As part of my new Emerging Instructional Technologies course for grad school, I have had to dive head-first into the blogosphere. And I use the pool metaphor, because it seems like there are so many blogs that you could drown yourself in them….but in a good way.
Now, let’s be clear. The blogs I am reading belong under the Instructional Technologies (IT) umbrella. But literally there are blogs out there for every topic that may suit one’s interestes. The IT topic has hundreds alone, so I’m sure you can imagine the scope of which I speak of.
Think of blogs like a piece of electronic writing that is centered on one topic, but could take you in many directions with links (much like this blog). Imagine a research paper and being able to click on each citation to go directly to it. I know – the idea excites me as well. In fact, next year I would like to have my 8th graders write their research papers in paper form (because most teachers and professors require it in that medium) and in blog form. That’s an idea that has stemmed from this project.
But let’s get into what I’ve been reading and see if it sparks your interest.
Reading Leads to New Ideas
I have skimmed across all kinds of articles from various blogs that I don’t follow on a regular basis, for those, follow me on Twitter. If they’re worthy, I share them there.
However, a few have not only sparked my interest but demanded my full attention:
The Cool Cat Teacher Blog is one that I follow for a couple of reasons. Each blog entry is relatively short making it a quick reference point. Also, it provides GREAT lesson plan ideas. This post gives some great ideas for new apps that I might be able to utilize with our iPad 1:1 initiative.
I love Dangerously Irrelevant, and I’m not sure why. I think because it’s a blog that goes deeper. Scott McLeod doesn’t just throw new technology ideas out there expecting people to pick them up. He does a very nice job reflecting WHY we should pick them up. I’ve always been a thinker/reflector; therefore, I tend to be drawn to this blog.
Professor Z’s blog, Dr. Z Reflects, demands my attention for a slightly different reason. It’s similar to Danerously Irrevelant. But what I like is how almost all of Dr. Z’s entries end with a question to consider, or he asks us to comment with our thoughts on the matter. He beckons us to keep the conversation going.
And I think that’s the most powerful tool. Go back to the research paper analogy I used earlier. Imagine being able to give your direct feedback to the author and pinning it on a cork board in your room for millions to read (the cork board being Twitter). I have a Worthy Warrior Writings board in my room where I pin up exceptional pieces of writing that were assigned that demonstrate one of the 6+1 Traits. But those might get read by some others in the same class and in other classrooms. But when that piece of writing – that synthesized idea – is now apart of a classroom of millions, I imagine that piece of writing takes on a greater purpose other than a grade from me. And I also imagine that a student will feel a greater sense of satisfaction when it receives dozens of comments from those with similar interestes, not just from me, the teacher.
What Makes a Great Blog?
In my opinion, credibility/ethos. Anyone can blog, but people don’t want to read babble. They want a purpose to keep reading. Even if you’re not an expert, your blog should provide lots of links to those that are experts. The blog should enlighten us as well. Don’t just tell us how an app works, but maybe provide how that app can be integrated into a Spanish lesson plan.
I hope that I can meet my own observations regarding others’ blogs. Time to put my money where my mouth is. Keep checking back and let me know how I’m doing.
P.S. Have you found a blog you like? Share in the comments.
You haven’t found one? Here are my classmates’ blogs. Drown yourself with new ideas.
Mrs. Foelske’s Kindergarten Happenings
The Infinite Classroom
Technology as Tool
Howard-Winn Tech Blog
Tech It 2 the Next Level
Hansen’s Daily Doings
Meeting the Needs of All Learners
Ideas about instructional technology and other things
Raves, Rages, Rants, and Reflections