In previous years I began blogging in a school related capacity with my grade 5/6 class 2 years ago. I used blogger but found that I was not able to preview student comments prior to publishing. Since I abandoned blogger, I haven't explored whether or not the capacity to do this has evolved with blogger. I turned next to blogmeister for my class use. I found this quite useful and was excellent because all of my student postings needed to be approved by myself prior to publishing. Because this was linked to my school website I felt this was the best blog option for the time. However, the layout was not the most visually appealing and lets face it, visual appeal is huge for kids. They want to see something that grabs their attention and hooks them (as do I!). Other than that, blogmeister served its purpose for my classroom purpose and I continue to use it up to this year. I'm not sure which avenue I will explore this year as a t-l but as I stand right now, I'm still leaning towards blogmeister.
As I read through Richardson's book, I find myself thinking of how I have used many of the Web 2.0 tools in the past and how I need to reapproach learning using the tools available. In the past I felt at times I have used the tools for the sake of using them instead of thinking beyond and making sure that students are using Web 2.0 tools to further their inquiry of learning. As I begin to collaborate and plan with teachers, I find myself leafing through Richardson's book and Solomon & Schrum's book "web 2.0: new tools, new schools".
I must admit here that I am a self-taught technology guy. I'm not really good with following instructions/directions, instead I like to skim through the directions, get started and explore and learn on my own. In some ways I have found this very rewarding but in other ways, it is frustrating because I tend to be a little stubborn in my learning. I guess I'll make the analogy of the "male driver" who won't ask for directions. Instead of stopping and completely reading the map (or in this case, the instruction literature), I'll keep driving until I see something that looks right until I get completely frustrated! Don't worry though, I'm going to eliminate the not stopping for directions by purchasing a GPS before our family goes on our next big trip. For those of you who are already wondering, no, I probably won't read the instructions before I start using it, instead I'll "fiddle" until I get it to work. And if I don't, my brilliant wife will read the instructions and figure it out while I drive (after all, it's a long way to Phoenix from Regina!).
Well, my journey begins, or should I say continues. I'm looking forward to blogging over the next few months and keeping up with all our learning. I think Richardson sums it up very well by stating that the true power of blogs is that they are so easy to use. It is a simple way to write and publish on the web that is not threatening. As a result, the educational implications are far reaching.
Until next time.