Friday, February 06, 2009

Session B

So I'm here at GCTE, liveblogging! yay!

Dana Huff is talking about how the world is "flattening" due to developments in communications technology, and how that creates more competition for our students as they leave school and become workers.

Many of us have Professional Learning Networks (PLNs) in our school. But there are only so many teachers in our school. Where do you go when you're the only person with a particular interest, or when you've exhausted the resources your school? The internet gives opportunities to connect and share with new people!

Blogging is great for
- sharing opinions, news, commentary
- journaling, researching, describing, observing
- generating ideas, reflecting, starting discussions

Over on her blog, Dana does a weekly reflection that I really like; mine isn't nearly as organized! She looks over what works and what she'd like to change for next time, and because there's an audience, there are people who respond to what she's posting, and give her NEW ideas based on what they've said. Even if it's not something you agree with, someone else's comment can set your thoughts going in a new direction you wouldn't've found on your own.

Wikis are different from blogs.
- more like a webpage
- less linear
- great for getting a lot of people involved.

Because the format isn't linear, it's easier to change what's currently posted. Blogs are more about staying current by adding NEW material; the old stuff gets archived.

Blog or Wiki?
- One writer/small group? or large group of writers?
- Sharing ideas and opinions, reflection? or collaboration, editing, sharing
- close community? or wide community?
- steady updates? or final project?

- "Really Simple Syndication" - think like getting syndicated comics in your local paper. RSS sends updates of your favorite pages to a "local paper" like Google Reader or another RSS reader. Typically it'll send a mini-blurb of the update, so you can pick and choose which ones you want to click on to read the whole post.

- People share things on twitter that are shorter & may not warrant a whole blog post.
- Great for link-sharing and asking/answering questions!
- Quite often you get replies REALLY QUICKLY.
- In many cases, people who keep a very professional blog will be more personal on Twitter, helping you get to know them.

I'm still unclear on how this is different from a wiki, except possibly the additional features the software offers. It's a social networking site, like Facebook, but the person starting it shapes the format. It combines a lot of the features of different social sites, because it has internal groups, blogs, bulletin board forums, and even chat.
- English Companion
- Literacy Lighthouse

We often see Facebook as a huge time suck. But it's a great way to connect with people professionally as well as personally. It's neat because it does a lot of the networking FOR you - it checks the friends of your friends and says "do you know this person?"
- Be careful about friending students
- Use groups to limit what some of your friends can see
- Be aware of what your friends are posting on your wall (you can delete these; they're not cached! yay!)
- Create a POSITIVE online presence; model this for your students!!

Delicious and Diigo
Delicious lets you bookmark a site, and share the link and a description with others who've chosen to subscribe to your bookmarks.

Diigo lets you put "sticky notes" on the web! You can also do bookmarking and link-sharing as well.

!! Now you can use Project Gutenberg and annotate the text! WOW!

You can also use public/private/group settings so that only your 'friends' can read your stickynotes, or so that certain groups can read certain notes or not others.

Important cautions

- Anonymity - Sometimes it gives people license to complain more than they would if their names were attached. If they really, really want to, people who know you WILL find you, or people who know your alias WILL find out who you are.
- Access - Do what's reasonable for you. If you have reliable access from school, count your blessings! See what you can find out about grants.
- Spam - Yuck! annoying. Most blogging software has spam filters; they're fairly easy to use.
- Blocking and filters - Schools block a LOT of content that maybe doesn't need to be. (Dana's pretty passionate about this, so go read what SHE says!) There are lots of ways around most of the blockers. Still, be aware of your school's expectations, and be the professional you claim to be!
- Trolls - People who post mean stuff anonymously. I don't have much of a problem with this, because if someone is unreasonably nasty, it tends to be pretty obvious. And if someone has reason for being nasty, well, then, we need to come to an understanding.

Great quote: "If you let the trolls keep you offline, it's like letting the terrorists win!"

Dana also created a wiki for the seminar, so stop by and join the conversation!


Dana Huff said...

Thanks for live-blogging this! I appreciate it. I'm glad you were there and that we got to meet at last.

Clix said...

ditto here!

You know, I'd really like to see something on graphic novels next year.

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