Write Design Multimedia

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

'Edublogs and their value as professional development tools for teachers' by Andrea

Definition
'A blog (weblog) is a website in which items are posted on a regular basis and displayed in reverse chronological order. A blog comprises text, hypertext, images and links to other web pages and to video, audio (podcasts) and other files. Often blogs focus on a particular ‘area of interest’. Some blogs discuss personal experiences’. (Taken from Wikipedia)

Blog jargon
Blogger: someone who creates a blog, posts entries.
Blogging: authoring, maintaining, adding an article to an existing blog
Blogroll: list of blogs that a blogger reads-written on side of their blog.
Edublog: educational blog.
Sitemeter: meter that records where hits come from.
Post: a blog entry, blog post, post.
Blogspert: expert on blogging (‘I made that term up, can’t help myself.’ A.Hayes)

Blog history
• ‘The term ‘weblog’ was coined by Jorn Barger on 17 December 1997.
• Firstly broadly popular blogs appeared in America in 2001, followed by ‘How to ‘ manuals.
• In 2004, TV journalist Dan Rather presented documents (CBS show 60 Minutes) that conflicted with accepted accounts of president Bush’s military service record and many bloggers view this scandal as the advent of blogs’ acceptance by the mass media.
• ‘It is estimated there are now more than 28 million blogs in the world.’ (The Age 25/2/06)

Edublogs (Educational blogging)

There are many applications for Edublogs:
• Professional development for teachers. Eg., Discussions on curriculum, classroom practice etc (my interest).
• Way of introducing/ publishing new classroom resources to a specific audience (my interest).
• Students improving writing skills via blogging etc.

Case study
Interview with Jo McLeay, English Co-ordinator and author of blog,
http://theopenclassroom.blogspot.com 1/3/06.

What do you think is the value of blogs?
The value of blogs lies in them being an interactive space around which communities can form. They are a form of publication of content to a specific audience (decided by the creator) thus giving people a voice in important matters socially and generating a form of identity not possible otherwise. This is because blogs can be individualized by the author of the content in a way that discussion forums etc can’t.

How did you get into blogs?
Basically I read some blogs and I loved reading them because I could relate to them. Then just by chance I listened to an educational podcast by Steve Dembo (Teach 42). He referred to David Warlick and Will Richardson and they were the door into the edublogging community. I just kept reading them and their blogrolls. I came trust them so I knew I could trust their blogroll.

What’s the purpose of your blog?

It’s a great reflective teaching and learning tool. It’s been the best professional development I have ever done.
Whose the audience for your blog?
The audience for my blog is teachers, mainly English teachers and those in the edublogging community. I know who visits my blog by visiting my sitemeter.

Describe the process you go through before you post?
I saw a t-shirt once that said “I’m blogging this.” That’s how I feel.
Anything I read or do in school or my study could become the subject of a post. But so many of my posts are in response to the other blogs I read.

I’m often thinking for a day or two what I want to write about. Sometimes I jot down some notes. Sometimes I keep a running file of thoughts that could be developed as blog posts in a word document on my computer.

I always write a draft in word and copy and paste the links at the end of the post, and then copy it into Wordpad to get rid of formatting. Then I copy and paste into my blogger dashboard and put in the hyperlinks.

I would feel funny doing a post without hyperlinks although I have done one, I think. I would read it through at each stage and maybe alter it a bit but sometimes I go check it as it appears on the site and there’s still a typo, so then I edit it.

Does your blog site have any rules?

No, but as far as I’m concerned I don’t do anything that I wouldn’t do to someone’s face.

Conclusions
Edublogs can be valuable professional development tools for teachers.
They can be used by an international community to reflect on and discuss:
• Teaching practices
• Approaches to classroom problems
• Curriculum
• New/needed resources

Edublogs don’t cost money but you can spend a lot of time blogging and reading blogs –not all of which may be helpful. As with anything on the Net teachers need to check authenticity and not to assume that anyone who blogs represents an ‘expert’ opinion.

Bibliography
http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Blog 2/28/2006
http://theopenclassroom.blogspot.com 20/3/06
email interview with Jo McLeay 1/3/06
The Age 25/2/06

3 Comments:

  • Just in case you don't already know, Jo McLeay has referred to your case study on her site.

    By Blogger Lara, at 2:05 pm  

  • Great idea to go straight to the source and interview someone! Good research and clearly laid out -- however I think that the material would be more compelling and readable if you had introduced the interviewee (Jo) first up -- perhaps with a para about the use and value of edublogs -- and had put the definitions etc as footnotes. Those that don't know the basic stuff about blogs will read the footnotes whilst those who're already familiar with the blog concept can go straight for the guts of the report.

    By Blogger Administration, at 3:31 pm  

  • I liked the idea of doing an interview, very original (and as Lara said, you've already been acknowledged in Jo's site!). I wonder how teachers would control blogging, to ensure that it was actually being used for educational usages. It sounds like a good idea to allow students to have a wider, 'authentic' audience for their work. In somebody else's essay on 'my space', they wrote about how this had been banned in some schools because it just provided an extra vehicle for students to bad-mouth other students, I guess as it's all such new technology for classrooms, it's a matter of precedents being set as we speak, as to how exactly blogging can provide new ways for students to express themselves.

    By Blogger suzi taylor, at 3:05 pm  

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