Tuesday, February 16, 2010

921-Session 3

So there may still be some skepticism in some of you about the practicality and positive uses of this technology. After all, it does seem like every time we hear or read about blogs and children from the news media--- they have a negative connotation. Briefly skim this report published by Nielsen. I am sure that you will be convinced that blogs are not a passing fad. You can't fake these numbers (and its 4 years old). That's probably a reality check for those of you that are just getting familiar with blogs.

Some of you have already begun creating your own blogs (As they are posted I'll place links to them in the left-hand margin).
Last semester, John jumped right in and began practicing with creative headlines and sidebars, as well as with emailing his posts to his blog. Check it out.

I'm placing links to all the course participants' blogs as they come in on the left. Check them out, as well as some of the past participants' blogs and give them a comment or two. It'll be good practice.

Session 3 is now uploaded and accessible, (if you are having trouble use this as a back-up and just do a search for edc921), but before you do that I want to introduce you to a simple tool to help you monitor both my blog postings and the comments from your fellow participants.

Please visit:

This link will visually walk you through the steps to set up a Bloglines account. Its primary purpose is to deliver to you every new blog posting by me and every new comment by your fellow participants. It has a lot of bells and whistles, but don't get distracted by them. Follow the basic instructions and it shouldn't take you too long. If you are interested in reading the comments and reflections from previous semesters then you may find them here:
and last summer's are here.

Additionally, I'd like you to watch this tutorial. It is on 'Social Bookmarking.' We are all familiar with the ability to save favorite websites in our "Favorites" folder, but what if you had the ability to see other edc921 participants' favorites? What if you could benefit from the greatest sites found by other teachers? What if you could access their favorites, as well as your own, from any Internet connected computer? Check out this tutorial and sign up for an account, (optional) and help us by 'tagging' all the great sites you find with an 'edc921' label. If you are apprehensive, visit Delicious.com and do a search for 'edc920' and you'll find all the websites used from that course. I haven't started tagging for this course, but maybe we could do it together.

Pace yourself this week. Some weeks will be easier than others---this will not be one of those. There is a lot to go over, so don't put it all off until the weekend, and don't forget to visit your fellow participants' new blogs. All addresses should be posted under S2. And don't forget, I'm also creating a links to each one in the left hand margin.

Enjoy and have fun!


Anonymous said...

I've really enjoyed having the opportunity to check out some amazing blogs. I was really impressed by "The Duck Diaries". While I knew that blogs could be used in all levels of education, it was great to see it used in a Kindergarten class. I was impressed not only by the blog itself but by how other classes and even other grades joined in. Recently, there has been a big push in my school for more interdisciplinary collaboration. As I continue to learn more about blogs and these other Web 2.0 tools I see a great number of opportunities to reach out and network with other departments.
I loved Linda Hartley's Classroom Displays blog. I think it’s a fabulous way to showcase student work and share it with both the school and the community. It seems as though the media chooses to focus on the negatives when it comes to education (i.e. taxes and teacher salaries) but a blog such as this one highlights the outstanding things that go on in the classroom.
I have hundreds of pictures and would love to be able to share them. I was thinking of creating a "Wall of Fame" type page on my blog that would recognize student accomplishments (both in the classroom and in FFA). However, this brought up an "I wonder" question. I'm sure I would have to discuss this further with my administrators but was just curious as to policies about posting student pictures online. I could take pictures of just the project but would like to also be able to show students actively engaged in learning and hands-on activities. I have never used Flickr. Does it allow you to control who accesses your pictures or are they all public? Is there a way that I could control this through my blog? I would appreciate any thoughts that anyone might have.
I was also wondering if anyone was able to successfully setup their Bloglines account and link the class blog. When I copied and pasted the link as a new feed, it appeared with a red exclamation points and an error message after it. Any suggestions?
I haven’t had a great deal of luck finding edublogs within my content area (agriculture). I have discovered a number of interesting personal and group blogs. I’ve noticed that “bloggers” tend to include links to other sites which is very helpful. It seems that each blog I do find leads me to several others.

alexandra Phelan said...

I am just checking to see if I set up my bloglines correctly.

Alexandra Phelan said...

trying again...

Mrs. McAllister said...

After viewing many of the example blogs on this week’s PowerPoint, I can really appreciate the variety of uses that blogs encompass. I liked the blog Polar Science 2006 that allow schools to join as a Polar scientist team with cool names like Auroraborealisites to answer challenge questions. These questions are posted from the Ice Team of scientists in Antarctica that study seal breathing abilities in low oxygen conditions. This is a great opportunity for students to see how research is conducted and see discoveries made in real-time as they update the blog frequently.
This blog made me think of ways to incorporate current events into my student blog. I am going to be starting Earth science so I looked online for articles that relate to the Haiti earthquake which are appropriate for students. I found a great blog at: http://kesblogger.edublogs.org/2010/01/25/haiti-earthquake-research/
with a current events entry that allows students to choose from a number of related articles they would like to read and respond to. I am going to do the same with my blog when the time comes so that not only are students able to choice from more than one topic but I can limit what articles they are reading.
I liked the blog Hey Jude, in which a librarian showcases a fundraiser “Writing a Book in a Day.” It has a video that shows the process of students coming together for a good cause to write an original story over the course of one day in small groups with a given set of characters and a defined setting. The blog also has a scrolling slide show of pictures from the event which I really liked. I am going to create a slide show for my website from the pictures taken at the Science Olympiad meet. I wonder if I should start a blog for the 15 students that make up the SO group to have access to with links to the national website and other resources that I could put the slideshow on. I already have the links on my website but having a blog that would cater to the SO students needs seem appropriate. It’s interesting how once you have blogging in one part of teaching, other ideas of how it can be used pop up.

http://phelansphavorites.blogspot.com/ said...

I remember painting the exterior of my house and it seemed that everyone else was as well, when we redid our roof everyone followed suit. Now that I am reading and learning about blogs I see the opportunity to blog everywhere, opportunities to offer condolences through funeral homes, comments on newspaper articles and the chance for students to ask questions to a teacher’s syllabus. I have spent time checking out the variety of uses of blogs. I am realizing little things that I will have to adjust with my own. I plan to use my blog, in some capacity, for school so I would want to have my work email in there, not a big deal I realize but as the uses become more practical, more imminent I will have to make adjustments.
“Delicious” is a new dimension to the web that I can see as a very valuable tool. It is like the school share drive with the opportunity to access it wherever the Internet is available. The vast capabilities of some of these sites has eluded me. Up until this point, I have steered away from these sites, fearing I would fall for something that is promoted as free. It is still overwhelming but it seems that now I see a much more sophisticated web than the sites that, in the past, I could simply grab a worksheet from.
I have had some trouble updating the feeds on bloglines. I have an account set up and I add the class and it looks fine but then when I go back to view it none of my feeds have saved, my account is still there but the class updates http is not registered there anymore. I will not give up yet; I am about to recruit my husband. I have added an RSS stream to my blog I thought but I am not getting updates so I still need to tinker with it.

Cheryl said...

Dave was absolutely correct when he cautioned us that there was a great deal to explore this week. Even though this is only week 3 of the course, I'm a bit overwhelmed with the amount of great tools on the internet to explore. This week, I had these "I wonders":

I wonder if I will feel less overwhelmed as I progress through the information for this course.

I wonder if I can find a more effective way of finding blogs pertaining to my field, adult literacy. I found a few blogs but I suspect that there are others that I just didn't find through my "google search" and through the site on education blogs.

As I pondered the concept that children reported that they didn't do much reading and writing out of class even though they did in fact through facebook, myspace, etc., I had another wonder. I wonder if my current adult literacy learners will embrace blogging. The adults I work with currently are very inhibited to do any writing as they are most concerned with form. With any writing they do, they want to be perfect. Children are less inhibited to write because they have been using cell phones to text, instant messaging, social networking sites, etc. and know that their audience, mostly, doesn't care about spelling, grammar, or other standard conventions. I believe this is one of the challenges and the great opportunities for teachers in the classroom. But for my adult literacy learners, I am concerned that they will not put their thoughts out there because of their inhibitions.

Deb said...

I agree with Malaree, I loved Linda Hartley's blog too. I am an avid photographer and often take pictures of my students' projects. I display the photos on a bulletin in my classroom, but showcasing these activities through a blog would allow many more people to see the wonderful work my students can do.

I have the same questions about Flickr...what kind of control do I have over who can access the photos? I know my school sends a letter home asking for parents' permission to photograph the students, but the photos that are included with the newsletter that is sent through the listserv must be a blurred or side/partial view of the students. I need to look into my school's policy on making photographs/video of students public before I add them to my blog.

I have found several edublogs that I really enjoy in just the past few weeks of this class. TwoWritingTeachers.wordpress.com is a wonderful resource for ideas for the classroom as well as a source of inspiration for personal writing. I also liked the Teacher Magazine blog that I found on the EdWeek website.

My next step is bookmarking these and other favorites through Del.icio.us. I love the idea of sharing valuable resources with my colleagues, and being able to have access to their favorite sites too. I think it was Alexandra who commented on what a valuable tool this is...I completely agree, and not only for sharing with colleagues. I think this would be a great way to designate sites I wanted my students to use for a project, too. I haven't tried to access Del.icio.us from school yet, though and I wonder if it will be blocked.

Deb said...

I also wanted to comment on Dave's mention of a conversation with his students about their reading and writing outside of the classroom. I have had similar conversations with my students and think it is so interesting that they rarely perceive all the time they spend reading and writing online as anything that counts as "reading and writing." Reading the Nielsen article confirms that our students are more than comfortable with Web communciation..."Teens who enjoy social media are intensive users and engaged...this demographic is not afraid of learning the latest Web technologies." With our students as such eager participants in exploring the latest technology, it seems shameful to keep this kind of learning out of the classroom.