Thing 3 (Week 2): Become a Blogger


Introduction
Illustration by  Howdy, I'm H. Michael Karshis
Illustration by Howdy, I'm H. Michael Karshis

A blog is one of the core publishing/communication tools of Web 2.0. A blog, at its simplest, is a website containing an archived series of posts (e.g. articles, news items, commentaries, journal entries, stories, reviews, summaries, etc...), organized by categories (or tags), with a place for readers to leave comments. Readers can subscribe to the blog using a special type of code called an RSS (or similar) feed. A blog may have one or many authors, and can be about any topic, from personal to political to professional.

Blogs connect ideas and people.

Blogging can provide teachers and students with an authentic opportunity to express themselves, synthesize ideas from many sources, engage in discussion and debate, write for an audience beyond the classroom, reflect on their own learning, teach and mentor others, and connect with peers and experts around the globe. As you work through the next few "Things," and the remainder of the course, you will begin to learn more about blogs and their powerful potential for personal and professional learning, reflection and communication.

Today, the primary goal is to get you "up and blogging."

Your personal blog is the most important component of the K12 Learning 2.0 course. You will use your blog to document your learning, discoveries and experimentation throughout the course. It will also serve as your course portfolio, or record of completion. For tips on using 21classes and maximizing your K12 Learning 2.0 blogging experience, visit the 21Classes Help page.



Discovery Exercise

As you watch the video below, consider the term "NEWS" as meaning any content or topic that is relevant to you and/or your students.

Blogs in Plain English (3:00)



Getting started:
Register your blog at the appropriate 21Classes portal for your participant group. You may choose to blog under your real name or a pseudonym/username, but your blog content should always be school appropriate.

‡ HELP Page: Sign up for a 21Classes Blog
(More help resources available on the 21Classes Help page)



¤ NOTE: Your blog will serve as the record of your learning in this course.

If you are wondering how long your blog posts need to be:
  • Your blog posts should be as long as they need to be for you to meaningfully express your thoughts and reflect on your learning. You will get out of the course what you put in. Others will read and learn from what you post. What would you want your own students to do?
  • If none of those guidelines are working for you... aim for at least a solid paragraph that addresses the main questions/points of the task.

Before you get started blogging, please consider the following:

Tips for a Richer K12 Learning 2.0 Blogging Experience

  • Your blog will be as meaningful as you make it. Invest in your reflections and spend a little time crafting your posts. Take time to link, format your text and possibly add images. Feel free go beyond the minimum posting requirements. The blog is truly yours.
  • Be brave when posting and celebrate your learning. We all struggle and experience frustration and can benefit from hearing about others' experiences. We also want to hear about your discoveries and problem-solving triumphs!
  • Be generous in commenting on other participants blogs. Blogging is meant to engage readers in two-way communication. We are a community of learners. If you take a little time to encourage and respond to others' posts, they will respond in kind.



Task

After you have set up your blog, write the following two posts. Be sure to include the Thing # in the Post Title.

POST 1: From Thing 1 - Reflections on Lifelong Learning
Write a reflective blog post based on the 7 1/2 Habits of Effective Lifelong Learners. You may write about anything related to your own experiences or beliefs about Lifelong Learning, and your thoughts about this course. The three things you were asked to consider were:
    • Which habit(s) may be most challenging for you to employ as part of your K12 Learning 2.0 experience?
    • Which habit(s) will be easiest, or are most resonant for you as a lifelong learner?
    • Which habit do you think will be most important for you as you work through this course, and why?

POST 2: From Thing 2 - Thoughts about Web 2.0
Complete a blog post reflecting on your initial thoughts about Web 2.0 and its role in 21st Century teaching and learning. Consider the ways in which Web 2.0 tools might change (or have already changed) your professional practice. How might you be able to use these new tools to to engage today's "digital learners?" Why would you want to? How might you be able to use these tools to support your own learning?

‡ HELP Videos:

(More help resources available on the 21Classes Help page)

Stretch Task

(P. S. I hope everyone does this one!) Blogging is meant to be a conversation and we are a community of learners. Check the Blog-list for your group's (or another group's) 21Classes portal (listed on the right sidebar of each blog portal) and visit the blogs of two colleagues -- one from your own school and one from another school. Read their Thing 1 or Thing 2 posts and leave a comment in response! If you are commenting on a blog from another portal, paste the URL of your own blog in the "homepage" field so that they know where to find you. If you are commenting on a blog within your own portal, log-into the portal first and you will be able to easily leave a comment. Early finishers may have to check back later in the week to find blogs to post to.

‡ HELP Page: How to locate other Participants' blogs
‡ HELP Videos:

(More help resources available on the 21Classes Help page)