Monday, July 12. 2010
I don't really need another place to blog, but the Writing Initiative that I direct at Passaic County Community College has an Initiative blog that we use to communicate with our campus community. Though some of the posts are directed directly at our students and faculty, a number of the resources we write about are useful to anyone doing writing across the curriculum.
For example, today's post is about an article from The New York Times on "Tech Tips For Teachers: Free, Easy and Useful Creation Tools."
The tools include free online sites to help students visualize texts (with tools like Wordle, Tagxedo or The New York Times Visualization Lab), create timelines (using Xtimeline, Time Glider or Timetoast) and design presentations that go beyond PowerPoint (with Glogster.edu and Museum Box).
For prewriting, mind maps on paper, and now electronically, are popular idea-processing tools. Their use was popularized by the British IQ specialist Tony Buzan starting in the 1960s.
Bubbl.us, CoSketch.com and Cacoo are good starting places that also allow collaboration by student pairs or groups. Of course, students can also use The Times for generating ideas on many topics across disciplines from math to fine arts.
Friday, January 22. 2010
Bill Gates launched his personal blog called The Gates Notes this past week. He has a category for Education and already posted a piece on lifelong learning and some courses he has downloaded from The Teaching Company and a post on educational reform. He says that he will be posting about open courseware soon too.
The navigation is a bit too elaborate and I didn't find an RSS feed to subscribe, but it nice looking. It looks like he has good tech support.
Has Bill turned into an edublogger? Not quite, but it's certainly on his agenda. I like that he has a category for what HE is learning about these days (economics is on that list).
From what I have read about the blog, it is actually Bill doing the blogging. I hope so, and I hope he keeps at it and doesn't pass the writing over to someone else.
Oh yeah, he's on Twitter now too.
Friday, October 23. 2009
Last week was the BlogWorld & New Media Expo which included the 2009 "State of the Blogosphere" report compiled by Technorati and delivered by their CEO Richard Jalichandra.
Since 2004, Technorati's annual State of the Blogosphere report has followed growth and trends in the blogosphere. This year bloggers were surveyed directly to provide the data for the report.
The 2009 State of the Blogosphere survey demonstrates that the growth of the blogosphere's influence on subjects ranging from business to politics to the way information travels through communities continues to flourish. In a year when revolutions and elections were organized by blogs, bloggers are blogging more than ever, and the State of the Blogosphere is strong.
Technorati released five segments that you can now access online. They started with demographics on Who Are the Bloggers, then onto the What and Why and the How of Blogging. The last two segments are of less interest to me and most educators - blogging revenues and their political impact - but are probably where the most interest is in blogging in the larger part of the blogosphere.
In addition to the survey results, there are also interviews with some big names from blogging:
Michael Arrington, TechCrunch
Penelope Trunk, Brazen Careerist
Steve Rubel, Edelman Digital, Micro Persuasion
Alex Santoso, Neatorama
Henry Copeland, Blogads
Arianna Huffington, The Huffington Post
Jonathan Salem Baskin, Dimbulb
Mathew Ingram, Toronto Globe and Mail
Seth Godin, Squidoo, sethgodin.typepad.com
Simon Mackie, Web Worker Daily
Dan Gillmor, dangillmor.com
Duncan Riley, The Inquisitr
Tuesday, September 29. 2009
10,000 bloggers voted and chose as the topic for Blog Action Day 2009 "Climate Change." If you are a blogger, you can go can register for Blog Action Day 09 at www.blogactionday.org
To be a part of this year's event, you commit to writing one post, in your own voice, on October 15, on the topic of climate change. Many top blogs - Mashable, The Official Google Blog, TMZ,
Autoblog, Daily Blog Tips and Serendipity35 - are already registered.
Bloggers of all types and sizes, involved in discussing the wide-ranging way in which climate change affects us all is what will make the day a success.
You can also learn more about the issue of climate change and see sample topics you might
write about - like the connections between climate and clean energy, food choices, green products, health, transportation, and the broader economy - at blogactionday.org.
You can get the latest by following them on Twitter at twitter.com/blogactionday.
One issue, one day, thousands of voices.
Sunday, June 7. 2009
Anyone who has read my posts about spam knows that I am the spam executioner. I admit that I am an anti-spam fanatic and my spam controls on this server are Draconian even by Draco's standards.
There are many misconfigured e-mail servers out in the wild that blithely relay spam email to its targeted destination. The most notorious of these mail relays that daily task me is one of the e-mail relays at yahoo.com. Another wildly inconsistent e-mail relay is one of the AOL e-mail servers -- my efforts to bring Yahoo and AOL into the legitimate e-mail fold have met with indeterminate success. Sometimes their e-mail relays behave and deliver real e-mail and sometimes they go round the bend and spit out scads of spam.
I'm committed to overcoming the automatic rejection of reader's comments by the spam filters and, if you have a comment rejected because of a spam block on the s35 server, please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will remove your e-mail address from the automatic spam filters.
The posts that Ken and I write are not one-way valves. We both value (if not crave) your feedback.
If you have something to say, please say it; if the anti-spam gods object to your post, send along your e-mail address and I'll make sure the gods are appeased.
Tuesday, April 28. 2009
From the Wall Street Journal site, comes "America's Newest Profession: Bloggers for Hire." Nothing shocking in the headline. I know that a few people blog for a living. But wait - I read on and discovered that:
"...there are almost as many people making their living as bloggers as there are lawyers. Already more Americans are making their primary income from posting their opinions than Americans working as computer programmers or firefighters."
Really? I can handle that the number of people doing it for at least some income is approaching 1% of American adults. In the studies used by the WSJ, in the U.S. with 20+ million bloggers, with 1.7 million profiting from the work, we have 452,000 of those using blogging as their primary source of income.
Entry into this field? No tests, degrees, or any real regulations. Though Mark Penn may joke about a future "Columbia School of Bloggerism," it is more likely that many more self-made bloggers will move up the pay scale. Mark Zuckerberg wasn't studying social networking at Harvard when he created Facemash and then dropped out to build it into Facebook. (Okay, he was a computer science major.) So, why should budding bloggers study journalism?
Lawyers = 555,770
75% of bloggers are college graduates. Most are white males reporting above-average incomes. Though one third of young people report that they blog, only 2% of those make a living at it. Most bloggers are like myself - doing it for about 35 months and making a few hundred bucks.
(Tim: We have about ten months to make a few hundred dollars and then quit so that we can be typical!) Of course, there are those blogging professionals who work at
corporations or write for
the big sites with lots of traffic. (Penn surmises that "at some point the value of the Huffington Post will no doubt pass the value of the Washington Post.") The pros make $45,000 to $90,000 a year for their blogging and 1% make $200K. The hours are long - 50 to 60 hours a week - but very flexible.
Sounds pretty sweet. Of course, they still need to deal with unemployment insurance, contracts, deadlines, their status as "journalists" (my quotes), libel suits etc.
No one has offered me the big blogging gig yet, but I'm certainly open to doing it as a living instead of just doing it. I'm guessing some much younger bloggers are thinking the same thing.
Friday, March 13. 2009
Today, I am presenting at the 10th Annual NJ Best Practices Showcase on using blogging as a reflective process for my students. You can view the presentation on my Slideshare page. NJEDge.Net and the host school, the College of St. Elizabeth, are also recording the presentations and hoping to post them to the new NJVid site. In this post, I want to go into a bit more detail than I can do in my presentation about reflective practice itself.
Though I reference the book The Reflective Practitioner: How Professionals Think in Action by Donald Schön, what I am discussing does not appear in his book since blogging did not even exist in 1995 when the book was published. He was an MIT social scientist and consultant, and in that book he examines five professions (engineering, architecture, management, psychotherapy, town planning). The book is very much about how professionals go about solving problems.
He introduced reflective practice as a continuous process that involves the learner considering critical incidents in his or her life's experiences. The concept immediately gained traction in teacher education, and also health professions and architectural design. For a teacher-in-training and active in the field, the process of studying his or her own teaching methods and determining what works best for the students is essential. I think it is important that all students (practitioners-in-training) also consider their own experiences in applying knowledge to practice, especially while being "coached" by professionals (instructors,mentors) in their discipline.
Education is my focus here, but all three disciplines also make use of portfolios of a kind. If you use portfolios (paper, electronic or objects), you are probably already using reflection as a part of that practice.
Late in his life (he died in 1997), Donald Schön took an interest in the use of computers in design and the uses of design games to expand designing capabilities. That also appealed to me because I teach a graduate course in the elements of visual design at NJIT, and computer design has become a large part of the course.
Schön's exploration of the nature of learning systems and the significance of learning in changing societies, for me, has applications not only to what is called the "learning society" but also to the movement of that society online. The importance of networks and feedback online changes our ways of knowing.
Schön looks to what some people have called a more "existentially-oriented approach" to studying social change, as opposed to the rational/experimental model that is generally used.
The progression in the past decade of blogs from personal web journals to a platform for established professionals, corporations and writers has created opportunities for education. In my presentation, I was talking about my use of blogs with graduate students at NJIT over the past two years as a method for regular student reflection on their learning. I have them use the free Blogger service Though there are other free and paid services available).
Blogs offer the easiest method for students to publish online to a large audience without sophisticated web design skills. This allows them to focus on specific topics and on their own knowledge construction. The built-in feedback tools allow teacher-to-student and peer-to-peer and, perhaps most powerfully, outsider commentary.
Though blogs can serve as e-portfolios and some teachers use them as such, I am more focused on reflection. I don't ignore using the blog to address writing concepts, publishing practices, intellectual property and using the blog's digital design as a learning portfolio, it is just not my primary concern. Is that what I tell students? Not immediately. The "assignments" that they blog about initially are reflective in nature without having to make that the "learning outcome."
My use of blogs at NJIT is easily incorporated into the MS in Professional and Technical Communication program which already has program competencies for students and an established e-portfolio program.
In education, reflective practice is a part of teacher research, but the journaling and discussion of your own teaching practices is not the same as doing traditional research. That is, students do not hypothesize and test ideas in that rational/experimental manner. What practitioners do in "the real world" is more likely to be testing their ideas against multiple forms of evidence, against multiple perspectives from their community of practice AND the research literature.
There's an old saying that if you want to know what you think, write it down. Writing about your practice is part of the process as it requires you to organize ideas into a framework.
Friday, February 20. 2009
February 2009 As Mike noted in his comment to us, EdBloggerNews is now salesforce.com. That's not a good sign.
POSTED July 2006 EdBloggerNews is a news site where users submit "bookmarklets" to articles about education, and the readers choose which stories make the headlines. It's similar to the site digg.com but it focuses on education news. Think of it as a news aggregator that is peer-reviewed.You can also look at sub-topics like technology and blogging in education. Looking at it today I discovered articles on MySpace and Adults, banning cell phones in schools, a review of blogging tools and using games in education.
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