Thursday, March 3, 2011

I am Blogging Now Because My Teacher Told Me To...

What did you think of the blogging experience? Answer any or all of these questions (or give us some other insightful comments that related back to our readings, etc). Did you have a hard or easy time finding a blog you were interested in following? Have you ever blogged before? Do you see yourself continuing to use blogs as a professional resource? Will you continue to follow this blog?  Would you consider using blogging as an instructional tool to get your students reflecting and writing?  If you have blogged for personal reasons, how is blogging for personal interests different from blogging for professional reasons? Be sure to include a link back to the blog you followed, including the post you commented on.

15 comments:

mjohnson said...

Because of this exercise, I am now following Curriculum 21, Langwitches, and Steve Hargadon through my Google Reader. From a professional development prospective, this has been an invaluable experience for me. I now feel like I am “tapped-in” to what is happening in technology and education. And, because of Reader, I can stay current without expending an enormous amount of effort or time!

For this assignment, I posted a comment to the article, Let’s Ask the Kids: 2nd Grade Bloggers by Silvia Tolisano on Langwitches Blog http://langwitches.org/blog/. I have already referenced and discussed this article and blog with many of my colleagues. The blog has many proven classroom examples with step-by-step instructions and student videos. It is my favorite of all the blogs that I am following and I highly recommend it.

In response to this article, I posted specific questions seeking advice on logistics for how I can start blogging with our 2nd grade classes in a 40-minute weekly computer class in a lab setting.
http://langwitches.org/blog/2011/02/18/lets-ask-the-kids-2nd-grade-bloggers/#comments
There were several comments made after mine, but unfortunately none of my questions were addressed. Frankly, most of the “comments” that I have read on many of the blogs that I follow don’t really add anything to the conversation. Most just agree with the writer in a “good job” fashion. So, I feel even more compelled to get blogging in our schools!

There are so many skills that can be incorporated just through blogging: writing, reading, critical thinking, editing, collaborating, self-expression, not to mention analysis of the content on which they are responding. Based on my research, blogging is the single most important activity in which a teacher can make his/her teaching relevant for 21st century learners.

Timothy Lau said...

I had an easy time finding a blog I was interested in following. I think it was easy because there is a wide assortment of blogs relating to education and the following process is streamlined for easy access.
I have blogged before, both in my personal life and in education settings.
I will probably continue to follow this blog but not check it as often as when I found it, since I have found blogs of greater interest since then.
I would consider using blogging as an instructional tool to get students reflecting and writing about their learning experiences and for examining their proficiency in written expression.
I have blogged for personal reasons in building my family website www.timothylaufamily.com and for educational courses before this. Blogging for personal interests is different from blogging for professional reasons because it is not constrained by assignment or deadlines, it can be more expressive and unrestrained in content, and is not being evaluated for compensations in grades or in monetary gain.
Link to the Blog I followed:http://www.quickanded.com/

Hilliary said...

I found it easy to find a blog I wanted to follow. There were quite a few that are valuable resources. The instant I clicked on the Langwitches Blog at http://langwitches.org/blog/, I knew I wanted to follow this blog. There are so many great ideas. A post about second graders blogging included video of the students discussing what they are learning. I was inspired to revisit the idea of blogging in my own second grade classroom. I am currently discussing logistics with my principal. Our upcoming field trip is the perfect opportunity to get started! I think blogging will provide authentic writing opportunities for my students. Blogging is one way they will soon be communicating with others. Also, I think just using the computer, motivates my more struggling writers.
Other posts discussed using Skype to learn from others around the world. One post, “Third Graders- Called upon as Experts” shared video of students skypeing to a conference of teachers about the benefits of using Skype in the classroom. The teacher shared in detail how she gives each student a job, which helped me better envision the management aspect of using Skype with students. I responded to this post with questions about other logistics. I will definitely continue to follow this blog. I think the authors will inspire me to continue to try new technological experiences in the classroom.

shannan said...

For this assignment I started out following MindShift (http://mindshift.kqed.org). However, one day into the assignment a friend of mine suggested UpcycledEducation (http://upcyclededucation.blogspot.com/). Both blogs cover the same types of education information including theory and new web tools. I ended up following them both with my google reader and found a much more meaningful connection with Upcycled Education. Why? The author of UpcycledEducation, Jen Lara, asks questions of her readers and writes as if you were sitting with her at a coffee shop. Mindshift seems to be clinging to the past in which website were mostly, as Will Richard explains, “static chunks of content” (p. 17, Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts). Mindshift often has many followers tweeting or sharing a given post- but never commenting on it. When it came time for me to add a comment- I too chose to comment on posts from UpcycledEducation (http://upcyclededucation.blogspot.com/2011/03/flow-theory-and-motivation.html and http://upcyclededucation.blogspot.com/2011/02/when-less-is-more-theories-on-thursday.html ). I will keep both blogs in my reader, but will most likely be an active participant in Upcycled Education.

This assignment was my first experience with blogging. However, it has encouraged me to click on links to friends’ personal blogs on facebook which I normally would skip over. The biggest difference for me is that with this type of personal blogging your audience isn’t a group of total strangers- although strangers DO have access to it- which brings me to the use of blogs in a classroom setting. A classroom blog may be used to share within the class, but the content is also being shared with a global community. Take the example provided by the Smithsonian, Jamestown Elementary’s blog, which as the Smithsonian’s Website explains, develops “the students’ awareness of today’s global connections.”

In my classroom I’d like to use a blog to encourage students to share their ideas with each other as well as to publish their work to a global audience. I have talked with my administration about this a bit, and we are thinking of using “pen names” for the students. I think podcasts would be the most convenient way for my first graders to write to the Read/Write web. They’re comfortable with talking- typing is still a challenge. I believe that by bringing the global community into our classroom, I could motivate students to read, write, and think in ways they never have before.

Tom Polk said...

I had an easy time picking a blog to follow for this project. I actually already read several blogs through Google Reader, so I just added Will Richardson’s blog (http://weblogg-ed.com/) into my subscription list. I thought he would be a good person to follow since he is a landmark figure on the educational technology landscape and a former English teacher. I thought that I might find some ideas to use technology in my English classroom. He didn’t really post very much during the time that I followed him, though the post I commented on (“Online Learning” Isn’t “Learning Online” - http://weblogg-ed.com/2011/online-learning-isnt-learning-online/) was popular among readers.
I have played around with blogs both on a personal and professional level before. They are one of the reasons that I enrolled in this class and program; I wanted to learn more powerful ways to use them in the classroom because the initial responses that I received from my students about using them were all positive. I will continue to use them in my classes because I think that they are powerful opportunities for students to create and connect with a large (learning) community. Though no one responded to my blog post comment particularly, the threads in the conversation all connected and gave me the feeling that I was contributing to a relevant and compelling topic. I think that is one thing that students like about blogs: the writing and learning is not solipsistic or isolated; it is dialogic and contextualized.

Shamayra said...

This is my first time looking at more than one entry on a blog. It took me a while to find a blog worth following as I wanted to explore what was available. I started to read through a professional blog presented on http://www.teachersfortomorrow.net/ that I found on www.edublogs.net. I felt like I could understand where the authors were coming from when it came to the issues of teaching. It’s put together by some teachers in Ohio that are working on incorporating more technologies into the classroom, not only to get the classes up to speed technologically with the students, but also the improve the learning of the students. As they put it, they aim to create students of integrity, in hopes that when the students grow up they can enact change in the world. The reason I found this appealing, is because they were looking to apply technology to IMPROVE the learning and retention of the students, which is right in line with the purpose of this class. When I looked through the older posts, it is clear that they were working on sharing new technologies with others. They post information about the role of schools and learning and the things educators have to address such as relationships and motivation. They also post some cool technology applications that can be used in schools, such as “voki” and “xtranormal” and “prezi”, among other things (I’m still looking into these programs). Another interesting thing they spoke with Alan November and he actually recognized these authors for their work in technology education.
Through this experience, I see there are several advantages of using blogs as a communication tool. I like the fact that the information was updated rather regularly and there is a track history to follow. If the authors present good information, it turns into an educational mini-class. Additionally, the track history makes it easier to follow links and recommendations presented in the blog at my own pace, this is convenient. In terms how blogs can be used in schools I rather like the fact that these teachers have demonstrated that they can ask their students to put up blogs and the students seem to like it. And the commenting can definitely be used in a classroom setting as well. For example I can envision something along the lines of an impromptu skit online. It seems to allow creative expression in a slightly different medium.
While I did write a comment to the blog, I can see by looking at other comments how it can generate a conversation if the authors pick up on the topics, which does not always seem to be the case. Even so, once I found the blog, it was an enjoyable experience. I think I will be following this blog for a while.

Shamayra said...

This is my first time looking at more than one entry on a blog. It took me a while to find a blog worth following as I wanted to explore what was available. I started to read through a professional blog presented on that I found on . I felt like I could understand where the authors were coming from when it came to the issues of teaching. It’s put together by some teachers in Ohio that are working on incorporating more technologies into the classroom, not only to get the classes up to speed technologically with the students, but also the improve the learning of the students. As they put it, they aim to create students of integrity, in hopes that when the students grow up they can enact change in the world. The reason I found this appealing, is because they were looking to apply technology to IMPROVE the learning and retention of the students, which is right in line with the purpose of this class. When I looked through the older posts, it is clear that they were working on sharing new technologies with others. They post information about the role of schools and learning and the things educators have to address such as relationships and motivation. They also post some cool technology applications that can be used in schools, such as “voki” and “xtranormal” and “prezi”, among other things (I’m still looking into these programs). Another interesting thing they spoke with Alan November and he actually recognized these authors for their work in technology education.
Through this experience, I see there are several advantages of using blogs as a communication tool. I like the fact that the information was updated rather regularly and there is a track history to follow. If the authors present good information, it turns into an educational mini-class. Additionally, the track history makes it easier to follow links and recommendations presented in the blog at my own pace, this is convenient. In terms how blogs can be used in schools I rather like the fact that these teachers have demonstrated that they can ask their students to put up blogs and the students seem to like it. And the commenting can definitely be used in a classroom setting as well. For example I can envision something along the lines of an impromptu skit online. It seems to allow creative expression in a slightly different medium.
While I did write a comment to the blog, I can see by looking at other comments how it can generate a conversation if the authors pick up on the topics, which does not always seem to be the case. Even so, once I found the blog, it was an enjoyable experience. I think I will be following this blog for a while.

Maryana K said...

Web Filtering Experience

Jonathan Turley’s Blog
http://jonathanturley.org/

My posts
1, February 27, 2011 at 1:37 pm
http://jonathanturley.org/2011/02/26/is-free-speech-really-free/#comments

1, March 2, 2011 at 9:32 pm
http://jonathanturley.org/2011/03/02/supreme-court-rules-in-favor-of-westboro-church/#comments

1, March 6, 2011 at 9:13 pm
http://jonathanturley.org/2011/03/06/criminalizing-prank-calls/#comments


This was my first time blogging, and I enjoyed sharing my opinions with other bloggers. Blogging is a simple online discussion. I had a bit of a difficult time finding a blog that I would be interested in and that is educational. Many blogs that I found interesting were limited on their comments and were infrequently updated. I settled on Professor Turley’s blog, who is a renowned scholar of constitutional law, because his blog is constantly updated with current event articles on various legal and political issues.

I found the articles posted on his blog extremely helpful in connecting U.S. History and Government curriculum to current events. Showing a direct correlation of the constitution and how its interpretation can affect my students’ daily lives promotes interest and great discussions in the classroom. The many and frequent comments posted on Professor Turley’s blog provide additional information and opinions on each article’s subject. If I choose to use a certain article as part of my lesson plan, I am well prepared for what opinions my students may express and how I can play the devil’s advocate because I have already read a diverse range of comments and discussions on the topic.

I definitely see myself continuing to use blogs as a professional resource and following Professor Turley’s blog. I would like to create a blog based on some of the articles posted on Professor Turley’s blog for my students where they can post their opinions on relevant articles and connect them to classwork. If all my students had laptops, this would be feasible as a warm-up where each student could express his/her opinion while also reading and responding to the comments of others. This would be time efficient, each student would have his or her opinion heard and the learning process could be recorded. Alternatively, since all my students do not have laptops in the classroom, this form of blogging (based on an article) can be used as a great homework assignment.

Teachers can use educational blogs just like any other professional can to further develop their skills through reading articles and participating in discussions via professional blogs. In contrast, people blog for personal interest as a hobby and for pleasure on various topics that are unrelated to their professional lives. The language and tone people use in professional blogs are very different from those used in a personal log, where the language is usually more casual, and the comments are less useful and sometimes incendiary. In either case the blogger has to be careful what he or she posts and under what name it is posted. Blogs are a public forum and professional blogging should not be mixed with personal interests if those personal interests are intended to be kept private.

Beth Poss said...

I am really enjoying your thoughtful comments about blogging. I do this assignment every semester with my grad students, and I have to say that I am finding this groups comments to be particularly interesting and insightful. I love the blogs you are all following--I will definitely add Upcycled to my reader. Tom, I plan on quoting you in the future--"one thing that students like about blogs: the writing and learning is not solipsistic or isolated; it is dialogic and contextualized" is a great statement.

Aisha said...

Before I began this exercise, I considered myself pretty in tune to the world around me. I have to say that once I started following various blogs....I realized that I had no idea how much was really out there. I feel like I literally had a piece of the world at my finger-tips.

I began following Tom Daccord@edtechteacher.com. This blog was filled with wonderful interactive activities primarily in the areas of history and science. I found this blog very helpful and interesting because there were great links and collaborative posts on "all that is technology in education". The blog was organized into many categories such as collaborative posts, general ed-tech integrtion, and even "from my classroom" posts. I also enjoyed the tutorials section of this blog which gave some great tools to learn and read about.

I also began to follow http://langwitches.org/blog/. This blog was GREAT! I posted a comment or really more of a plea for help and ideas on how I could create a skype assignment for my fourth graders. I was amazed at the video that was posted in which 3rd and 4th graders conducted a "Where is this Class From" activity using Skype and a mystery class from another part of the country. The ability to connect with a class they did not know or even know where they were located was amazing. They had to ask questions and do on-the- spot research to try to locate the class they were Skyping with. My class in studying immigration right now and this would be a wonderful activity for them to explore the push and pull reasons someone might leave a country or to relate it to their environment, they could come up with push and pull reasons for their school and then compare them to another school in the country or world.

I can officially say that I feel like I have only scratched the surface but now have all these wonderful blogs and tools connected to my phone through Google Reader and Twitter so not a moment goes by where I cannot get the latest posts and information.

Maryana K said...

Maryana K said...
Web Filtering Experience

Jonathan Turley’s Blog
http://jonathanturley.org/

My posts
1, February 27, 2011 at 1:37 pm
http://jonathanturley.org/2011/02/26/is-free-speech-really-free/#comments

1, March 2, 2011 at 9:32 pm
http://jonathanturley.org/2011/03/02/supreme-court-rules-in-favor-of-westboro-church/#comments

1, March 6, 2011 at 9:13 pm
http://jonathanturley.org/2011/03/06/criminalizing-prank-calls/#comments


This was my first time blogging, and I enjoyed sharing my opinions with other bloggers. Blogging is a simple online discussion. I had a bit of a difficult time finding a blog that I would be interested in and that is educational. Many blogs that I found interesting were limited on their comments and were infrequently updated. I settled on Professor Turley’s blog, who is a renowned scholar of constitutional law, because his blog is constantly updated with current event articles on various legal and political issues.

I found the articles posted on his blog extremely helpful in connecting U.S. History and Government curriculum to current events. Showing a direct correlation of the constitution and how its interpretation can affect my students’ daily lives promotes interest and great discussions in the classroom. The many and frequent comments posted on Professor Turley’s blog provide additional information and opinions on each article’s subject. If I choose to use a certain article as part of my lesson plan, I am well prepared for what opinions my students may express and how I can play the devil’s advocate because I have already read a diverse range of comments and discussions on the topic.

I definitely see myself continuing to use blogs as a professional resource and following Professor Turley’s blog. I would like to create a blog based on some of the articles posted on Professor Turley’s blog for my students where they can post their opinions on relevant articles and connect them to classwork. If all my students had laptops, this would be feasible as a warm-up where each student could express his/her opinion while also reading and responding to the comments of others. This would be time efficient, each student would have his or her opinion heard and the learning process could be recorded. Alternatively, since all my students do not have laptops in the classroom, this form of blogging (based on an article) can be used as a great homework assignment.

Teachers can use educational blogs just like any other professional can to further develop their skills through reading articles and participating in discussions via professional blogs. In contrast, people blog for personal interest as a hobby and for pleasure on various topics that are unrelated to their professional lives. The language and tone people use in professional blogs are very different from those used in a personal log, where the language is usually more casual, and the comments are less useful and sometimes incendiary. In either case the blogger has to be careful what he or she posts and under what name it is posted. Blogs are a public forum and professional blogging should not be mixed with personal interests if those personal interests are intended to be kept private.

Yolanda L said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Yolanda L said...

http://blog.mywonderfulworld.org/2011/02/five-reasons-to-participate-in-the-great-backyard-bird-count.html#comments

I loved the blog that I selected. Even though I am a mathematics teacher I am an enviromentalist at heart so the My Wonderful World Blog was easy to follow. This blog was made mostly for students to inform them on current events, environmental issues and global news. I enjoyed the blog so much that I began reading the archived blogs.

I posted a comment on blog that was written about participating in the backyard bird count which listed reasons why people should participate in the a bird census by noting how many birds they see in their backyard for the Cornell University Lab of Ornithology. I thought it was an excellent idea and never thought about how the bird migration would change now that the seasons seem to be shifting.

This was my first time actually commenting on a blog. I have read several blogs before but never left comments. The actual act of blogging was easy but I enjoyed reading what was blogged more than trying to develop a meaningful comment to add. There were very few comments made on any of the blogs even though they were written more like small articles.

I will definitely continue blogging in the future. If I were to write the blog, I would love the instant feedback on what was written and think that blogs like this one would be very helpful for students to participate in. The student to student feedback would be great and it helps with literacy while allowing students to the opportunity to express themselves. I think blogs should be allowed in schools but I don't know how administration would address student access to noneducational blogs.

Tiffany Howard said...

The blog that I followed for this assignment is The Assistive Technology Blog (http://www.assistivetechnology.vcu.edu). This blog is operated by the Virginia Department of Education’s Training and Technical Assistance Center at Virginia Commonwealth University. The blog is a professional blog where participants post information about new technologies - particularly those in regard to assisitive and educational technologies.

One of the posts that I found interesting was “The 2011 Technology Trends from the Horizon Report.” The Horizon Report looks at emerging technologies within the next 1-5 years that will likely have the greatest impact globally and in a variety of arenas. Some of these technologies include: electronic books and mobile devices; augmented reality and game based learning; and learning analytics and gesture based technologies. My response to the blog post can be found at http://www.assistivetechnology.vcu.edu/2011/02/the_2011_technology_trends_fro.html.

Initially I had some technical difficulties when posting my response to the blog. I had to contact the organization, so that I would be able to submit my post. The contact person replied to my email and indicated that the security settings are set high for the site. Often times first time participants are “bounced” around at first to make sure that the post is not spam. I was able to have my entry posted, however I had to email the entry to the blog manager for her to put on the site. However, the posting date was later than the original date of submission.

I have mixed feelings about this particular blog. I like that it is a forum for participants to learn about new and emerging technologies. It is almost like a classifieds for assistive and educational technology. However, it does not appear to be a discussion forum. Information seems to be one way. It is provided to the larger audience, but the larger audience does not share how it has been used or what has been learned from the technology.

Overall, I liked the blog. I appreciated that the site manager was quick with her response, and willing to assist with posting my ideas. I will continue to read posts from this blog because it has useful information - that I have never heard of before. I will also share it with colleagues that are interested in technology - maybe I will even bookmark it on Diigo.

Alexandra said...

The blog I am following http://www.teach42.com/
Steve Dembo is a former kindergarten teacher, now working for Discovery Education as the Online Community Manager for the Discovery Education Network. He has a plethora of achievements that has intrigued me to follow his blog. The blog encompasses many technology tool s that are being used in education. He provides details about the particular tool and sometimes he enhances the blog with a video. I have had experience following social blogs that my peers have produced. This is my first educational blog that I have followed. The first post that I took interest to was the 30 iPad running SyncPad simultaneously. I recently purchased an iPad for my personal, but I had been doing research on classroom integration. Although the synchronization of 30 iPad was excessive for my classroom, it did trigger thoughts of center learning. I began to collaborate with my co-workers and Technology Coordinator to see if this would be possible for our school. We are currently in the process of writing a grant that may help fun this project. Steve had three other posts that discussed the use of an iPad in the field of education, including a post on using Discovery Education on the iPad. A mobile application was launched last October so users can view over 33,000+ educational videos.
The other post that I found very informative was the post that discussed the extinction of the flip video. At the beginning of my matriculation at Johns Hopkins University, I collaborated with some students indicating the pros and cons of flip video and ways it can be integrated into the classroom. After my research and presentation, I purchased one for my 1st graders. We have been using them for nature walks, storytelling and filming school ceremonies. The children find the flip video easy to use and the enjoy viewing what they recorded. To hear Cisco bought the company and is taking it off the market, makes me wonder if it’s gone for good or if they are going to revamp the flip, to enhance some of the already user-friendly awesome features. I am excited to see what the future may hold for flip and Cisco.
My journey exploring blogs have been enjoyable, yet time consuming. I knew how much technology is evolving or at least I thought I knew. There are constantly innovative ways technology can be integrated and tools that can be used; therefore I would see several new posts a day. I browsed many blogs before finding this one, from blogs by teachers for teachers, by kids, researchers and just lovers of technology. I knew blogging was a hot trend but I don’t think I realize the extent of its popularity. I can see myself using blogs in my educational world more frequently in my professional word. I am new to blogging so as I advance my blogging skill, I will start to try to integrate it into my job. Although I don’t think it will be age appropriate for my kindergarteners, I could use amongst my team. I believe we can use it to share ideas and tools we use in the classroom or even share those strategies with the parents working with their students at home. One feature that I absolutely loved about this blog was the ability to follow it through twitter. This made the experience more enjoyable to keep up with the post. Whenever a new post was available, Steve tweeted the topic, brief description and a link. If I found it interesting I would open the link, if not there wasn’t any time wasted.