Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Secret Life of Bees

Book clubs can involve students and parents, or students from other communities. This blog started as a literary discussion forum on 'The Secret Life of Bees' by Sue Monk Kidd -- she even joined in the discussion! Thanks to Alan November for identifying this link that I've been looking for.

Instructional Blogging Article

Stuart Glogoff published an interesting and relevant paper on the instructional applications for blogging to promote interactivity, student-centered learning, and peer input.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Using RSS to Keep Up with Blogs

According to Will Richardson, "In simple terms, Weblogs (and an ever-growing number of other sites) generate a behind-the-scenes code in a language similar to HTML called XML. This code, usually referred to as a "feed" (as in "news feed,") makes it possible for readers to "subscribe" to the content that is created on a particular Weblog so they no longer have to visit the blog itself to get it. As is true with traditional syndication, the content comes to you instead of you going to get it, hence “Real Simple Syndication.”

One of the best feed aggregators that I've found is called Bloglines. According to the site description, "Bloglines is a FREE online service for searching, subscribing, creating and sharing news feeds, blogs and rich web content. With Bloglines, there is no software to download or install -- simply register as a new user and you can instantly begin accessing your account any time, from any computer or mobile device."

Here's a great tutorial for using Bloglines.

Weblogs in the Classroom - Aussie Style

Thanks to David Warlick for the following site. The page is called Weblogs in the Classroom and the introduction says…

Weblogs provide a communication space that teachers can utilise with students whenever there is a curriculum need to develop writing, share ideas and reflect on work being undertaken in the classroom.

The part that caught David's attention was lit up by a conversation that is going on right now about blogging best practices. The section is called Classroom and Teacher Applications, and features uses of blogging in English instruction, Science, Health, Drama, Libraries, and general studies.

Here's a link to the site: Weblogs in the Classroom

Monday, July 31, 2006

Exemplar URLs

Worth asked us to list those URLs we use to demonstrate the use of blogs in pedagogy and research. As I thought about this, a number of good ones came to mind. But I decided to only list those that fit the categories Worth supplied (pedagogy and research), and which I find significant enough to subscribe to as RSS feeds.

(1) Cory Doctorow's famous "Boing Boing." Although it's too big for me to read evertything, and something of a "geek news" blog like "Slashdot," the fact that Doctorow is a working writer who uses his blog as a source of ideas and items that interest him, I felt I should include it.

(2) Johndan Johnson Eilola's "Datacloud" Blog. A Professor in the independent technical writing program at Clarkson University, and a Purdue Alumni, Eilola is probably the "Blue Sky" thinker of my field.

(3) Clay Spinuzzi's blogs from the Computer Writing and Research Lab at the University of Texas. Spinuzzi' blog "Network, Technology, and Distributed Work" is a perfect model of a blog used for research purposes.

He also maintains a separate pedagogy blog.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Found My Notes

Here's how my description of what I propose to accomplish should read:

Worth Weller, along with student Shannon Eichenauer, will demonstrate how blogs can be used as a collaborative learning and research tool to teach critical thinking, to develop and share multi-media projects, and to serve as an electronic portfolio.

CELT Presentation Format

I’m working from memory here, but I think the consensus was that Steve would open our presentation with a brief discussion about blogs, their pros and cons, and then let Stephen Pepple show his blogs and how they work with his classes.

Then I’ll introduce blogs as a collaborative learning and research tool, talk about assessment, and let Shannon Eichenauer show how her blogs enhance her critical thinking.

Then Sandy will wrap up explaining how Wikis can be used for classroom management and how blogs can be managed so as not to add yet another overwhelming assessment task.

If we have 55 minutes I propose we let Steve and (Stephen if available) have 15, me and Shannon 10, and Sandy 10, leaving 20 minutes for Q&A. I think if we aren’t able to draw 20 minutes of questions and comments then we haven’t done our job well.

Shannon has committed to being there, which frankly may be enough in the way of a student presence, unless Stephen is already on board. We’ll want to help our students know how to focus their comments.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Seminar Description

Blogs and Wikis: Letting the Cat out of the Hat
Worth Weller, Stevens Amidon, Sandy Schaufelberger
Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne

The emergence of internet genres present both a challenge and an opportunity for those of us who work in the academy. On the one hand, it is a challenge, because our students are adopting tools like blogs and wikis much faster than most of us who teach, and these tools are changing the ways in which our students write. If we don’t become at least marginally conversant in these technologies, we risk the degradation of our finely-honed abilities to understand, critique, and assess our students’ responses to communicative events—their texts. On the other hand, it is an opportunity, because genres don’t arise willy-nilly—they emerge because they meet immediate social and instrumental needs, needs shared by students and teachers alike. Furthermore, emerging genres are flexible genres—by becoming early-adopters of these forms we are more than mere users of the genre—we become part of the social process by which the rules of writing in these genres are established. We not only use the genre, we establish and revise its conventions, just as our predecessors did (and continue to do) with more established forms such as the academic research paper and the reflective essay.

In this presentation we will be sharing our own experience bringing Blogs and Wikis into our classrooms. We will keep our presentations brief so that at least half our time may be available for discussion with the audience.

Stevens Amidon will describe his experience using blogs in teaching a senior level writing course, Research Methods for Professional Writers.

Worth Weller will

Sandy Schauffelberger will

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Another Dr. Seuss Metaphor?

Ah, you say another Dr. Seuss metaphor! But why not? It’s playful, and it’s suggestive.

In this case, I’m point to the fact that the read-write web does indeed let the cat of out the magical hat: students now routinely circumvent the guardians of the portal by publishing their own material to the web, without editors, teachers, and other impediments to creativity and censors who would stop them from spreading their own messages or developing their own forms of writing and learning communities.

This of course is why we are running into many who are uncomfortable with this relatively new technology – it empowers students way beyond our own comfort zone. We said we wouldn’t use this space or this platform as a WebCT bashing venue, but blogs and wikis certainly let students out of the box of WebCt, not to mention out of the confines of those grim classrooms in the basement of the Science Building.

Gasp – we’re losing control!

Okay Steve and Sandy – ball is in your court – go for it!!