This week I read two articles for my Read-Write-Web class. Blogs: Webs of Connected Learning by Miguel Guhlin from Around the Corner Blog and Successful and Safe Educational Blogging by Wesley Fryer from Moving at the Speed of Creativity.
I started my first blog in the summer of 2004 and have been hooked since then. I have used my blog as place to reflect on the different things going on in my career. The idea of creating a PLN or Personal Learning Network really resonates with me. At first it didn’t bother me that I wasn’t getting any readers on my blog. I was writing for myself. Nowadays this has changed for me. I actively read other blogs and comment on what I find interesting. I then link back to my blog. There is an intersection between reading and producing content. RSS facilitates the development of my Personal Learning Network. I have used bloglines as my RSS agragator and it works great; check out my blogroll Just recently there was a discussion around social learning communities like classroom 2.0 I read several posts and commented. I then wrote my own reflection on my blog. I also enjoy listening to educational podcasts. I have created a few podcast myself. I use them just like a blog but in audio format. In the last year or so I have participated in live webcasts. These synchronous conversations involve the use of a chat room, Skype, and desktop sharing all at the same time. I have also joined twitter. I keep up with my edtech friends. Conversation develop around our day to day activities. It is easier than creating a block post and you are sure your friends are reading. You can even update with text messages from your cell phone. The BIG idea for me is for information to be transparent.
This year I started my blog classroom. I decided to go with wordpress.com I have posted most of the content. I use it post learning topics, student work, and podcasts. The students respond to teacher prompts. At this point I haven’t thought about allowing for individual student blogs. In promoting blogs at a wider scale, either for student blogs or teacher and classroom blogs in one school. I would recommend hosting the blogs on your local server. Both wordpress and edublogs support installing multiple user accounts on local servers. You create a walled garden where exploration and expression can take place without having to worry about “outsiders” coming in. The only drawback to this is that you won’t be able to connect with other educators outside your immediate circle. I recently connected with two classroom blogs in my district, Brooklyn Avenue and Teacher in the inner city. Even outside my district I connected with a third grade blog in Tampa Florida and a Fifth grade blog in Sacramento California.