Thing 3 (Month 2): Become a Blogger


Introduction
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Illustration by Howdy, I'm H. Michael Karshis

A blog is one of the core publishing/communication tools of Web 2.0. A blog, at its simplest, is a website containing an archived series of posts (newest on top), organized by categories (or tags), with a place for readers to leave comments. Readers can subscribe to the blog using a special type of code called an RSS (or similar) feed. A blog may have one or many authors, and can be about any topic, from personal to political to professional.

Blogs connect ideas and people.
Blogging can provide teachers and students with an authentic opportunity to express themselves, synthesize ideas from many sources, engage in discussion and debate, write for an audience beyond the classroom, reflect on their own learning, teach and mentor others, and connect with peers and experts around the globe. As you work through the next few "Things," and the remainder of the course, you will begin to learn more about blogs and their powerful potential for personal and professional learning, reflection and communication.

Today, the primary goal is to get you "up and blogging." Your personal blog is one of the most important components of this course. You will use your blog to document your learning, discoveries and experimentation throughout the course. It will also serve as your course portfolio, or record of completion. For tips on using Edublogs and maximizing your Marist Web 2.0 blogging experience, visit our Edublogs Help page.



Discovery Exercise
As you watch the video below, consider the term "NEWS" as meaning any content or topic that is relevant to you and/or your students.

Blogs in Plain English (3:00)



Getting started:
If you have not already completed, Thing 2.5, set up your blog at Edublogs.org

¤ NOTE:
You may choose to blog under your real name or a pseudonym/username, but your blog content should always be school appropriate. Course facilitators and other participants will know who you are, but the "world" doesn't have to.


‡ HELP Page:
Signing up for an Edublog

(Additional Edublogs help resources available on our Edublogs Help Page )




¤ AN IMPORTANT NOTE:

Your blog will serve as the record of your learning in this course. If you are wondering how long your blog posts need to be:


  • Your blog posts should be as long as they need to be for you to meaningfully express your thoughts and reflect on your learning. You will get out of the course what you put in. Others will read and learn from what you post. What would you want your own students to do?
  • If none of those guidelines are working for you... aim for at least a solid paragraph that addresses the main questions/points of the task.

Before you get started blogging, please consider the following:


Tips for a Richer Marist Web 2.0 Blogging Experience

  • Your blog will be as meaningful as you make it. Invest in your reflections and spend a little time crafting your posts. Take time to link, format your text and possibly add images. Feel free go beyond the minimum posting requirements. The blog is truly yours.
  • Be brave when posting and celebrate your learning. We all struggle and experience frustration and can benefit from hearing about others' experiences. We also want to hear about your discoveries and problem-solving triumphs!
  • Be generous in commenting on other participants blogs. Blogging is meant to engage readers in two-way communication. We are a community of learners. If you take a little time to encourage and respond to others' posts, they will respond in kind.



Tasks

Task 1: After you have set up your blog, write the following two posts. Be sure to include the Thing # in the Post Title.


POST 1:
Thing 1 - Reflections on Lifelong Learning
Write a reflective blog post based on the 7 1/2 Habits of Effective Lifelong Learners. You may write about anything related to your own experiences or beliefs about Lifelong Learning, and your thoughts about this course. The three things you were asked to consider were:
    • Which habit(s) may be most challenging for you to employ as part of your Marist Web 2.0 experience?
    • Which habit(s) will be easiest, or are most resonent for you as a lifelong learner?
    • Which habit do you think will be most important for you as you work through this course, and why?


POST 2:
Thing 2 - Thoughts about Web 2.0
Complete a blog post reflecting on your initial thoughts about Web 2.0 and its role in 21st Century teaching and learning. Consider the ways in which Web 2.0 tools might change (or have already changed) your professional practice. How might you be able to use these new tools to to engage today's "digital learners?" Why would you want to? How might you be able to use these tools to support your own learning?

HELP Video: How to write and publish a basic blog post
(Many other Edublogs help resources available on our Edublogs Help Page)

Stretch Task
(P. S. I hope everyone does this one!) Blogging is meant to be a conversation and we are a community of learners. Check the Fall 2010 Participants page AFTER September 20 and visit the blogs of two (or more) colleagues -- one from your own school and one from another school. Read their Thing 1 or Thing 2 post and leave a comment in response! Type or paste the URL of your own blog in the "website" field so that they know where to find you. Early finishers may have to check back later in the week to find blogs to post to.

HELP Video:
How to leave a comment on someone's blog
HELP Video:
Managing comments on your own blog
(Many other Edublogs help resources available on our Edublogs Help Page)