Blog Action Day 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

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

You can get the latest by following them on Twitter at

One issue, one day, thousands of voices.

Making a Living At The Fifth Estate

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 discover that they claim "...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.

The article's author, Mark Penn, says that if journalists were the Fourth Estate, then bloggers are becoming the Fifth Estate, and a real business has arrived. Bloggers not only are used to launch new efforts, but for companies and products that depend upon blogger reviews. He points to a similar trend in "Opinion TV" where those opinions get far more attention than the gathering of facts.

I am not alone in questioning those numbers, and anyone who looks online for the "facts" on blogging and blogger numbers will discover a real lack of agreement. As a non-profiting blogger, I also wonder at a poll done by Technorati saying that those bloggers who had 100,000 or more unique visitors made an average income of $75,000.

Serendipity35 averages about 12,000 unique visitors a month lately, so does that mean that Tim and I could be getting $16,000 to blog? Who is paying? What's the business model? Good questions.

Like almost all online ventures, blogs get most of their revenue from ads and readers clicking on them. Some bloggers get paid by the post ($75-200), and some "spokesbloggers" are paid by a company to blog about their products.

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?

Comparing Job Numbers in America -  Bureau of Labor Statistics
Lawyers = 555,770
Bloggers = 452,000
Computer Programmers 394,710
CEOs 299,160
Firefighters 289,710
75% of bloggers are college graduates.

Most are white males reporting above-average incomes but not necessarily from blogging. Only 2% of those make a living at it. More typically, they are like myself - doing it for about 3 years; making a few hundred bucks or less on ads or referrals.
I don't agree with Penn's prediction that "at some point the value of the Huffington Post will no doubt pass the value of the Washington Post." If these "pro" bloggers are making $45,000 to $90,000 a year for their blogging, I'll take the gig. No offers yet, but I'm open to doing it as a living instead of just doing it.

updated"How Much Do the Top Bloggers Make?"  Take a look at this article if you're still dreaming about making big bucks by blogging.
As of June 2017, Serendipity35 averages 582,000 hits a month - and still is a non-profit. We don't take out own advice very well.

Blogging As Reflective Practice

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.

No More Educational Blogger News

February 2009    As Mike noted in his comment to us, EdBloggerNews is now 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 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.