Created by Ruth Elliott

Welcome! Join me as I reflect on my learning journey with Web 2.0 tools. I'm sure I will find bandwagons to jump on along the way. Let's enjoy the trip.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

What is a blog?

Image <span class=representing Twitter as depicted in Crun..." style="border: medium none ; display: block;" width="210" height="49">Image via CrunchBase

Why did I choose for the site of my blog? I asked my very computer literate brother-in-law what he would suggest and he suggested When I went into it, it seemed quite easy to use. My daughter helped me set up the design elements. She pointed out the little circles where you could change the colours of each design. I'm still not sure about the Zemanta elements which I have chosen to use with my blog. I'm sure as I go along, I will personalize my blog more. One thing I don't like is the difficulties of moving things around. The screen for typing is pretty small. Then when I insert pictures, I can't see my whole entry at once. However, this site is working for me.

As I read the first article (I chose to read, not view) on Trailfire, I clarified my thinking about blogs. Blogs are archived news posts. (My thoughts: If they are archived news posts, why was I allowed to go back in and edit my post? Am I allowed to tamper with the immediate news? I suppose this is similar to one viewing a breaking news story and later seeing it in an edited (maybe even sanitized) version later on CTV news net.)

Blogs make news a two-way street. The readers can comment on the blog. (My thoughts: Last week, the news broke of Michael Jackson's sudden death. Apparently with the advent of texting, Twitter, and blogging, the news spread rapidly. However, many people also spread the

Michael JacksonMichael Jackson via

word that other celebrities had passed away. Yes, Farrah Fawcett did pass away around the same time but the deaths of other celebrities were just rumours. This side story was alluded to on the late news that night when the news anchor chided those who had quickly spread rumours of the deaths of other celebrities. They refused to name names though.)

Bloggers can create communities. Even in this class as we read each other's posts and comments we are becoming a community of learners. In this community we can build connections with each other, with resources, and with new ideas. Since each of us is an educator, we can also develop our understandings of how the new technologies may be applied in an educational setting. My brother-in-law told me that despite all of the change that has taken place in the last fifty years, (in his way of thinking) the classroom and school still looks very much the same. Alvin Toffler said that the illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn (address) How can the new technologies enable us as teachers to prepare students for that learning, unlearning, and relearning? I think that first of all, we need to be willing to learn, unlearn, and relearn ourselves. That's exactly what we are doing in this c

Sequoia <span class=sempervirens in Redwood National and S..." style="border: medium none ; display: block;" width="300" height="453">Image via Wikipedia


The last comment I wish to make about this first Trailfire article is that blogs can give each blogger a voice as each one presents his or her own version of the news. But then I wonder, "If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? (address) If no one reads my blog, what is the point? Do I still have a voice if no one is listening? How could a stranger discover my blog? (I know my classmates all have the address.) How can I discover those voices which have something to say to me--those writers whose thoughts will resonate within me?

As I think about my purpose in creating this blog--of course, it is a requirement for this class. It is a way of communicating about my learning journey with its joys and frustrations. However, I recently discovered that I like to "write to learn". I attended an in-service for Grade 2 teachers recently at which Debbie Miller was the presenter. She placed a poem on the screen and asked us to read it and reflect upon it. As I read and reflected, I wrote down my thoughts. After five minutes we were asked to share with those around us. I found that as I wrote, I had reached a deeper place of understanding the poem and how it spoke to me. So I think that as I blog, I will also be writing to learn. As I type my thoughts, I will understand myself better.

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  1. Thinking about simple to complex blogging - you are already on your way. I like your links to articles and readings - it makes the argument stronger. Think about your "hook" - with blog aggregators you often only see the first two lines - like the 140 characters of Twitter - so you need to grab your reader.

    Many bloggers set a google alert to inform them when someone is writing about them and so they find their way to your blog. In previous classes we have had Will Richardson comment on someone's blog.

    Amazingly, people do find your writing - although it is true there is a LOT of information out there. Blogging is not only the personal learning and learning from writing - which is, of course, important in itself, but also commenting and pushing the discussion on other's blogs.

    It will be interesting to see how this evolves over time with more and more information on the participatory web - and how we manage to keep track of it all.

  2. Hi Ruth,

    So it's Zemanta that gives you the text wrap capability?

    What allows you to embed links within your texts.

    This is very nice. I like your blog!


  3. Ruth, did you get a chance to watch the presentation by Dr. Mike Wesche from Kansas State University that is part of the Trailfire for sharing videos. Here is the address: At one point in the video there is discussion about video blogging and the personal nature of it. When you make a video blog, you have no idea that anyone will ever see it, but there is an extremely self reflective process that occurs when video blogging. I think that the same can be said for blogging. No one may ever read a blog that you post, but the act of doing it is helping you to learn through the act of creating. You are learning in a constructivist manner.

    Keep up the fabulous posts!