Monday, June 22, 2009

Following Versus Subscribing

Following is a new feature of Blogger. Here is the difference between adding yourself as a follower and subscribing to a blog (which is really the same as adding it as a RSS feed).

Follow: This allows you to let the blog writer and others know that you are a fan of this blog.
To use:
  • Click on the Followers widget.
  • Choose to follow it publicly or privately.
  • This will show your icon on the blog page and put it in your Reading List.

Reading List / Subscribing: Your Blogger Reading List, located under your list of blogs on your dashboard, enables you to subscribe to any blog with a feed. It will update instantly each time a new post is published on any blog in your Reading List.
(See Blogger Help:

To Use:
  • Click on the "Blogs I'm Following" tab under "My Reading List" on your Blogger Dashboard.
  • Click on the blue "Add" button
  • Insert the URL of the blog you'd like to follow in the URL box.
  • Click the add button.
  • You can follow publicly or privately.
  • This will also add this blog to your Google Reader account.

Keeping track of all your tools

There are so many tools that can be used to connect with others on the web. As you begin to find and then narrow down the ones that you follow over time, you might want to look at some of the personalized start pages like iGoogle, NetVibes and PageFlakes to pull it all together in one place. I personally use iGoogle, but NetVibes has a nice feature that you can make a public page for others to see. This would allow you to create a personal page for your things and a public one either for teacher resources or for student resources. You can add different tabs for different types of users. I haven't used PageFlakes, but I have heard of librarians using it to create subject pages for their schools.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Setting up your own blog

Everyone should have a blog set up by the end of the week. Make sure to post your blog URL and the email you use to the discussion group. Four more things you'll want to do:

1. Go to Customize tab and then Settings. Under Comments, either allow Anyone to comment or Only Registered Users. If you do the latter, you will have to add all of us by email addresses (see picture 1).

  • Only Registered Users: if not logged in already, visitors will be prompted to log into Blogger before leaving a comment. If they don't have an account, they can create one.

  • Anyone: anybody in the whole wide world can leave comments

2. Under Permissions, allow anyone to view the blog.

3. Set up a page on something like iGoogle, My Yahoo, NetVibes, or PageFlakes so that you can follow the blogs of each of your classmates and me. Put in the URL of each blog to follow it.

4. Go into each blog, read the posts, comment on at least one posting in each, and add yourself as a Follower by clicking the Follow button in each.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

New resources on Web2.0 tools

I just "attended" an Elluminate session lead by Joyce Valenza and three other school librarians. There were many ideas and resources shared, but the two sites you have to check out are:

Both offer excellent information on uses of Web2.0 tools in schools.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Digital Research Tools Wiki

This wiki collects information about tools and resources that can help scholars (particularly in the humanities and social sciences) conduct research more efficiently or creatively, organized by research activity. While it has many more sophisticated and commercial works, there are also a number of free, web-based tools that could have K-12 application.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A post on Will Richardson's blog referenced this article:

Social Studies

Current Practice

Seminal Articles


Volume 1, Issue 1 ISSN 1528-5804

Print Version Commentaries Submit A Commentary

Carroll, T. G. (2000). If we didn't have the schools we have today,
would we create the schools we have today?
Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education [Online serial], 1 (1). Available:

The article, written in 2000, promotes the idea of schools becoming networked learning communities where both teachers and students are active learners. It notes:
"Each member has a role as a community learning resource.
  • If you are an experienced learner in the community—practiced at solving problems—you have a role to play helping others to learn. You may bring past knowledge and experience, and you will learn more as you help them learn.

  • If you are a young person or a novice at learning in a particular field, you still have a role to play as you construct your own knowledge and understanding, and through that process contribute new insights, experiences, and creations that enhance the learning of others in the community."

In a Web 2.0 environment where collaboration, participation and creativity are possible and students and teachers can all participate, these roles could be supported in Carroll's "learning communities" (not communities of learners of learners where individuals are engaged in his own learning. Hopefully in this class we can move away from the transmission model of teaching to a more two-way learning mode where we learn from each other.

It's an article well worth reading and thinking about where you see education and schools moving and how we can get to the point where we focus on learning.


After my first experience of creating a quick and dirty presentation in VoiceThread, I can see many uses of it as a presentation tool that allows collecting feedback. It even allows drawing on an image or video to highlight a specific point to make the feedback or comments more pointed.

In reading today, I saw a heading of a presentation:

Edublogs Live! VoiceThread: A 21st Century KWL

That raises the image of using it not just to collect feedback on an image but also for brainstorming questions and learning what a student knows, wants to know, and even learned about a specific image.

Value of blogs in education

If you are wondering if blogs have any value in your classroom, read Stephen Downes's posting on Blogs in Education (April 2009): It provides an overview of some of the uses as well has benefits for students.

Another article to review is Anne Davis's Rationale for Educational Blogging (EduBlog Insights, 2007):

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Getting Started in Blogging

One of the most important features of Web 2.0 is the ability to not just read what is posted on the web but also the chance to share one's own ideas with others and get feedback. Many of us may be following blogs for news, personal interest or professional development, but few of us are actually maintaining our own blog.

For most of us, it is uncomfortable at first to share our ideas with the world, but if we expect our students to do it, we have to first become comfortable doing it ourselves. For this class each person will have a blog to reflect on what we are doing in class, communicate with others in the class, and begin to develop their own ideas on how web 2.0 tools might be used in classrooms and libraries.

Image uploaded on April 3, 2007 by acroamatic: (Creative Commons license)