Sunday, April 10, 2005


I've created the site for my class blog. You can find it at: I'm going to institute the blog as a tool for this class the next time I teach it. I'm excited about the possibilties.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Add a photo

I thought I'd explore adding photos.

My Plan

I've created a plan for integrating blogging in to my own Honors Multimedia Production class. Take a look at the plan here:

Blogging as a Dynamic, Transformative Medium

Barbara Ganley, a lecturer at Middlebury College, was a reluctant user of technology until she discovered the "transformative" medium of blogging in the classroom. Her exceedingly well-written article, Blogging as a Dynamic, Transformative Medium in an American Liberal Arts Classroom, examines her entry into the world of blogging and the power of social software as tool of learning.

Using her own experiences with her Irish literature and film class, Ganley demonstrates how weblogs "can accelerate and expand the process of experimentation and collaboration that ordinarily has little place in the liberal arts classroom." She points out how blogs create a community of learners and a kind of collective intelligence that extends out of the classroom (with links to new resources and materials) and also enhances in-class discussions. While she worried the blogs would be glib and superficial, by integrating them into the course design she found them to be the opposite. She makes a strong argument that blogging can produce a truly dynamic learning environment where students are "at once the actor and the reflector, the commentator and the instigator."

Friday, March 25, 2005

Personal Webpublishing as a reflexive conversational tool...

Sebastian Fiedler's article Personal Webpublishing as a reflective conversational tool for self-organized learning examines the use of blogging as a tool for learning in ways that empower the learner to become more autonomous and self-directed.

A couple months ago I read an article that essentially argued against schooling... at least in the traditional sense. The author encouraged everyone to drop out of school, preferring home learning and other activities. As a long-time student and more recent educator, teaching and learning is an important part of my identity. So, an argument against such things peaked my curiosity and challenged my worldview. Once I was able to open my mind to the article, I actually agreed with much of what the author had to say. Schools, he argued, were sites of socialization, where students mostly learned to conform to their social and civil roles in capitalist society. Moreover, schools themselves are anti-democratic institutions, where students have little opportunity to make real choices, direct their learning, spend time doing things they value, or show independent initiative. As a result, he argued, we can expect a docile and compliant citizenry.

While I would never endorse dropping out of school, the article did force me to examine ways in which education can set limits rather than expand horizons. Often, institutional schooling can stifle creativity, experimentation, and intellectual energy.

Fiedler, similarly, argues that in times of rapid change we have to be "careful not to codify and freeze our processes of learning." He argues for a shift away from "complete dependency on educational authorities who are in control of process and content towards a more self-organized, conscious, and purpose-driven model of personal change." Fiedler sees web publishing using blogs as an ideal way to implement this more self-directed and self-reflective learning model, wherein learners can take more responsibility for their own learning. As students write blogs and comment on the blogs of others, they become both learners and facilitators. In their learning "conversation" they become learning resources for each other.

Posting Via E-Mail

This is a test of the function that allows you to post to your blog via e-mail. I'm writing this post in Outlook and will send it to my "secret" e-mail address. I use my e-mail software to manage many things in my life, from tasks to student communication to client work. I use e-mail folders to store ideas and drafts of things. I almost always have my e-mail software open on the computer. Thus, posting via e-mail is an attractive option for me, removing yet one more barrier to posting content.

Customizing Part Deux

I was also able to customize all the font colors, etc.

Custom Template

I just played around with customizing the blogging template to incorporate my own imagery. The images don't quite tile perfectly, but it is fairly easy to swap out the default template photos with your own.

Educational Blogging

I thought Stephen Downes article on Educational Blogging provided a good overview of the history and use of blogging both in and outside of the classroom. He reviews how web logs started and how they have developed in their use, as well as some of the tools (hosts and applications) used to self publish. Then, he reviews the five primary uses of blogs in education which include: using blogs to adminster a class (posting class rules and assignments), using blogs to link to relevant course material, using blogs as a tool of class discussion, using group blogs for organizing seminars and posting summaries and reactions to readings, and lastly assigning students to write their own blogs as part of a course grade (like I'm doing now!). The article helped spark some of my own ideas about how I can incorporate blogs into the classes I teach.

Downes also reviews some of the challenges and problems with using blogs in the classroom. A common problem is that with students who are forced to blog, their entrys have the tendency to become vapid and empty, perhaps because they have nothing to say or respond to. Certainly, quality blogging comes from quality thinking, and some form of motivation or passion. It may not be enough to simply force to students to write a blog. Rather, I subscribe to this quote from the article... “Instead of assigning students to go write, we should assign them to go read and then link to what interests them and write about why it does and what it means.”

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Design Blogs

I've discovered these blogs about interactive design that may be useful:

Moment One

I love beginnings. And, endings as they are one in the same often times. And, this... this very post is my first foray into the blogosphere. Whether or not this experiment will continue into the future remains to be seen. Lately, I find myself exceedingly busy. A deluge that often seems ridiculous... like sprinklers in rain.