Saturday, February 26, 2005

spectator no more

The most inspirational educational blogging site I have discovered so far is maintained by Will Richardson who describes himself as a blogvangelist

I just read something there that corresponds with a change that blogging already seems to be making to me, even though I've only been blogging for a week.

At first I thought I would quickly get onto blogging about my current hobby horse, all the fascinating, new web applications that I discovered over the holidays and which I feel have the potential to transform education. And I will be writing about them and I hope soon.

But something else is happening which is making me rethink my original intention. I'm getting feedback from others, comments on this blog, private email and face to face. I'm being pushed in new directions, forced to re-evaluate what I should be doing next.

From being an observer of blogs for over a year I've suddenly changed into an active participant, a blogger, the real thing, not that I really feel like the real thing, yet. I feel a pressure to think more, to try to write better and to connect with those who have made the effort to connect to me.

I think what I'm learning from my own limited experience and from what I read at Will's blog is that blogging is a significant experience in it's own right, that the act of blogging will be totally different from observing others blog. Anyway, here's part of what Will said:

But the one thing the blog allows me to do that I could not do easily in my classroom before is to link, to connect ideas, to make transparent my thinking about those ideas, and to have others link to them and do the same. I've been down this road before, I know, many times in fact. But it is the essential piece of Weblogs to me: blogs allow me to create content in ways I could not before, not just post what I could create otherwise in a different form. And in the essence of that creation I use and learn all of those skills that will serve me in my lifelong learning that were (I think) much more difficult for me to learn before: close reading, critical thinking about information, clear and concise writing for a real audience, editing, and reflection, all of it understanding that whatever truth I may put forth will continue to be negotiated by readers and more reading. This, by the very nature of the process, develops reading, writing, information, collaboration and computing literacies, literacies which I think most of us would agree are going to be crucial in navigating what's ahead.

Monday, February 21, 2005

grant high

they are doing stuff at Grant High that some of us have dreamed about but haven't quite got our acts together, I'm talking about their computer recycle scheme and open source development

it's hard to do this sort of stuff, it ought to be acknowledged


received some interesting face mail today about my new blog, I'm attempting to communicate this without identifying anyone in particular, to protect the innocent

one person attempted to setup their own blog to share the experience - because I "hadn't explained what a blog was", but couldn't get past the user name screen - my guess of the problem there was that in cyber land widget is not an obscure name for a cat but actually a software object (short for windows gadget), so I suggested trying widget2741, at any rate my students have figured out that its cool to add meaningless numbers to their user names

and blog stands for web log, which I used to think of as weird people who shared their diaries in public, until I became one - believe me, there is more to it than that - btw blog was the number one word in new words for the on line merriam-webster dictionary in 2004

Blog noun [short for Weblog] (1999) : a Web site that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer

someone else had heard on the news this morning that bloggers had brought down someone at CNN, that's true, it was Eason Jordan and it's not the first time that bloggers have taken on the Established Media and won

there was other talk along the lines of "what the hell are you blogging about, where's the translation for connectivism, spiders and blogdex, which planet do you live on", mmm ... maybe I have been plugged into virtual reality for too long :-)

also some discussion about the connection between marxism and open source software, which to my huge surprise also made it onto the SINA list today, with the normal jokes about Groucho and John Lennon that are always trotted out

finally another SA teacher is blogging at but I'm not sure at this stage whether it's a short lived experiment or destined for a longer life

I reckon this blogging thing could catch on, there is a lot of interest there and it shouldn't take too long to explain the basics to those who want to give it a shot

Sunday, February 20, 2005

not the first

I'm not the first teacher in South Australia to start blogging

Check out some interesting material by wara at There is discussion on connectivism as an alternative to constructivism as well as some useful material on open source software such as GIMP (an image manipulation program) and the whole process of setting up blogs for students

Wara has been an open source pioneer and advocate for some time. Great stuff.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

my blog AHA experience

Over a year ago I read an article by Joi Ito which explained how all the blogs are machine searchable - so for example I guess a spider or something goes around and checks all the blogs for who has posted which links for today - and then that's all counted, the correct word is aggregated, and so it can be worked out what's most popular today and it's all done by machines

On that day I made blogdex my home page and it worked for me - for the first time it was easy to keep track of what everyone was interested in on the Web - I felt connected

Don't worry, I've got other stuff to talk about too, but that's what got me started - thanks to Joi Ito and his visionary article