Sizing up the competition

September 23, 2010

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just hit a button like this? Just one little button, on our computers, laptops, phones, home and work computers, and we could begin directly typing into our blog?  Better yet, how about that same key gives us instant access to not only our blogs, but instinctively knows what blogs we would have interest in and brings up those as well?  Well…we’re close.  iGoogle is doing a fine job of keeping all of my blogs in order.  I have to really determine which are best suited to my needs, but this is a start:

http://davidwarlick.com/2cents/ 2cents Worth

Even though his September 17th entry reads more like a consumer review than an informative blog about teaching and learning, David Warlick is a skilled writer with a lot to say.  He captures the essence of creativity (he calls it “innovation”) in a 21st century world, seamlessly merging his thoughts with external input (tweets), and places to go for more information or related upcoming events.  A particularly intriguing post explains the joy of the iPad, and its potential downfalls (can you produce?), noting, however that we still have many capabilities to learn.  He expands the idea of literacy to include 21st century goals such as exposing the truth, employing the information, and expressing the ideas effectively.  For Mr. Warlick, these are the new “3 R’s” of education.  In the end, educators need to seek out literary tools, not the necessarily the newest piece of technology on the market without regard to what literacy is and how a literacy tool functions.

http://coolcatteacher.blogspot.com/ Cool Cat Teacher Blog

Vicki Davis, a teacher from Georgia has created a blog with topics varying from internet connectivity to people with disabilities.  As a participant in the Flat Classroom Projects http://www.flatclassroomproject.net/ , she seeks to connect the members of classrooms.  Her blog is focused on K-12, primarily upon junior high and high school learning and experiences.  Her spot on a student produced YouTube video, featured the student’s appearance on Edutopia http://www.edutopia.org/.  Look to this blog for a wide variety of subjects pertinent to junior high and high school education.

http://janeknight.typepad.com/socialmedia/ Social Media for Working and Learning

Janet Hart, a “social business consultant,” blogs to a sophisticated reader about advancements, evolutions, and new products in the world of social media.  Her blog is not for beginners.  Although the beginner can certainly learn something from her blog, e.g. a Twitter list for working professionals http://c4lpt.co.uk/connexions/wpl.html, the claim (with well-supported reasons) for having public social media, not banning social media, and keeping social media active in the workplace and in organizations; her blog is certainly geared toward the reader with considerable social media savvy.   I suspect that after following her blog for some time, readers will gain this level of sophistication and move into the realm of her intended audience.  DO not give up on this blog, beginners, you’ll get there.

http://drzreflects.blogspot.com/ Dr. Z Reflects

Dr. Z, Leigh Zeitz, posts what he is passionate about.  This certainly is focused on technology and learning, but includes anything that seems to inspire him, and he passes this on to inspire others.  He reports current events, like his September 13 post about a Wisconsin school removing internet filters.  In addition, he offers valuable advice to new and seasoned educators.  He reminds his readers to integrate the technology in addition to modeling the technology.  He asks pertinent questions and truly “reflects” on the information he has presented.  This is a representative conclusion to his August 9 post, “Do you know a source for finding/identifying the necessary knowledge/skills/attitudes/tools for optimizing a technology-rich learning environment?  What do you think?”

All of these blogs remind other bloggers of the scope of the content that one can post.  All four are very professional, well organized, easy to navigate, and aesthetically pleasing.  They all provide models for other bloggers while providing the readers with information they can use in practice and in theory.  In 2cents Worth,http://davidwarlick.com/2cents/, Mr. Warlick demonstrates a clear sense of style and personal voice that is refreshing in such an informative blog.  Ms. Davis http://coolcatteacher.blogspot.com focuses on topics relevant to her audience.  Ms. Hart http://janeknight.typepad.com/socialmedia/ thrusts your social media awareness to the next level, while Dr. Z http://drzreflects.blogspot.com/ provides inspiration for his readers, mixing pedagogical theory with instructional practice.  I am hopeful that I, too, may be able to emulate some of the bloggers.


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7 Responses to “Sizing up the competition”

  1. Billie Cowley Says:

    Shelly,

    I like your idea about the click of one button. When I first started reading blogs, I, too, was irritated with going to googleblog.com locating specific blogs I wanted to read. I-Google has simplified my blog reading as well.

    I think about how I could use blogs and i-Google as a teaching tool. Could I use a wiki to have students post blogs relevant to our course discussions? I want to model how pre-service educators could use Web 2.0 tools in their own teaching. Do you have any other suggestions for me?

    Billie


    • Billie,
      What if each student selected one blog per week for posting on the course wiki? This seems manageable, and every week the student could summarize the blog and post the summary so that the other students could only visit the blogs that were of most interest to them. We are also using our course wiki for Discussion, specifically as a “tutoring” tool in my Spanish course. For each unit a different group (2-3 students) are in charge of the content for the unit. They post a summary of the information at the beginning of the unit, and as other students have questions during the unit, they post questions and wait for the “grammar leaders” to get back to them. I hope to incorporate other classrooms into our classroom using Skype later in the semester. I, too, would appreciate to knowhow you are using your course wiki.

  2. Leigh Zeitz Says:

    Quite an interesting review of these blogs, Overloadjunct. Your reviews weren’t only about content, but they included an additional aspect of how each of the blogs might best fit your readers’ needs. Your insight about Janet Hart’s blog begin written for the advanced social media users is something that I hadn’t considered before.

    You say that you want to emulate these bloggers. It would be interesting to read another posting about what you believe (or have learned) goes into a good posting so that your readers can learn from what you have gleaned from your readings.

    Z

  3. Jarod Says:

    Shelly,

    Great point at blogging at the touch of a button. I wish this was something we could do using computers. However, I feel that this is attainable using an iPod Touch, or iPad where you can literally tap an icon and start blogging.

    Very thorough analysis of the blogs you visited. I also really liked how you mentioned what made each blog unique. During this process I have noticed first hand that the uniqueness of a blog does a lot to further my interests. Thanks for this great post.

    Jarod

  4. Emily Says:

    Wow, you really are reading up on a lot of different blogs. I think it is great that their is a spot like igoogle where you can go and browse for something that is of interest to you. I love being able to click on my professional blogs link and being able to view all of the titles to the blogs. It helps me to organize, which is something I need help with! 🙂

  5. Colleen Says:

    Shelly,

    I would love to have a button that would go right to my blog and find blogs that I would be interested in. but like you said, IGoogle has done a fantastic job at organizing my blogs and extra gadgets.

    You have been reading a lot of different blogs and I found some of them to be the ones I was interested in too. I’m glad we find things in common.

    Colleen

  6. Mikael Says:

    The great thing about blogging is you can share your ideas with the world, or give a synopsis of your day or vent about the trials and tirbulations of your daily life. But is their a point where you share too much in a blog and not enough discussion with other people in a conversation. The idea of blogging gives everybody and outlet to speak their mind.


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