Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Transformative Blogging

Ryan Bretag provides a list of 50 sites about blogging. I don't know when I'll ever make it through the entire list, but I know I want to go back to it again and again. In Ryan's intro to the list, he makes excellent points about what makes blogging effective rather than repetitive. It resonates with Bud Hunt's column in the September 2007 English Journal, "Linkin' (B)Logs: A New Literacy of Hyperlinks." This is a column well worth reading, too. You can find a hyperlinked version of it on the English Journal Web site that's hosted at Colorado State University.

9 comments:

Casey said...

So, I went to the article labeled "Comment like a King or Queen" and read about the do's and do not's of commenting and was interested in the different types of Comment Bloggers out there. The Darth Vador type who have their own issues and use commenting to raise their own self esteem and the Scared Commentator (who refuses to make any comments) seemed very natural. Yet, the one person who makes comments in hopes of creating more traffic for their own blog is unbelievable! I mean here, that I do believe the author, but it just NEVER would have crossed my mind to do such a thing! I will admit that I have made comments on my friends' blogs like "yeah, way to go" or "I agree" (which is another no-no) and I am sure that I haven't truly added to the conversation at all, just added my support. Yet, that site would be a great tool to introduce to students who were going to start blogging and commenting as well. Some of those hints may not come naturally and it really shows that you can't just place a comment out there...but you need to back it up as well.

Tabitha Dial said...

I'm really excited about that list of 50 sites for bloggers. I have wanted to use tags for my entries since I read about how the authors of the New Literacies Sampler were using them. Hopefully I will be able to use them with my current blog.

Now I need to read that article about comments.

Ryan Bretag said...

Hi Louann:

Thanks for the wonderful comments. What is most interesting about blogging is that a blog is so very easy to setup and use BUT to actually use blogs in a transformative way is very challenging and requires a shift in thinking.

It was quite a long process for me so I hope that the articles I used to really grasp the power of transformative blogging is valuable to others out there.

twolff said...

Casey- I read that too and what is most intereseting to me is that people can comment on blogs as a way of advertising. I know that what you wrote was realting more to a personal blog- but I have heard (on NPR a number of years ago) about businesses using the blog network as a way to promote thier products- under the guise of a personal blog. Pretty tricky! Good use of "free advertising" too.

A Reader said...

I liked hearing about the different possibilities of using blogs in the classroom that deviate from current pen-and-paper pedagogies. It seems like blogs would be a great way for students to create portfolios and still have a real audience. I also like the possibility of casual collaborative writing assignments in this medium. Ryan's comment struck a chord with me, though, that the challenge is to transform, rather than translate, assignments by using the the new technology available.

Tami Woods said...

I read the article, “Listen to the Natives,” mainly because it had been a term and idea that had been discussed in class. The idea that the younger generation are clearly advanced in the uses and potential of our current technology is not surprising to me. I also agree with some of Prensky’s comments about the schools and teachers doing more to incorporate technology into our classrooms. However, there were a few of his comments that caused some concern. This paragraph drives me crazy.
“Let's admit that the real reason we ban cell phones is that, given the opportunity to use them, students would “vote with their attention,” just as adults “vote with their feet” by leaving the room when a presentation is not compelling. Why shouldn't our students have the same option with their education when educators fail to deliver compelling content?”
There is certainly a place for technology in the classroom. However, there also has to be an understanding that while we need to teach skills and subjects with these new mediums, there will always be a side of social-rearing that occurs in our schools. It is a place where you learn to sit, despite wanting to leave, or listen, when maybe you want to talk. There won’t ever be a classroom that is compelling to everyone, all the time. For Prensky to make the bold statement that we are afraid, given free use of cell phones, our students will leave the classroom to talk on the phone because the teacher’s education is lacking in some form, is to completely forget that school gossip and social networking are often an adolescent’s priorities. There must be a balance. Incorporating new methods, ideas and forms of engagement with our technology into the classroom, while also continuing to teach some of the basic, non-technologically based social skills. How many adults simple walk out of a room because a presentation isn’t “compelling”? Not many, they, we all have wanted to, but at some point, you learn that some things are important even if they aren’t the most entertaining, all the time. Teachers have skills to offer our students, despite being the “foreigners” speaking to the “natives”.

Bryan said...

The idea of blogging as an exercise for high school students interests me, because I feel like blogs are an avenue of expression that are closer to the comfort zone of modern students. Chances are, they're doing it already. But what about the 'public' nature of blogs, and the ability of anyone (including the wrong types of people) to comment on student blogs? I came across "Inappropriate Comments = Teachable Moments" and found a pretty reasonable, simple solution there. The teacher who wrote the post recommends acknowledging the problem as it happens, and to teach a code of conduct and responsibility that helps prevent the cycle of inappropriate comments from perpetuating itself. I agree with this tactic. After all, If we're teaching writing using blogs, we might as well be teaching responsible use as well.

amy vail said...

I read Bud Hunt's column and especially liked when he said, "I am seeking, as honestly as I can, to teach blogging, the verb, and not just writing with blogs, the plural noun." I am curious to see how blogging would work within a future classroom of mine. I can imagine myself posting homework online, but I think I may be one of the Scared Commentators that Casey mentioned in her post. I liked the 20 Types of Posts, especially the one about Collation Posts, which is basically putting up a paper in blog form.

Justin said...

I checked out the "20 types of posts" link, and found it very useful, in general, for my own personal definition of what a blog really is.

As I am currently teaching a class in which I have asked students do create a blog posting as an assignment, I think this list will be a good way of introducing the general idea of blogging. The assignment that I had students do would fit into one specific type, but I feel that letting students do a few posts of various types, before the actual assignment post, would be useful for getting them into the swing of blogging, specifically giving them practice in considering their audience and choosing an engaging tone.