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Week 6: Blogs Part 2

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B. [to another student as A enters] which is why we're spending two weeks on the subject.

A. Why's that again?

B. Because there's a huge group of people who use blogs for specifically educational purposes. With blogs, we don't have to imagine there might one day be a use scenario for social software in education.

A. [indignantly] Swell. So you this is just like high school math where they make you learn the abstract stuff first, only then to show you how it actually applies to you and makes any kind of sense?

B. I suppose you could think of it that way. I prefer to think of it as understanding the cultural context you're going to be working in before beginning your work.

A. Cultural context?

B. If I asked you to develop an instructional technology for use by Turkish students in Turkey, what would be one of the first things you would do?

A. Learn Turkish? Given that you're talking about cultural context, I guess I would try to find out something about Turkish culture to make sure the kinds of examples and metaphors I use, etc., would make sense to them.

B. Right. You can't assume they will understand examples from American pop culture. For example, if you talk about Gilligan and the Skipper, or Survivor, they may not get what you're talking about.

A. But how do Mr. and Mrs. Howell relate to blogs?

B. Because, as you saw some of last week, bloggers have their own culture, set of shared practices, jargon, etc. We need to understand all that before we can really make authentic uses of the technology for supporting learning. No technology exists in a cultural vacuum.

A. So we read and studied the broader blogger culture first, and now we get into the specifics of blogs in education?

B. Right. There are three resources you should start with to check out the specifically educational blog scene. One is the Beginners Guide to Blogs in Instructional Technology originally written by Trey Martindale and myself (I've done some updating since). It won't have the same conversational feel as these meetings of ours, but it has tons of great info with regard to blogging. Definitely read it from start to finish, and when it says download software, donwload the software!

A. Why?

B. Because, especially to make reading your classmates' blogs easier, you'll find that having an aggregator is indispensible. Trust me on this one.

A. If you say so.

B. The second resource is Stephen Downes' Educational Blogging . Take a close look at that.

A. And the third would be?

B. The third resource is a group of people sometimes refered to as "edubloggers." George Siemens keeps a great list of many edubloggers.

A. [looking up from the screen] It's huge!

B. Yea, and there are several people worth reading who aren't even on it. Which brings us to this week's assignment.

Assignment: Edublogging

  1. Spend one (1) hour browsing the list of edubloggers , visiting their homepages, and reading around. Choose 5 whose writings you enjoy.
  2. Spend one (1) hour a day for the next four days reading the five edublogs you selected. Make at least one thoughtful comment on each blog that allows comments.
  3. Keep track of topics that interest you.
  4. Watch for discussions of educational uses of cutting-edge technology (mobile, tablet, GPS, learning objects, etc.). Are there any discussions that excite you? Any that sound completely unbelievable?
  5. Post the following to your blog:
    • the URLs and names of the five blogs you followed, and
    • a short piece of writing describing (1) topics that interested you and why they interested you, and (2) what you believe makes an educational use of technology either interesting and plausible or pointless and unbelievable.

A. and B. [in unision] And if you forget when the assignment is due...

A. ...look in the Syllabus . I'm starting to get the hang of these assignments.

B. Good for you! Cause next week you're going to do something you may have never, ever done before.

Copyright 2008, by the Contributing Authors. Cite/attribute Resource . admin. (2008, May 20). Week 6: Blogs Part 2. Retrieved January 07, 2011, from Free Online Course Materials — USU OpenCourseWare Web site: http://ocw.usu.edu/instructional-technology-learning-sciences/understanding-online-interaction/Week_6__Blogs_Part_2.html. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License Creative Commons License
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