Teaching Blogging with Kathi Yancey

Today, I am at Fordham University, presenting at their summer literacy institute focusing on 21st Century Literacies. I am honored to have the opportunity to present with Kathi Yancey, and she is currently in the middle of her session about “Blogging Alive,” asking participants to think about the purposes and audiences for blogging.

She began by asking people to make a concept map of their blog search, beginning by choosing a question and then using Google blog search to find anwers to their question. She made the point that she was less concerned about the answer to the question than about the process of the search itself. She asked students to then create a concept map outlining their search, and to make sure to include the links from one blog post to another, thus showing the nodes that developed.

Next, she discussed a variety of purposes for blogging, including students writing to and with each other. She also suggested that students connecting their school lives with the world such as the the blog of unecessary quotation marks.

Finally, she asked how we might use blogs as spaces for online learning this year. She talked about the ideas of “misfires” and “workarounds.” Misfires in the sense that an assignment designed for a particular purpose doesn’t really work the way it is supposed to, but you can learn from it. Workaround in the sense that you may have planned for one thing, but got another (e.g., planned for a lab, but only got one computer in your classroom). She also shared Wordle, and showed us how to make a Wordle image from the words we used to describe the MAPS of digital writing this morning.

Image created using www.wordle.net
Image created using http://www.wordle.net

An enjoyable day all around, I appreciate the invitation from Marshall George to present as a part of the 21st Century Literacies institute this year.


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Teaching teachers about connected learning

This morning, we are in the middle of week two of our Chippewa River Writing Project summer institute, and the timing for writing this post couldn’t be better.

Yesterday, we went to the CMU library and our English reference librarian, Aparna Zambare, gave us an introduction to the library databases and Zotero. Minus a few technical glitches with getting Firefox installed, participants in the institute were immediately drawn in to Zotero, figuring out how to use it to cite materials from the library’s databases, link to books on Amazon, take snapshots of current web pages, and then tag and make notes on their items. As they begin to frame their teacher research projects, I felt that introducing Zotero as a bibliography management tool would provide them with a constant place to keep track of their sources and reflections on those sources. So far, it seems to have worked, with one participant commention about how he could see using this tool in his classroom next fall.

Then, this morning, we are being introdcued to the idea of creating a personal learning network by Sara Beauchamp, Technology Liaison from the Upper Peninsula Writing Project. She introduced us to the idea of the Networked Student, which led into a conversation amongst participants about how and why we might want to learn these tools for our own learning as well as for use in our classroom. She reminded us that using all of these tools can become overwhelming if we let them, and that they are messy when we begin using them. Yet, over time, you can learn to adapt some of the tools to make them useful to you.

She continued by sharing RSS in Plain English and Google Reader in Plain English. We then moved into the process of setting up their Google Readers. We are thinking about all of this in the context of teacher research projects, and Sara also framed the demo around some of the ideas in Christensen’s Disrupting Class. As the demo continued, participants set up their readers with feeds related to their personal interests and professional inquiry. We then had time to add feeds to our Reader and think about how to structure folders to that the information is organized.

Through both presentations, we came to think more about how information is accessed, shared, and integrated into our own research and learning. This is a good point for us to be at as we begin developing our teacher research projects and reach the mid point of our summer institute. More learning to come!


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