Since blogging is really a form of writing, it’s that not surprising to discover that educators have realized the power of this media as an educational tool. Of course, like anything new, this is still taking some time to spread through all of academia, but it is spreading. Will Richardson’s book, Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms, examines the use of these alternative forms of discourse in the classroom. The author’s purposes that educational systems should take advantage of these web tools because “today’s students may not be well-suited to the more linear progression of learning that most educational systems employ” (7). He believes that the potential of these web tools is not being fully utilized, especially by educators, and he provides practical solutions to this issue – how to combine the Read/Write Web with reading and writing in the classroom.
Some of Richardson’s suggestions for integrating technology and teaching includes using blogs to create a class portal, digital filing cabinet, or E-portfolio. As a class portal, blogs provide an area for instructors to archive course material and communicate with students. Rather than turn in hardcopies of assignments, students can use a blog as their own public filing cabinet and post assignments on-line. To highlight their best work, students can use blogs to collect, organize, and exhibit their efforts via an electronic portfolio.
These are just a few ideas provided by Richardson in this slim volume. Teachers who are looking for ways to engage students and meet them, at least half way, on the Read/Write information highway will find practical, pedagogical techniques to consider as well as step-by-step how-to instructions. You can also find more about education and blogging at his blog, http://www.weblogg-ed.com/ .
I just discovered a great blog called the Diva Marketing Blog. Obviously, as the title suggests, it concentrates on tips for using blogging as a way to promote a business. However, I found a lot of good tips in general for the blogger, whether you are into promoting or just want to hone your blog skills.
For example, her post on developing a blog voice has some tips to consider:
Tips on How To Find Your Unique Blog Voice
1. Write – write – write. The more you write the more your style and voice will evolve.
2. Imagine the people who will read your blog. Think about individuals vs. a group.
3. Talk to the people who read your blog. Think conversation vs. lecture.
4. Let your personality come through. Include your own ideas and thoughts.
5. Read a couple of your blog posts aloud. Do you sound like you?
6. Enjoy the adventure. If you’re having fun, your passion will come thru.”
Now, yes, it does bug me that she spelled through as thru, but I’m going to cut her a little slack because at least her information is worth reading just the same.
These are links related to my presentation entitled “Weblogs: Filling the Gap in Cyberspace:”
One of the best ways to learn about blogging is to read blogs, and those who are at the top of the blog rankings, considered “A” and “B” list bloggers are the masters. Many of these bloggers make a living, just by blogging. For example, there’s The Manolo, a pen-name for a blogger who writes primarily about shoes but who also covers fashion, trends, and celebrities. He has a wonderful wit about him and is rumored to make six figures from his blog shoeblogs.com. Then there is dooce.com, written by Heather Armstrong. She has the strange honor of being one of the first people to be fired due to blogging about work-related issues. In fact, the term “dooce” is now credited to her as meaning “to be fired due to blogging.” Armstrong writes about her life as a mother, the family dog, being an ex-Mormon, and other topics related to her life. She and her husband both earn enough income off her blog (and he also started one eventually) so that both stay home to blog and raise their young daughter. You can find A-list bloggers listed at http://technorati.com/pop/blogs/ , but here’s a short list of links (not including two mentioned in the above paragraph) to start exploring: