Just a few think-abouts on a sunny, chilly Fall morning (with an extra hour to work with):

Blogging is different altogether, providing a wonderful balance between putting work out there and developing the practice. Yes, they get to float their young, sometimes inspired work out in the world and see what comes back. They get to read it on the Web, Google themselves, try the writer’s life on for size. They look back at old posts with incredulity–I wrote that? Argh!– but see the growth, the need for apprenticeships while reaching out with the work to see how the world responds. Through blogging, they also develop discipline, writing regularly both at as high a level as they can and freely, because no one expects you to do anything spectacular on a blog anyway. There is the freedom that comes with a medium that is not altogether accepted as a means of artistic expression. At least not yet. How immensely satisfying for the teacher and the student. We can both relax into the writing for its own sake, relishing the discoveries and the risks as they appear through our fingers and into language on our screens, and hold ourselves to a routine of writing and to a standard–the fact that our words go out into the world instead of staying in our notebooks forces us to consider them more carefully, perhaps, than we would in a journal or for a teacher alone (at least the kind of blogging I’m talking about). —Barbara Ganley

There are four themes that seem to form a core set of practices and beliefs among bloggers: the networked nature of communication, the opportunity for engaging in ongoing conversation, easily produced microcontent, and transparency…These four themes are not unique to blogging. They apply more broadly to systems that support social interaction, including user-editable sites (wikis), tag-driven sites like del.icio.us and Flickr. The community that makes use of weblogs tends to be among the first to take up other social technologies as well. Though it will almost cer-tainly change over time—and the word “blog” may disappear from the vocabulary—these larger themes seem to have taken hold socially and are likely to continue to be influential. —Alex Halavais

So how much commenting are you doing? If you feel you are not getting enough comments, are you giving? —Alan Levine

As I have said repeatedly, my kids live in a tiny town in the middle of Northern Canada, for them to make contact with kids from Texas and with kids from Melbourne is a radically different idea. I have been involved with internatinal education projects in the past. The kids spend a huge amount of time talking about their favoutie bands and movie stars, but often little beyond that. That is not education. Many of these projects I have wondered about the validity and worthiness of after we have put in the time and energy to create them. Blogging is different. It will give us extended contact on an entirely different level. It will actually allow for an exchange of views and concerns, not just lists of mp3 files. (only if we get into podcasting!) An exchange of viewpoints, burgeoning political beliefs, the ability ot write diplomatically for an international audience is not something that many junior high kids get experience with, or exposure to. Last week one of my students posted a well written piece on his blog against the war in Iraq. It was diplomatic, respectful of other viewpoints, and articulate. Within 24 hours, he recieved two long, well thought out comments from others who are in favour of troops being in Iraq. He posted again explaining his beliefs and recieved well written, extended comments in return. An international discussion, an interest in current affairs, an experience explaining his beleifs, and a chance to post a viewpoint knowing others will read it and think about it. This is a vital education for this century. —Clarence Fisher