#1 In the Beginning

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Week 1: In the Beginning

Blogging and Wikis

General observation

Blogs (a diminutive of weblog) replaces the journals of yesteryear.  In an era of social networking “mania”, blogs are another social platform which allow us to record digitally thoughts and information – often on a topic of passion, interest or discovery. The most notable difference between “book” journals and blogs is the capacity for others to read what we have written.  Blogs, like websites, wikis and social networking sites like Facebook and twitter allow us to become public authors. Publishing items, which can be accessible to those all around the world and providing opportunity for their comment adds to the breadth and depth of the “social” experience.  

Most good quality blogs are interactive, allowing readers/visitors to leave comments and even message each other via a  “widget”, which is a service/option on the blog,  and it is this interactivity that distinguishes them from other static websites. In that sense, blogging can be seen as a form of social networking.  Indeed, bloggers do not only produce content to post on their blogs but also build social relations with their readers and other bloggers.

What I think of blogging

To me, blogs or blogging has both negative and positive features.  If you read the “home” page or the “about” page of this blog you will see my ever-so-slightly veiled attempt at expressing my disapproval of blogging.  I am not sure why I disapprove (perhaps it is actually the disapproval of blogs being used as a “reflection of my learning” that I have the greatest problem with.-  though  I do feel it has a lot to do with the whole social networking mania that I have issues with. 

The notion of anyone being able to “publish” work on the web sends off alarm bells regarding validity, authority and of course accuracy etc etc.  however, if one is forewarned of the blog as a platform for such, then viewing informative blogs with a healthy scepticism is an obvious training requirement. 

 Researching about blogs and their application has led me to some fascinating pieces of information and some great examples of this amazing format/platform (not sure what to call it).  The extent to which many bloggers go to impart, record and provide information is commendable. (I hope you not the change in tone – and subsequently – heart regard to blogs and blogging.

Exploring a variety of blogs – especially those with an educative basis – I have been made aware of the greater array of opportunities for their use in education, business, social welfare and personally.

Revisiting my “negative” attitude towards blogs, especially the lack of value I saw in using blogs as a “reflection of my own learning (replace my own with student’s own) I was “countered” with a statement :

“Conversely, deep learning is how learners stand back from an experience, seek out connections between concepts, and contextualize meaning “(Rosie 2000).

Reading and article title “Blogging to Learn” by Anne Bartlett-Bragg – which can be found at the link below, it does not take long to realise the many benefit that integrating blogging into pedagogical practise can achieve and the manner in which this can be done. http://knowledgetree.flexiblelearning.net.au/edition04/pdf/blogging_to_learn.pdf

Chris Dixon at http://cdixon.org/2012/05/10/blogging-to-learn/ – sums up blogging thus

“People blog for all sorts of reasons. For me, it is mostly about learning. This wasn’t my original intention – it evolved over time. Now I see blogging as part of a continuous learning process:”

interesting blog sites

This is  a commercial blog that promotes blogging – it has listed 27 amazing benefits of blogging

http://bloggingyourpassion.com/

Integrating Technology in the Primary classroom – in this blog, a  primary school teacher shares resources, practical ideas and thoughts on blogging, global collaboration and technology integration – this is a fabulous site.

http://primarytech.global2.vic.edu.au/information-about-educational-blogging/

Shows how to use webquest to learn about blogging and how to use blogging to complete webquests!! (symbiotic)

http://blogmeister.pbworks.com/w/page/14829170/FrontPage

This is a home school resource which has blogging lesson on setting up and using a blog

http://blogging2learn.wordpress.com/

Blogs  and  Wikis – Similarities and Differences!!

Blogs are generally author centred.  Posts are made by the blog’s author only (may be a group) with posts usually being opinion pieces and written in the authors voice.  With a blog, readers can add comments to the author’s post, providing a platform for social interaction from the reader. These comments can be alternative suggestions, critiques or simple banter on an item. They can however, become a melting for political (social) grandstanding or simple “nuttery”.  Blogs are organised in reverse chronological order so the most recent posts show on the entry page giving them the credibility of currency – as they are clearly dated.  Generally blog posts reflect the authors identity in the tone, look and feel and content.  By nature blogs are generally used to reflect and review.

Wikis

Wikis are content or document centred.  Usually wikis are for group authoring.  They are basically editable website where a complete version history is kept.  A wiki is extremely useful when the aim is to reach a consensus or compromise on the content of the page of a document – generally when all parties wish or need to have input. The focus is the content produced, not the individual authors.  With a wiki the tone or emotion is usually neutral and objective.  In practise the discussion/comment regarding the undertaking of the project or document  is separated from the wiki content.  Wikis are generally used to collaborate and synthesise.

Usefulness of Wikis in education (library)

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