Well, ten or so more educators know about Web logs in the classroom. Didn’t get the 20 I’d hoped for, but it still pretty neat to watch their reactions as I went through the presentation. It’s a pretty easy sell when people see what can be done here. I think most of those in attendance were pretty impressed and wanting to know more. We’ll see how many of them take me up on my offer on some play space.
Only one of the participants even knew what a Web log was, said someone in his English Department had been using one with some success. The rest obviously were there due to my scintillating description in the program!
Didn’t realize that today was the anniversary of JFK’s demise until I rode past Dealey Plaza on the train and saw all sorts of people milling about at the spot where he was killed. I’m going to try to head to the museum tomorrow.
At any rate, lots of kids and yearbook companies crammed into the Hyatt and not much in the way of technology being discussed or presented. I’m wondering how many people will show up tomorrow and what their reaction will be.
This is what I need to do more of when I get the time (laugh). At some point, I’m going to have to get to that statistical analysis of what exactly is happening with all my efforts. Some are proving better than others, that’s certain. I need to roll up the sleeves and start to figure out why. But, not now…
So here we go…Pat and Karen off to Atlanta while I head out to Dallas all in the name of Blogvangelism. (Hey, if blogvention is a word…) I’m curious to see how many journalism educators come to my 9 a.m. Saturday morning session…in a room that can hold 60, I’m hoping for 20, without hangovers that is. I’ve been tweaking my presentation which I’ll try to post at some point; now I’m just hoping everything goes according to plan. I’ll try to do some conference blogging…figger there’s an Internet connection to be had somewhere.
Now that Joe is using Radio and I can snag his feed, I think I’ve got all my favorite edu-Web loggers in one place on Amphetadesk, and I have to say, it make my life a lot easier. I’m getting 25 channels that usually take me about half and hour to scan and delve into when necessary. It’s a very cool concept that if I could get it tweaked here would eliminate the need to clog up my mailbox with e-mail copies of all the posts being made to my many student/teacher/group/parent Manila Web logs. And, I’m wondering if there is a way to access the same feed page on Amphetadesk from a different machine. Anyone know?
Links to the Berkeley Intellectual Property Web log that is the fruit of a graduate journalism class at UCB and went live last week. Two notes…first, in the past few days I’ve been hitting more and more Web logs powered by Moveable Type. I must say I like the easy feel of the sites, and they offer some interesting features that Manila doesn’t. I’m not sure if MT would be a more suitable classroom answer, but it seems like it does most of what I use Manila from. Might be something to look into (just for fun!) Kind of goes back to that discussion we had long ago about a CMS just for the classroom. How much would the Manila creators be willing to implement some education specific ideas, I wonder? (BTW, the UCB class’s criteria for a CMS are here.)
The other comment has to do with the class. I think it’s pretty cool that the students were assigned “beats” to cover. To quote: “That was designed both to divide up responsibilities for coverage among ourselves, and also give the public a better sense of the scope of the Weblog. The beats were reflected in the Weblog itself, offering people the options of reading the general postings in the main section, or going quickly to a subtopic of intellectual property they were particularly interested in. The beat structure also provided us with a logical place to post the topical stories the students were writing.” Pretty close to what I was thinking, but articulated and carried through much more effectively, of course.
Their thinking about editing was equally interesting. “Weblogs, by their nature, invite postings that are informal and instantaneous. But their value to readers lies largely in comments that are well written and thoughtful. For journalists this tension is even more acute. Weblogs allow the opportunity to avoid some of the constraints of journalistic conventions and engage in a more personal dialog with readers. But other core journalistic values, like accuracy and clarity, must be retained. Many journalism Weblogs address this via different approaches to the question of whether and how postings should be subjected to the traditional journalistic editing process. In an attempt to balance these competing concerns, we decided that in almost all cases, postings would be reviewed by one other student or instructor in the class before being put on the Weblog. But in extreme cases where a posting is very time sensitive and of crucial importance to our readers, it could be posted to the Weblog without an editor’s review. However, that posting would be reviewed by someone in the class after the fact.”
Some very thought provoking stuff. I love the idea of Web log as beat compiler concept. Makes me think I should have set up my media kids Web logs the same way, although I’m sure it’s more manageable with eight students than with 24. But that really is the concept that I’m after…disparate, specific research shared in the same space and moderated by student editors. Very cool.
Quote: “I’m having my students keep a personal blog on any subject they like–primarily to establish a practice of near-daily writing in relation to reading. Some like it, some don’t. But in those that blog often, I have seen a marked improvement in their writing. I think it is because blogging connects writing to thinking in a very concrete way…” (Taken from here.)
Certainly, the more one writes, the better one gets. Holds true for just about anything. I guess the question then is what’s the best way to bring students to the Web logging habit? I like the idea of a reader response notebook, or a reading journal. Ask them to do 5-10 minutes a night? And, the other point here of course is finding some way to evaluate the improvement in their writing…
So much to do.
Our school has been running a 4 x 4 block schedule for about six years now with pretty good success. One downside, however, is the relative inflexibility of the schedule. So, we’re starting a process to look at some alternatives. There is another high school in our area (about 30 miles away) that’s interested in taking a look at this with us, and yesterday my principal broached the idea of using a Web log to communicate. Could be another opportunity to see how they facilitate collaboration and communication.
We’ve kicked it around before, and now Pat is giving it another boot with some help from Seb. I like the idea of getting together the “early adopters” for some face to face kicking around of ideas with some fun on the side. Seb’s mentioned Vienna in March, Karen is offering up W. Va. in July (ugh) and I’m getting the shove to see about a summer confab on the Barnegat. (Camping anyone?) I will say this, at least for me, the timing feels right. I’m just getting this sense that things are starting to break here and there (i.e. a WSJ mention, T&L interviews, presentations here and there, workshops…). By next summer, we might have a real movement afoot.
Still finding it hard to believe that a.) so few people know about this stuff, b.) even fewer people are doing it. I’m no rocket scientist, believe me. And, once again, I know I have some priveleges and support that others don’t have. But I can’t believe how far I’ve come in just a few months with Manila. I just feel like more and more people are going to start seeing the potential. (And Pat’s pr efforts can’t hurt!)
So…any well off souls out there willing to fund a few days on the Jersey shore for some idea tossing by a bunch of inspired edu-bloggers (I hate that term) looking to push their thinking and figure out some ways to take a great idea and bring it mainstream?
Feeling buried these days under a mound of work…new classes, teaching portfolios, tech committees and on and on. I sometimes wonder how I keep afloat, yet I don’t think I know any other way. Haven’t been able to do much reflecting here, and there is so much to reflect on. Instead, I’m building blogs and slogging through.
Four additions to the Will Blogs list…my new Secret Life of Bees site, the Parents’ Online Book Club, the English Department Web log (which is pretty much a non-starter to this point) and my Media Lit class. Whew.
I really wish I was heading down to Atlanta to be a part of that presentation. Maybe a trip out to CA in the spring is in the offing???
Eleven (maybe 12) parents, three teachers, one book. So let’s see what happens with this. At some point I’m going to have to take a week out of my excruciatingly busy life to really look at what the heck my students and I are getting from all of these “experiments”. Not going to happen any time soon, however. And besides, that’s the heavy lifting part. This part is FUN!
“I received your letter in the mail and think your idea of having a Secret Life of Bees Parents’ Online Book Club is a brilliant idea. Please count me in. Even if you don’t get enough parents interested, I will read that book at the same time as my son. It sounds like a lovely novel.”
And I’ve already got three more parents signed up. If I can get to 10, I’ll be very happy.