Last week, I joined an online conversation with folks through Teachers Teaching Teachers that explores the convergence of technology and teaching in its many varied forms. I have been curious about the concept of Elgg communities and jumped into the conversation with some questions (for my own benefit and for my wife, who is a high school teacher). As far as I can tell, Elgg offers the possibility of a safe online community that links members together through shared interested and through related “tags” that they create in their profile. It mirrors Facebook and MySpace, but without the advertising and mess of those sites. Dave Tosh provides a good overview of Elgg at his site.
You can listen to the podcast of that conference through the Teachers Teaching Teachers site. Or you can find that link here:
Listen to the podcast
Meanwhile, I notice that the authors of one of my favorite blog sites — Bud the Teacher — is posing his own inquiries into Elgg, so I hope to follow along that conversation, too. And I have joined a teacher Elgg, too, just to tour around and get familiar with the tools that are there.
The emergence of technology as a source for user-generated writing, audio and video files is intriguing to me as an educator, but I still wonder about how everything will pan out in a few years. Will it all become a commercialized jumble of incoherence? (MySpace is an absolute mess that began with promise, I think). Or will we find a path to utilize these resources to generate critical learning and collaboration for our young student writers and creators?
Last semester, I took a course at UMass
and wrote a final paper about my thoughts on the integration of the Read-Write Web (also known as Web 2.0
in some circles) into classroom practice and so I share it here for anyone who might be interested in what I wrote. Will Richardson continues to explore the possibilities of these technologies in education in interesting ways and his Weblogged site
is always worth a gander. My own paper and inquiry remains a work in progress for me and a piece of writing I will return to at a later time for more reflection and work.
Read Kevin’s Seminar Paper
I found this wonderful resource that focuses in on the educational aspects of blogging in the classroom and thought I would share it with you. The site is called SupportBlogging
(of course) and it is a Wiki site. It provides many resources, best practices and information that seems both practical and thought-provoking.
This is a nice summary of how blogs can be integrated into the classroom:
In a broader and more educational system, blogs are about communicating. You observe your experience, reflect on it, and then write about it. Other people read your reflections, respond from their perspectives by commenting or writing their own blog article. You read their perspectives, often learn something through their eyes, and write some more.
— from Supportblogging