites like facebook. So, as I was looking over different blogs, the format wasn't what I was expecting. The ones that I found had place where you could post your comment but then there was also a section where you could also post a reaction (the reactions were much shorter than the comments). There were advertisements available and most valuable posts. It was all very overwhelming for me. Personally, I need to see someone using a blog site to learn the best. I am very much a visual learner.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, forgot to leave the blog site I visited. It was http://coolcatteacher.blogspot.com/2010/06/flat-classroom-mobile-and-ubiquitous.html It was an interesting blog to me.