I'm tickled to death to have the opportunity to spend the morning with you on the next step of using blogs and blogging with and/or for your students. Over the summer, we used this blog to communicate, share ideas, listen to each others' readings, and to share our work with others. Some of you became bloggers -- many of you didn't. Many of you still will/might/could. The writing project believes that technology is a big piece of writing. Here's some information on how they're thinking about blogs.
Today, we're going to look at some education blogs, write our own posts, and sign up for an account with a web-based aggregator. We're also going to review the CSUWP website and some of the features that you can use in your classrooms. We're going to do all that in the next 90 minutes.
TASK #1 (10:33-10:48)
You're going to use the next 15 minutes to create a blog and record your first post. We'll be creating today in Blogger. Go ahead and register for a new blog by clicking on the arrow on the bottom right of the main page in Blogger. You might want to open a second browser window so that you can follow along with this blog post as you work. The username that you create is something that you should write down, as is your password. Don't forget, too, to write down the URL of your blog. You'll need it later.
After you register, go ahead and make your first post. It can be a simple "hello!" or an introduction. Even better -- write about what you've taken from the writing project back into your classrooms. What cool stuff are you doing with writing?
Just make sure you make a first post -- your blog won't exist if you don't. After you make that post, come back to this blog and post a comment telling us the URL of your new blog.I'll be around to answer questions and to help out.Let's get this done quickly so that we can get to the good stuff.
Essential Steps of Task #1
- Create an account in Blogger.
- Write your first post.
- Post a comment to this blog sharing your new blog's URL.
Let's take a look at some blogs that other teachers either use with students or for conversations with other teachers. You can find links to a pile of educational blogs via my blog and aggregator. Also, you might want to read the article on blogging that ran in the Coloradoan last week (I posted it here.) Still having trouble finding blogs to consider? Try a blog search engine, like Icerocket or Technorati. Just type in a topic you're curious about and see what the blogosphere spits back.
Your task is simply to read to see what's out there. You're looking for something that you can share with the group. The trick is that we won't be sharing out loud -- you'll be sharing on the blog that you just created. You've got 30 minutes.
Find one use of a blog that you find interesting, frustrating, or otherwise response-worthy. Write a post on your blog sharing your response, question, or idea for using a blog in your own classroom. Make sure you link back to the blog that got you thinking.Go.
Essential Steps of Task #2
- Find a blog or blogs that you would like to respond to.
- Post a response on your new blog.
- Make sure to link back to the blog that you're responding to. Use other hyperlinks when and where you're comfortable.
Blogs are great, but who has time to go to a ton of different websites every week to check in? I certainly don't -- and I don't expect that you do, either. In fact, no one does. Luckily, we don't have to.
An aggregator is a piece of software that collects and brings blogs and other information to you. It does so using a technology called RSS. If you want to know more about how that works, check out this link. All you need to know right now is that you can use an aggregator to look at lots of blogs in one place.
You're going to subscribe to your brand new blog with your brand new Bloglines account. Bloglines is a web-based aggregator. You can log on and read from anywhere that you have a web connection.
You'll have 20 minutes to create an account at Bloglines and to subscribe to your own blog, as well as any other blogs that you found that you'd like to keep an eye on. Also, you should subscribe to Will Richardson's Weblogg-ed and Anne Davis' Edublog Insights.
To add a blog to your Bloglines account, click on Add in the top left corner of your screen. Follow the on-screen instructions from there. (Hint: All you need to add a Blogger account to Bloglines is the first part of the URL. For example, if you wanted to add the CSUWP blog (http://csuwp.blogspot.com) to your account, you'd only need to enter the csuwp from the URL.). I'll be circulating throughout the room to help you through this.
Essential Steps of Task #3
- Create a Bloglines account.
- Add your own blog and any others you found interesting or important.
- Add the blogs of other CSUWP members.
- Marvel at how much work you've done in the last hour.
Okay. We've done a lot with tech this morning. We'll take the rest of our time to review the CSUWP web site and to answer any questions that you might have about all we've done today.
Then we'll eat some lunch.
You've earned it. I'm asking you to take a big risk for the sake of learning today -- thank you. I hope some piece of it was useful. Let me know how I and the other board members can be helpful to you in your work.
Essential Steps of Task #4
- Ask good questions.
- Take a breath.
- Eat lunch.