Thing 4 (Week 2): Blogging Begins with Reading


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by Sylvia Rosental Tolisano (
Like other Web 2.0 technologies, blogging connects people and ideas. There are, of course, blogs addressing pretty much every topic imaginable: Personal interests and family, education, politics, news, entertainment, arts, culture, sports, lifestyle, hobbies, social causes, technology, business, self-help, etc... At the end of 2011, NM Incite counted over 181 million weblogs. If you can think of it, someone's most certainly blogging about it.

Blogging is more than writing. Blogging is reading, reflecting, questioning, researching, synthesizing, linking, conversing, teaching, sharing and expressing ideas. Blogging is about writing, but blogging begins with reading.

Discovery Exercise: Voices in the Blogosphere

PART 1: The concept of blogging in education is not likely "new" to any of us, but we may not have been challenged to consider deeply WHY we should blog -- as teachers co-learning and providing authentic connected learning opportunities for our students, and as professionals reflecting on, modeling and sharing our own learning and growth

Please read/view the following three items which provide some context for these considerations:
  1. EduBlog Insights (Anne Davis): A Rationale for Educational Blogging - Anne Davis, an edublogging pioneer from Georgia State University, has been blogging with elementary school students since 2002. In this post, she enumerates her reasons for blogging with students. These reasons still stand 6+ years later.
  2. It's About Learning (Bo Adams): Schools Promote Drivers' Ed - learning by driving with guidance. Schools should do same with social media' - Bo Adams makes a case for using social media (which includes blogging) in schools, seeking these two experiences for his students 1) encouragement and interaction from a wider, more authentic audience, and 2) opportunities to engage in civil discourse to develop one’s thinking and understanding.
  3. Langwitches (Sylvia Rosenthal Tolisano): Blogging In the Classroom (PDF) - In this fantastic infographic, (part of a characteristically thorough and helpful post Implementing Blogging in the Classroom), Sylvia Tolisano lays out the "flow" of blogging in the classroom, making explicit that blogging is about reading, writing and connecting -- NOT about technology.

PART 2: Read at least three (and as many as you like) of the blog posts linked here and below, which are intended to give you just a tiny sampling of a few voices and blogging styles of teachers and students in the "edublogosphere." Take a bit of time to read the comments as well, as commenting is one of the most significant aspects of blogging. While you are visiting any blog below, feel free to explore the blogger's other posts, and/or to check out his or her "blogroll" (blogs followed by the author of the blog).

As you read, consider the following questions (feel free to adapt and expand on any of these or add your own):
  • What do you notice about the genre of blog writing in general?
  • How are blog reading and writing different from reading on paper?
  • How do commenting and linking contribute to blog reading, writing and meaning-making?
  • How can blogging facilitate learning?

List of Sample Blog Posts (read at least 3)


PART 1: Create a blog post in response to your exploratory reading/viewing and questions listed above. Do you think blogging has important implications for teaching and learning in 2013? Did you discover anything that would make you want to (re)consider blogging for yourself and/or with learners? Feel free to reflect on anything that struck you about the resources and posts themselves or the genre of blogging in general. Be sure to include a link to any post(s) you refer to (see "permalink" note and videos below) and include "Thing 4" in your post title.

¤ IMPORTANT NOTE: When linking to a blog post, you need to use the post's Permalink -- which points the the specific post (like a news story) and not just to the main blog address. Because blogs are frequently updated, as posts "get older" they are pushed off the "front page" into the archives. Wha??? Fear not: each post has a unique URL (web address), called a Permalink, typically containing the post title and date, or a unique post number.

Examples of permalinks:



The second link of each example above is the permalink, which you would copy from your browser's address bar to use in your post.

¤ EQUALLY IMPORTANT NOTE: Unlike email or Word, simply pasting a URL into your post won't make it a link. You need to use the "Insert Link" button. See "adding links" video below for help.

‡ HELP Videos:
  • How to locate a blog post Permalink (Important!)
    The Permalink is the direct link to a specific blog post. It will include the date and title of the post, or a post number. You must use the Permalink when linking to a blog post -- you can't just link to the main address of a blog.
  • How to insert links in your post (from Edublogs)
    Please WATCH THIS to make sure you are good to go. It's not difficult, but you cannot just copy and paste a link and expect it to be "clickable" like you do in email or Word.

PART 2: Visit the blogs of two other participants in our K12 Learning 2.0 group (listed on the course tracking spreadsheet) and contribute a comment in response to one of their posts. Try to include specifics in your comment, relate to your own reflections and experiences and even ask questions. SIGN INTO Edublogs before leaving a comment so that it provides a link to you and your blog.

‡ HELP Resource: Introduction to comments and writing comments(external link)
(More Edublogs help resources available on the Edublogs Help Page)