Friday, August 10, 2007

What About Blogs - Vinita August 2007

Welcome to the Eighth Floor class, "What About Blogs."
We thought you might be interested in looking at a few of the blogs we find particularly relevant to education and technology integration. There are thousands and thousands of blogs out there. You will find blogs on any topic, from pet grooming to dissertation research. People of all ages are drawn to blogging as a form of expression. As a collaboration and communication tool, blogs have found their place in education. Many teachers use them for professional development and continued learning.

Check out the following education/professional development focused blogs:
Moving at the Speed of Creativity
Teachers Teaching Teachers
Blog of Proximal Development
2 Cents Worth
The Good Habits Blog

Several teachers are using blogs in the classroom as a tool for collaboration and communication. They find that blogging results in much more authentic learning for students.

Check out the following education/classroom use blogs:
Mrs. Watts Second Grade Computer Classroom
AP English Literature and Composition

English 12
Maybry - Classroom and Teacher blogs
Applied Science Research Blogs Alan November - Examples in Education
Mrs. Cassidy's Classroom Blog (1st and 2nd Graders)
Blogical Minds

Check out the following education/safety focused postings and articles:
MySpace Education
Change Agency

Blogging Tips and Tricks:
Web Blog Basics
Blogs - Anatomy
Bogs for Learning
valuating Blogging
logging Best Practices

Being as this is a class about blogging, we think you ought to do a little, well, blogging. (Those of you reading this who are not enrolled in the class, please jump in!) We’d like you to share some of your thoughts or concerns about setting up and using blogs either professionally or in the classroom.
Here are some questions to get you started thinking:
- What do you want to know about blogs?
- What do you already know about blogs?
- How do you think you can use blogs?
- How do you see others using blogs?
- What are you concerned about when it comes to blogs?
- What experiences (good or bad) have you already had with blogs?
- How important is digital literacy for our students?
- OR anything else you would like to blog about.
Come up with at least one idea for using or creating a blog - it doesn't even have to be "school" related, and post a comment at the bottom of this post. Share any other thoughts you might have. If you can't think of something to "DO" with a blog, then share something you have learned about blogs or blogging.

Post your thoughts as a "comment" by clicking on the “comments” hyperlink at the bottom of this post. You can contribute as “other.”

Be sure to include your name somewhere.
Read others’ comments and feel free to comment on their comments.

Lee Anne

Monday, August 06, 2007

Will Wikipedia Last?

I was reading a blog post by George Siemens last week on his Connectivism blog titled Wikipedia and Google: Control vs. Emergence, and in light of the many, many conversations I've had this summer with Eighth Floor participants regarding the integrity of Wikipedia, I shared the blog post with several people in recent classes. One participant, Dana Sterling, wrote back. I love her passion, and you will too. I've been bugging her to start a blog, maybe if I share her comments here, she will be inspired!

The issue is kind of beside the one this writer is getting at. Academics worry that people are using Wikipedia and not understanding the quick and dirty, amateurish nature of the entries. This is where Britannica differs from Wikipedia. With ritannica, the entries are vetted and peer reviewed ahead of time. Like traditional academic journals and the journalism publications. Same editing and verification process, just taken to the web.

With Wikipedia, that process happens out in the open, in real time, in a kind of democratic way. That appeals to the grass roots activist, mistrustful of the mass media reader. I'm sure you have seen the student journalist criticism when Emory banned Wikipedia as an academic reference.

So I believe Britannica and Wikipedia are more different than he makes it seem. Though it is true that they are alike in that they are allowing the few to make information decisions for the many.

Google is indeed giving you everything, in one big shovel, and not sorting it at all. But he drastically underplays the impact of advertising and the desire to make money on Google searches. The hits are weighted by frequency and by sponsorship. They are not neutral either; far from it. And the China issue -- Google is willing to play ball with the Thought Police in order to make money. This deeply, deeply disturbs me. Yahoo is too.

Journalists and librarians believe in THE EDITOR! Someone has to make sense of the information, weigh it for authority and objectivity. No average consumer or student has the time to do that. It's an incredibly valuable function. It's not sinister. But the media have blown it and the people don't trust us. They think we are biased. We did it to ourselves by embracing opinion journalism instead of clinging to objectivity as a professional value.

See, this was a blog post. I gotta get one for my academic side!
Thanks for the link.


Dana spent the summer on the Eighth Floor in the Online Learning Series. I find many of her "takes" on things to be interesting, and as I said before, passionate. Dana spent 20 years as a newspaper journalist and TV reporter and now teaches journalism and writing at ORU and TCC.

I appreciate Dana's willingness to share her thoughts. If anyone else is interested in contributing to the Eighth Floor blog, just let me know!

Lee Anne