Becoming a Blogger

Introduction


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 (e.g. articles, news items, commentaries, journal entries, stories, reviews, summaries, etc...), organized by categories (or tags), with a place for readers to leave comments. It is short for web log (or we blog). In analog (paper) terms, it is like a journal or diary.

However, because it is digital and on the web, readers can subscribe to a blog using a special type of code called an RSS (or similar) feed. A blog usually has one author and can be about any topic, from personal to political to professional. Here is an example of our Parker technology blog: Tech.eNews

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 get to know blogs better, you will learn that they have 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 the a central component of this course. You will use your blog to document your learning, discoveries, and experiments. It will serve as your course portfolio, documenting what you have learned.


Discovery Exercise
So what is a blog? Here is a short video to address that question in plain English.

Blogs in Plain English (2:59)







¤ 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 all of the main questions/points of the task.

Before you get started blogging, please consider the following:

Tips for a Richer K12 Learning 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.




Task

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

POST 1: From __**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 K12 Learning 2.0 experience?
    • Which habit(s) will be easiest, or are most resonant 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: From __**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?

¤ IMPORTANT: In case you missed this above -- after you have registered your blog, BE SURE to add your blog address to the Google tracking spreadsheet. I will use these addresses to remove the ads from your blogs and to subscribe to your blogs in my RSS reader so that I can follow your progress. Coaches and participants will also use the Google spreadsheet to locate each others' blogs.

‡ HELP Video: __How to write and publish a basic blog post__
(More Edublogs help resources available on the __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 Blog address listings in our course tracking spreadsheet (remember, there are several tabs in the spreadsheet) and visit the blogs of two colleagues -- one from your own school and one from another school. Read their Thing 1 or Thing 2 posts and leave a comment in response -- be sure to include your blog address in the Website field!

‡ HELP Video: __How to leave a comment on someone's blog__
(More Edublogs help resources available on the __Edublogs Help Page__)