Saturday, November 6, 2010

Blogging from iPad

The steps many be small and sometimes infrequent but change is always happened. In preparation for our trip to China I'm testing the ability to blog using a combination of email from an iPad. If this is readable, it worked.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Video Commerical

Is Coke or Pepsi or 7up that we want to sell? Our commercial could be any number of products that we drink, eat or otherwise consume or use. But let's up the ante; let's promote or advertise an idea, ideas like "Parents reading to their children", "The value of similar triangles in measuring the height of a tree", "The effect of eating and exercising right", and the list goes on. Now we're touching on ideas that are closer to education than a good old soft drink.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Chocolate choo-choo train on licorice tracks

At the expense of a couple dozen unsuspecting education students, all the students recognized that visualizing images helping memory more than focusing on the pronunciation of the words. From there the class jumped into Photoshop and its layers to create a montage of with images from three different sources. The details for this process were overwhelming and far too numerous to remember after a single exposure. While those details were being conquered, the ultimate destination for these montages, misbehaved. And so the story goes.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Countries I have visited. Map generated by BigHugeLabs for ED421 class.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

It's summer 2010 - what's new?

Another term at Western Oregon University has started and with it have come two sections of Computers in Education students. My past rosters of this course indicate that I've done this many times but as every time in the past, it will be different with different students, who bring different skills and from a different technological environment. This environment for the first time includes the iPad and its competitors and wanna-bees. This environment includes desires to learn technologies that are becoming more commonplace in the schools. This environment includes peers who when asked a question anywhere in the world grab their cell phones and moments later read an answer.

I just returned from a trip to San Francisco with a group of WOU students who worked with 13 five to twelve year-olds from homeless families or families at risk of being homeless. I was impressed with the idea for the very mature twelve year-old girls that their future was very limited, perhaps to be a worker in that program. To encourage them to expand their ideas I asked if they had Facebook or email with which I could communicate with the later. They said no. I was amazed and quickly recognized my privileges in life and of many in the WOU community. They laughed and giggled as they played in the park, created crafts in the small office room and helped the younger children. Perhaps their lives have evolved more naturally than their peers who live at a keyboard.

The question is so broad and deep that I don't even know how to ask it, but how do computers properly fit into the development of our children? When should they be using computers and when should they be kicking soccer balls? How does this all affect their future and their lives in general?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Beyond Learning Management Systems

I received a collective email this morning with the following as a part of a forward. This transition is a part of our growth but with the growth comes growing pains and challenges.

Derek Keats wrote:
The concept of the learning MANAGEMENT system (LMS) as a contained environment for managing courses online is very 20th Century. At this time in the 21st Century, numerous learning opportunities exist outside the contained environment of the university, and many have called for personal learning environments (PLEs) as alternatives. Some have even suggested a mash up of web 2.0 tools be used, and institutional systems ignored altogether. Yet, institutions need LMS-like functionality even now. Here is where Chisimba's eLearning tools come into play. Chisimba can be configured as a fully functional eLearning environment with all of the functionality that you would expect in an institutional LMS, yet at the same time, it actively allows mashups with Web 2.0 content and functionality. For example, students and lecturers can use the blog as a personal learning environment, and integrate it with sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and others. Semantic web technologies, such as the Collecta realtime search can be incorporated, as can realtime updates of similar content from sites such as Twitter. Functionality provided by widgets, an increasing trend can easily be incorporated using very simple techniques such as 'filters.
Check out the following sites:

Prof Derek Keats, PhD
Deputy Vice Chancellor, Knowledge and Information Management
The University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg

Are we ready for this?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Just another fad

Or is it?

Blogs all over the Internet are using numbers like 300,000 sold the first day and one million apps uploaded during that same period. The new toy is on the market. And is it just a toy or the "printing press" of the 21st century, changing the face of publishing, reading, writing and the general use of the written word? And with changes in communication and attitudes toward the new toys, come changes in education. Will there be a government bailout of textbook publishers? "I like the feel of a book in my hands," is a paraphrase of many readers. But the iPad page change mimics the turning of a page in a book. Teachers in my class last evening said that you can write in the margins of the public school textbook because they will be used by another student in the upcoming year, nor can you highlight important sentences. If every student had this electronic book with "highlighting" capabilities, wouldn't that be a plus also.

But I'm waiting. There are downsides to this technology and I want to know what they are and if they relevant enough to not buy one, or maybe I'll wait until version 2.0 comes out eliminating those limitations.

I think this exceeded the hula hoop and pet rock, and the expectations of Apple, but how will this toy fare in the long run? Anyone have one yet?

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The iPad is around the corner

It doesn't come to anyone who has as much as a little finger in computers and the Internet that this cyberworld is getting way out of hand. Not that this is bad or that the components are bad, it's just that there's so much of it and it changes so fast that it's impossible to "keep up." How to young people do it? One thing is that they don't concern themselves with the big pictures. If they find something the works and they enjoy it, they use it. The overly analytic oldsters want to compare with the umpteen other options and understand how it compares with the past, and how it may effect the future.

So I attended this workshop yesterday that served as an overview of the possibilities in using Moodle, the university's course management program. I've used it for several years but the possibilities that I haven't used or even knew about are, well, just plain overwhelming.

Are you ready for the iPad coming out this weekend? Have you considered the competition such as the Kindle from Amazon? I found it very relaxing and soothing to be making wooden boxes as graduation gifts this morning beside a wood-fired stove while listening to the rain on the roof.

Enjoy the vast world that goes beyond our planet> By the way, I just came back from Second Life.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Getting Started with Blogging

As the usefulness of blogging becomes more apparent, it is necessary to support people develop their own blogs. There are many blog providers. I will walk through the steps using the google sites.

First we will setup an gmail account if you don't all ready have one.

With your browser go to

Click on Gmail.

Click on Create an Account, and follow the prompts. Remember your gmail email address and your password. Write it on a sheet of paper and store it in your sock drawer. Some suggest in your mother's undie drawer because no one goes there.

Secondly we'll setup the blog.

Go to

If you need to, sign in with your gmail account information.

Follow the prompts. About names: the first one requested is a general name that the public will see. Another is the title of your blog, always on the top of your blog page (think carefully about this one; it's like your brand, your sales pitch). Lastly you will enter a name for the URL address of your blogspot (simple is good).

You're ready to blog or post an entry. Do it.

Thirdly, find blogs that you would like to read on a regular basis, like that of your professor. Try "". Click on "Follow" in the right column and follow the prompts.

Blogging is all about getting readers and interconnecting so follow blogs that interest you and follow blogs that are followed by those you follow.

Have fun but beware that blogging can be addictive. Questions: email me at

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Blogging Ideas and Standards

In conjunction with a session on how to use blogs in education, both technically and pedagogically, I adding several links that Will Richardson includes in his book "Blogs, wikis, podcasting..."

The first is a site where you can share the different uses for blogs in education.
There are probably many more since 2004.

The second is site listing the Standards for the English Language Arts by NCTE and IRA.
Since the one is Richardson's book is outdated, I recommend that a search in would help with the standards for language arts. Not being an language arts scholar I will not attempt to advise anyone on this topic.

Should there be standards for blogging in education?

Driving in China

They say that driving is China is crazy. I believe it. I've seen it. But why? Here's one of my theories.

Throughout the past century as Americans drove cars, Chinese walked and drove bikes. When we walk, or bike, we naturally avoid collisions by adjusting our pace or stepping aside. Seldom if ever do we stop at the edge of an empty sidewalk and wait for a potential walker to pass before us. So it is in China, and many other developing countries, and when the car came into the picture, the same rules applied. Basically don't collide. Don't stop, just merge into traffic. They don't want to hit you any more than you want to be hit.

Is that where we are with the Internet? We chat as we would on a street corner. We interrelate as if we're in the privacy of our homes. Because we often are. And like the Chinese we don't want that to change.

We've just plodded through a course, a research project it you will, on gathering, organizing and managing information from the Internet. Now we are more "up to our necks" than before, but we do know there are tools for this job, in fact there are too many such tools. So we walk randomly sidestepping and slowing down and then surging forward. There are even some backtracking going on. Oh, where is clarity and modeling?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Staying the Journey

Certainly the theme education encompasses my life. PBS was just talking about teachers and education, and I realized that what intrigues me now as much as anything, is the changes that are occurring. The drivers in this change seem to be either politics such as NCLB, our status among other nations and technology.

During the past several weeks with my new focus on Professional Learning Environment (PLE) or Personal Learning Network (PLN), I have been pushed and shoved is so many directions, I'm too dizzy to stay up straight. But I've learned to take small steps, start simple, progress slowly and keep going. When the information becomes more than I'm ready for, pick only the most important information and gradually add from the peripheral. Don't expect to understand everything. Just because something is new doesn't mean that's what I need to do. Just because something is traditional and well-used doesn't mean that I can't change.

Frustration can come at many levels whether it's a president without a health care bill or a baby who can't verbalize hunger. Frustration can be managed particularly when looking beyond the immediate surroundings. The big picture in lifelong learning is finding and utilizing the tools that benefit that process. Frustration will come while searching for those tools but small deliberate steps will get you there.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Outdated before we used it

Check this out.

There goes a wasted term! Haha

If we don't get briefed on the iPad pretty soon, we're be behind again. Drat!

Fields of Green

As I crested the final small hill approaching Monmouth, with the cloud defused sunrise in front of me, I saw a large expansive field of green, fresh from the night's rain. Something in me moved. It was beautiful. The feeling is one that each of us has from time to time in different settings for different reasons.

If I have a fear about computers, it's losing that feeling. For me it's a matter of experiencing less often in lieu of a computer screen. For another generation, I fear it may be never experiencing it at all. One evening PBS ran a feature on the national parks of America, calling it America's best idea, and one day earlier they ran the Digital Nation feature about how America and its society is changing through computers. What a dichotomy!

What do I fear about computers? I fear losing the special inspiration and rejuvenation that comes from appreciating nature and its beauty. I fear ever experiencing a hug from the friend behind the computer screen. I have a plan to reclaim my time with nature and beauty, and gather hugs. Do you?

This is not my picture but you get the idea.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Digital Nation

Last evening, on our television, PBS played the video called Digital Nation.  It traveled through a multitude of ways that computers and other electronic devices affect the lives of people around the world.  Many of the themes were not new: children think, and therefore learn, differently than their parents, and education needs to adjust, perhaps in a major way, as to how teaching and learning are approached.

The section about South Korea, one of the more "wired" nations in the world, and how they first teach children respect for computers and the Internet.  "Computers are helpful, we must respect them and other users," is a paraphrase of the ditty they sang.  The song ended with "netiquette, netiquette!."  And a commentator said that it's too late to do this in America.

The surprises came to me outside the education sphere and particularly in the world of the military and recruiting.  I'm still digesting the video games and the mindset for these activities.  It wasn't far from Second Life and its use in business as well as the interactive gaming activities.  

All of this encompasses education, how education is affected by these activities and attitudes and how education can affect positive effective learning in the future.  What a full plate!  Again I'm overwhelmed.  Are you ready for this?

Saturday, January 30, 2010

It's Scary

"It's scary," was one response to the presenter's question "So what do you think [about Facebook]?"  
"What do you mean?"
"I'm from an older generation and I like the feel of a book in my hands when I read.  I like to see people's faces."

Another more academically said that she was concerned that if everything is electronic and online and if the "system" failed, all information and knowledge will be lost.

An hour before these answers, Steve Jobs introduced the iPad to the world.  The iPad appears to be a "big daddy" iPod (finally an "large print" iPod for my older eyes) or an laptop without a cover.

Reviews have been mixed and probably related to whether the reviewer was a member of the Apple fan club or not.  The future is in question.  The cost is low, compared to a laptop, making it competitive in that market but higher than the iPod or iPhone, perhaps taking it out of the high school market for awhile.  

While the laptop and Touch iPod are making their ways into the public school classrooms, as well as the colleges, the iPad will be only a small step behind.  The report is that the iPad will be available this summer and by Fall term they should be in our classrooms.

Or should they?  That may not be the question we have the privilege of answering.  The question will be: How can we use the iPad be effectively in education?

Order us 20 for a start!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Wizard of Id on blogging

Not everyone thinks that blogging is a highly sophisticated academic art.

Printed with permission from

Sunday, January 24, 2010

It's My Turn

I've dug through the literature and tantalized you with challenges.  But I haven't designed my own personal or professional blog beyond the class, so, in all fairness, it's time for me to take on the challenge I have given.  I will start gently, expanding my Digital Inklings beyond blogging and into other forms of technology.  Tags will be useful and returning to previous posts to tag them is a early task.

Secondly, I'm planning a blog for my family to discuss their heritage.  Phase two will be to include the extended family and the final phase will be to include a general population with related and similar stories.  This I will start by including the blog URL in my routine emails to my siblings on this topic.  I will add a link in the  After some time I will contact extended family with the address of the blog with questions about their families.  About the same time I will link other blogs regarding family trees, comment on their posts and include my URL in my comments.  I'm starting a mental list (maybe I should write it down)  of what I will write about with the idea that I will add something several times a week.  I will also include routine instructions on how readers can set up a feed.

OK.  I said too much.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Marketing your Blog

Closely related to managing your blog so that it is easy, effective and efficient for you is marketing your blog. Promoting your blog and establishing a readership is key to the success of a blog, especially in developing a professional development network. Of course, if you use blogging in a class, you have a captured audience.

So here's a quick link to a site that you too can find with a simple search. These sites are juried like most blogs, through the commenters. Your wisdom developed your research and extracted from your knowledge will determine the value of these links.

Managing your Blog

These are many reasons for creating a blog, including that your instructor requires it.  A common perspective is that blogs are for journaling and the writer does it strictly for his own satisfaction. However, most blogger hope that someone will read the blog.  Managing the blog is an administrative task to maximize the readership.  Hopefully the readers will link to the blog from their blogs or setup feeds from the blog.  However, there's more.

I discovered from Chinese students the idea that if what I want to write has already been written by someone else, why not just copy and paste it.  But that's another blog!  However, I did locate several websites/blogs that discuss how to manage your blog.  This gives you an opportunity to consider these points, discuss their merits and incorporate some of these processes and tools in your blog.

One of the links is - Eleven tips for managing your blog by Stephen Downes.  In short:
  • ·      A blog entry is a stub for conversation
  • ·      Think about the perspectives of your audience

  • ·      Write tight headlines that encourage interest

  • ·      Make points or lists and make then scan-friendly
  • ·      Link to the context

  • ·      Quote indirectly and link
  • ·      Format long documents for print

  • ·      Never delete anything
 tell you what you can't do.
  • ·      Troll the blogosphere for secondary conversation
  • ·      Be active in your own conversations

  • ·      Create buzz everywhere
 people to other sites.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

More Blogging Hints for Educators

Journal Article Review:

Educational Blogging

Tara R. Warner

Western Oregon University

Nicky Hockly (2009) offers educators a straightforward, informative article in the English Teaching Professional entitled, “Five Things You Always Wanted to Know About Blogs (but Were Afraid to Ask).”  As the title indicates, this educational piece is full of basic, user friendly information that speaks to an audience unfamiliar with the technical and educational possibilities of the vast “blogosphere” (Hockly, 2009, p. 60).  Hockly (2009) organizes her article into five major points that work individually to address blog specific, learning centered questions.  Initially, the author introduces the blog to readers with a brief history, definition, and list of related terms.  This important background information is followed by a concise clarification of various blog styles, as well as several general recommendations regarding the practical, educational attributes of each.  In addition, Hockly’s (2009) article suggests that educational blogging serves as a useful tool for teaching writing, reading, and digital media skills to students.  Also, blog subscription is simplified for new users with the introduction of “RSS (short for Really Simple Syndication)”, and an explanation of its uses in managing multiple blog subscriptions (Hockly, 2009, p. 60).  Hockly (2009) concludes with simple instructions for creating a first time blog, and a short outline of skills that should be developed prior to attempting the creation of an “edublog” (p. 60).  As a final, lucrative point, the author supplies readers with accommodating internet resources that helpfully list current examples of teacher created blogs and tools for further reference and exploration.

The information presented in Hockly’s (2009) article is significant and valuable within the realm of education because it provides teachers with a basic structure of knowledge to reference when planning blog centered lessons or units.  Educators who lack technical training and experience will immediately find aid in the instructional information and examples that permeate Hockly’s (2009) article.  As a result, they will also gain the data and resources necessary to successfully originate blogs for both personal and educational use.  Furthermore, the introduction and description of various free blogging tools will clear up confusion for new users wondering how to effectively personalize and maximize their own “edublogs” (Hockly, 2009, p. 60).  For example, Hockly (2009) states: 

You can also integrate all sort of ‘widgets’ (or little gadgets) into your blog, such as a            Twitter feed (see ETp Issue 60), mouse-over translation tools (if you point your mouse at a word, you are supplied with a translation) and a calendar, and you could also have a class blogroll in a sidebar. (p.60)

These suggestions serve as interesting and informative tips directed at either the novice teacher or technically inept, veteran. Essentially, Hockly’s (2009) article is able to provide a basic outline for teachers lacking the technical knowledge necessary to immediately and effectively introduce a blog into classroom curriculum. 

Overall, Hockly’s (2009) article is excellent if you are searching for basic information regarding educational blogging.  Nicky Hockly (2009) tells us what a blog is, how we can use it in our classrooms, and the different ways we can introduce it to our students.  Also, she offers helpful tips that are intended to assist a new user in keeping blogs both interesting and classroom friendly.  Hockly (2009) succeeds in delivering a simple, yet clear, blogging message that is ideal for any computer wary or technically challenged educator.  Not only is the information quick and easy to review, but it is also thoroughly descriptive and easy to comprehend.  Hockly (2009) proves a useful resource for setting up your first blog, gleaning information for basic educational uses and setups, or providing a quick handout to students.  In fact, this article is a useful springboard for any curious teacher hoping to learn how to successfully implement blogging into their individual content area.  Even the computer savvy may find relevance and inspiration after skimming Hockly’s (2009) work and perusing the active teacher and student blogs that are available via the referenced website.  Likewise, these detailed blog examples may work to inspire thought and confidence in the novice blogger as well.  Additionally, an important means of communication opens up between teachers wishing to improve their blogging skills and those already comfortable with its application.  In other words, examining existing blogs gives beginning bloggers an opportunity to comment on appropriate models and ask questions about certain features that appeal to them.

Consequently, I would recommend Hockly’s article to any teacher who considers themselves uninformed on the subject of blogging.  If you struggle with computers, or find yourself confused with blogging concepts or setup, this article likely contains information you will find useful.  However, if you are fairly confident in your blogging abilities you may find that this article merely touches on information you already know.  Either way, it is a quick and easy reference that explains the details of blogging and encourages its use in teacher instruction. Inevitably, society will continue to introduce new forms of technology that intertwine with education in a variety of different forms.  As a result, it is the teacher’s responsibility to work toward a general understanding of these diverse forms of technology and determine how they each relate to the overall growth of academic literacy amongst students.  



Hockly, N. (2009, July). Five things you always wanted to know aobut blogs (but were afraid to ask). English Teaching Professional, 63, 60. Retrieved January 10, 2010, from Academic OneFile (Gale) database.

Ten Blog Assignments

Modified from the article "That's blog worthy: ten ways to integrate blogging into the health education classroom" by Sloane Burke and Jody Oomen-Early published in American Journal of Health Education.
1. List resources (this is consistent the fast paced scan information attitude of today's students and society).

2. Initiate an advocacy blog (promoting social change).

3. Conduct community interviews and posted for class discussions.

4. Analyze commercial products or social attitudes.

5. Discuss current issues by listing issues and discussing.

6. Swap stories or information such as recipes.

7. Debate controversial topics.

8. Chronicle an event that represents change over a period of time.

9. Create a newsletter.

10. Create a campaign to improve a facet of personal or societal life.

Add to this list; allow it to be an inspiration and a basis for other ideas.

Really Blogging in Education! Really!!

It's hard to anticipate how many eyebrows literally and virtually go up when you tell them you are teaching a course on blogging in education. Changing the perception from one of "blogging is either a fun fad or a venue for activists to blow off steam" to "effective and functional tools for teaching and learning." So our task of redirecting attitudes is not a small one.

I'm reading assignments in the Computers in Education and finding no big surprises. Sometimes there are confirmations of past impressions, sometimes modifications or skepticism of other vague notions. Education is moving slowly even as it changes.

In this class we should have established our basis for blogging so now we should be at the stage os digging into new uses that encourage learning and critical thinking. This will lead us into adventures with the experiences of others.

Here is a link to an article reviewed by a student in the other class. I think it adds to our collection of resources for forming our own ideas and theories.

Version:1.0 StartHTML:0000000161 EndHTML:0000002977 StartFragment:0000002285 EndFragment:0000002941 SourceURL:file:///Users/denvygail/Downloads/review.doc

Burke, S., & Oomen-Early, J. (Nov-Dec 2008). That's blog worthy: ten ways to integrate blogging into the health education classroom. American Journal of Health Education, 39, 6. p.362(3). Retrieved January 16, 2010, from Academic OneFile via Gale:

Friday, January 15, 2010

Certifying our Blogability

Somewhere below me about 30 thousand feet is Kansas, or Oklahoma, or maybe Texas.  I'll be touching Mother Earth when I post this.  This little jaunt to my brother-in-law's wedding is quite different from the journey we are taking through the blogosphere.

The journey started safely by connecting with a provider (we're using by Google), and creating our own little world for self-publication.  Our mileposts, correlated with our writings or blog entries are something like this:
  • Introducing ourselves
  • Searching the web for information about providers, their features and setting up a blog
  • Exploring the Internet to discover what others think about the blogosphere and what it is doing to our social network
  • Digging through the dusty piles of professional journals to get a sense of what professionals think about how blogging is effecting education and how it may effect teaching and learning in the future, or right now
  • Connecting with each other through RSS or subscriptions or following
  • Reading each other's blogs to benefit from their findings, opinions and reflections
  • Adding widgets or gadgets as tools to enrich the blogging experience
  • Returning to the web, or other sources, to see how other teachers are using blogs
  • Tapping the great minds of writers, publishers and salespersons to design a plan for marketing our blog, or future blogs that are not merely the result of an instructor's demand
  • Synthesizing all this information (Having already analyzed it), nurturing it into knowledge and identifying the characteristics of your next ideal blog to be used with your peers or you students
Having done all that, you have reached a point in your journey where a blog can be a useful vehicle as opposed to an intimidating mystery.

While I am not getting off the ship or abandoning the journey, I want you to know how enlightening this experience has been for me.  I will be a better traveler next time and I know you will be also.

May the force be with you this last week or so.
Talk about another world. Far from the goats and horse in the foothills. It's the airport. PDX to be exact. This is by far not a first trip here; I fly frequently and usually find a corner to plug in my laptop. Now there are counters and rooms for computer usage, with outlets everywhere instead just dark corners. Among the rows of chairs in the waiting area are easy chairs with end tables with outlets and USB ports. That's the airport.

As I sit eating my homemade sandwich, I'm listening to a monologue of a fellow in front of me who has a wire hanging from his ear and another clipped to his shirt collar. I think it's some business conversation. Another fellow with a earphone in his left ear is reading his cell phone or blackberry. The couple has a laptop open as he keys into the iPhone. To my right another fellow is tuning his traditional iPod while emailing. Another asks his son to say Hi to mom as they head for the airplane. Another several are "just" on their laptops. No one in this area is not attached electronically except for Gail and me who are eating our lunch. Of course, now I too am online.

This is the world into which our youth are moving and it is this world for which we need to prepare them. A scary part is that we don't have any idea what this new world for our children will be. For that reason, we need to generalize in our teaching of electronic technology.

It's to to return one of my favorite pastimes: watching people.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Teaching Using Blogs #3

Hurrah, this makes me feel like I'm not the only one struggling with making online classes and blogging effective. My goals are still so far ahead of me. Thanks to your patience and participation we'll all get there together.

PS. I'm feeling a little alone out here as I keep watching other CSE694 blogs for more wild ideas. Help!

Teaching Using Blogs #2

I think I'm missing something. Maybe because I'm never taught elementary school. Maybe it's like when we were in China and asked to be on a panel of judges, who were mostly Chinese, in a cooking contest. What we typically considered anything but "winning" won. Who knows.

Mr. C.'s Class Blog used many features and for youngsters, quite intriguing but, help me, what am I missing that makes this a nominee for "Best Blog?"

It certainly opens the door for doing whatever you want.

Teaching Using Blogs

This has become more challenging than I expected. Millions of blogs, thousands using blogging in teaching and I'm not finding many specifics. Maybe my heads in the wrong sandpile.

But here's a link that seem a bit interesting. Some additional thoughts about how the use of blogs on the web and print on the pages are different. This will affect how we use them in teaching.

I may need to rethink my title and long-winded stories.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Enjoying What You Do

That's my New Year's resolution this year.  I don't often do New Year's resolutions because they're often broken and why wait until January first to improve one's life.  Indeed, I hope that this year's resolution is merely a reinforcement of a lifelong attitude.

Enjoy what I'm doing rather than only doing what I enjoy.

Definitely I enjoy teaching, or more realistically, facilitating teaching and being there to observe learning.  I've come to realize that I can't split wood as easily as 30 years ago, or run as quickly and as long, or live on just brief hours of sleep, but I can share the experiences of a rich and full life.

Blogging should be enjoyable.  Writing about what one observes and feels through life.  Reading a blog should also be enjoyable: pictures coming to the mind either through words or images, or both.

Some argue that blogging in education should include analysis and synthesis of in-depth conversation over an extended time creating new knowledge.  This certainly doesn't imply a direct link to enjoyment, nor does it imply exclusivity.  One of our goals in blogging in education, is to blend enjoyment with the acquisition of knowledge or the facilitation of learning.

I so remember a couple of families in Alaska, who at a crossroads in their lives, sat down and discussed their future and how to find a way to generate enough income to sustain themselves and enjoy themselves at the same time.  One developed an alternative "green" business of designing and setting up off-the-grid home electrical systems.  The other engineered earth friendly sewage and water systems.

We too can engage in conversations developing blogs that people simply enjoying writing, reading, and that facilitate learning and new knowledge at the same time.  Although we might to think we are the first to think of this grand idea, there research among professionals that can guide us.  That, as in any good thesis, is our next step; investigate the literature and make that a part of our blogging.

Here are several articles that simply come up by searching Hamersley under the keyword "blogging" in ERIC:
•Duke, S. Educating Public Relations Students to Enter the Blogosphere: Results of a Delphi Study.Journalism and Mass Communication Educator v. 63 no. 4 (Winter 2009) p. 317-32 
•Bird, E. This Blog's for YouSchool Library Journal v. 55 no. 11 (November 2009) p. 26-9
•Huang, S. L., et. al., Designing a semantic bliki system to support different types of knowledge and adaptive learningComputers & Education v. 53 no. 3 (November 2009) p. 701-12

Collectively we can read several articles and by blogging about them we can all benefit from each other.

"May the Force be with you."

Friday, January 8, 2010

The Printing Press of 2000

Every step further into the use of blogs opens a new door to their use and the effect of blogs on our lives.  Researching blogs online or in hard copy, whether in blogs, professional research or through news media, will certainly reveal what blogs are technically,  Just finding millions of blogs and hundreds of providers and dozens of features certainly tells us a lot about blogs. But what about it's big and long term effect on people.

For example, if you were to research what was the Gutenburg's printing press, the first reaction was a device for printing, but a more in-depth answer would include the transformation in the church (people could access the Bible and read it themselves and establish their own ideas about God), and it might include stories about the opposition to the press because it would ruin the skill of storytelling as people read more and didn't have to rely on oral stories.

So what have blogs done to our civilization?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Affects of Blogs

I did a little search in Google on "the effects of blogging in America." I will try " the world" later. I don't want to overwhelm us in the beginning so I'm citing only two websites, actually blogs, at this time. There were some 27 million hits.

They are
Blog for America and Civic Involvement by Matthew Kerbel at, and
The blog swarm Chris Matthews never saw coming by Eric Boehlert

"Liberal blogosphere" and "liberal bloggers do not have access to the same levers of power their conservative counterparts do;" in the same article? (Boehlert, cited above) Does the blog lean politically one way or the other? Do the big moneys in computers like Google and Microsoft and Apple influence politics, or society, one way or the other?

I will dig into this a bit deep later but here's a start for "how are blogs effecting society?" You, too, can search the web and comment. Together we can create some new knowledge for our class and our university. And for ourselves. I'm eager to see what you find relevant and something to share.

(I'm back from my errand.)

With a chance to clear my head (a little - in a sense) I've started to wonder beyond journaling and publishing with reviews, like the affect of blogging on the church or religion in general. Do we know more, understand more, ask more questions, get more confused, rely more on our selves than a god, discuss more openly? Will religion grow or decline or not be affected by blogs? How does religion influence society through blogs, and if you don't think religion affects society, take a trip to the Deep South of America?

I suspect we can make some connections between more blogs needing more websites meaning businesses like Google can grow bigger and hire more people giving them opportunities for employment? Is there a connection there?

Or we could consider how more people who want to be writers or have strong options can get their material out there, published if you will. Do blogs influence the way society thinks or acts? Apparently Kerbel (cited above) thinks that elections are affected by blogging.

Features and Focus

You may have noticed some changes on my blog, in the left column. I added a gadget so I could add links and I adding each of your blogs as a link. So it's becoming more link one-stop shopping. Of course, while all these gadgets are intriguing, and useful in their proper place, a blogger should never let the gadgets dominate the energy.

I hold before us again, that blogging can offer us an opportunity for deep discussions, and for advancing knowledge of an extended period of time. (Spelling is certainly an issue in blogging that not required in talking.) Actually in this case, that is one reason for adding the linking, that I can focus on the discussion and not wonder randomly around the web looking for you. You may consider this gadget too as you become more cofortable in this new world.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

What is Blogging

Everybody knows that blogging is keeping a journal online so that everyone can read it. Wrong! Why wrong? It's so much more. Certainly we can journal about our day, post assignments, link to other sites. That's all rather static, somewhat of a one way communication.

Better blogging will include now only the links to other sites and other blogs, but it will start to include comments about the sites and blogs, an analysis in a sense. An analysis of the content of the blog and the links can grow to reflective writing which may be the comments.

Blogging potential is maximized when analysis includes synthesis with deep understanding and produces a long term conversation. Now we getting close to the strength of blogging: discussions over time that add to the knowledge base of ourselves and others.

Of course, when we start using other blogs as our references and resources, our credibility will depend on the credibility of the other blogs. Knowing the author and the author's credentials is the best: profession, peer references, public recognition, institutional connections to list a few. Does the writing itself seem credible, or is the logic flawed and stretched beyond the limits of reasonability. That does not make moderates more truthful.

As you develop your blog, or your second or third blog, learning and improving with each step, never forget to advance the art of using blogs to affect others, to engage in meaningful discussion, to advance knowledge, and to affect learning.

The Second Blog Entry

OK, we've been brave and maybe a bit gutsy. Or maybe we just casually walked through the first steps of setting up a blog in This naturally led us right into writing a couple timid words in our first entry. You also discovered that your blog can be seen on the Internet at a location with an URL address something like "" Email your friends and tell them to check it out.

But now that we're taken a deep breath and are ready for the second blog entry or a modification to the earlier one, there are no directions or instructions. So if you have a "" blog, there are a couple possible ways: one - go to, login and click on New Post; two - go to your blog and click on New Post in the upper right corner.

Now we're getting very excited. How do we let others know that you just made an entry? I suggest that you have a couple options. You can suggest that your friends click on Post (Atom), typically at least one location is at the bottom of all entries on your blog, and then click on Subscribe in Mail in the right column. I'll discuss this more advanced feature as we get more experience in blogging. That's how I follow other blogs, particularly blogs of my students.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Master Blogger

While reading and pondering, I wonder, since anyone can and millions have written a blog, what is there to consider to improve blogging, both as a writer and as an effective influence in an audience. What sets a common blogger apart from the extraordinary blogger? What makes a Master Blogger? What is a Master Blogger?

Essentially everyone can bounce a basketball but there's only one Michael Jordan. We all have something we can teach or a story to tell, but it is a treat to learn from the master teacher or listen to the master storyteller. These masters have taken the basic skills and refined them into an art, telling not of the story, but telling it with inflection, with timing, with animation, with colorful forms of speech that draws the listener in; or handled the ball as if it were a part of the body and handled the body as if it were magic.

This is the goal of a Master Blogger. To take the basic skills of using the blog, to take the understanding of human behavior, especially as related to learning and teaching, to take the societal and cultural patterns of the day; these are parts of the Master Blogger's resume.

While I am not that blogger, I can applaud one who is. I can encourage one who may be. This then is our goal: to discover the basic technology, to incorporate the use of the English language effectively, to write to affect change and hence learning, and to promote that the audience is appropriate.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Who Cares

Whoopee! I have a blog. Who cares? And if no one cares, or reads it, why am I doing this?

I think someone will care. I think that this may be a great venue for bringing together people and their ideas. I think it's a great way to have a forum for questions about how to use technology, like how to set up a blog, or link a RSS, or configure the clickers in a classroom, and how to use a blog for teaching, or to use a SmartBoard effectively, or to use iPods for learning.

I'm going to start close to home, or at least on this blog page, with the items on the left of the page, or the right of the page, depending on your blog template. (After having said that I guess I had better not change my template.)

Followers: there seem to be both the possibilites of me following someone else or someone else following me. At this point no one is following me, but I will deal with that soon by writing to my students and peers in education, and suggest that they follow this. Once I have followers, or an audience, I will be more comfortable knowing to whom I am writing.

Nor have I chosen anyone to follow. Now that's an issue. I could follow my students because I ask them to blog regularly and this way I can find all their blogs from one location, without having to retype their blog address every time. I could follow my family friends which I definitely want to do but maybe they're not into academics and technology. I could follow peers, especially if a network around technology in education evolves. But I really want to follow blogs that lead me, blogs from around the world of people who are forerunners in this field.

I suspect the technological steps to follow others may offer some challenges that will take time to resolve, but I think distilling the many blogs on the Internet down to those that will serve me best is where I need to spend most of the time and critical thinking energy.

Here I go. Join me.

Grounding Digital Inklings

Here we go! Until blogging has been a distant friend about whom I knew very little. Our informal contacts were casual and somewhat shallow. But now it's time to get to know this friend better and develop a mutually beneficial support system.

I considered naming this Digital Ink, something I'd heard or seen somewhere in the past, but if I'd heard or seen it in the past, someone else had coined the phrase and I didn't want to claim it as mine. While inklings has nothing to do with ink, it did foster the idea, and inklings, as vague notions, may be perfect for this setting. While digital ink may be writing with computers, Digital Inklings will be open to all thoughts connected to compters and electronic gadgetry.

Despite the man-made or artificial implications of computers, they certainly do not conger up thoughts of trees and flowers, or living off the land, many entries may start with an observation of the day weather. First of all, we are all immersed in our environment which affects our activities, our moods and who we want to see at that time. This morning the skies were clear with a slight breeze at sunrise, this the first day of 2010. About mid morning clouds moving and within minutes, the rain gutters were over flowing. Cleaning them was on my list of things to do today. Now, several hours later, the sun is glaring off my laptop screen. I guess the gutter cleaning is back on the list.

Mark Twain, I think it was, who said something to the affect that if I find myself marching in step with everyone else, it's time to reconsider what I'm doing. Hence I typically don't use templates and perhaps that's why I never jumped onto the blogging bandwagon. But now it's time to study and understand this blogging and social networking phenomena that is changing the society of the world in just a profound way.

I grew up with computers, oh, not from birth or childhood, they only existed in think tanks and behind military gates, but as they evolved in public, I was there. I punched cards in the 60's, established remote connections in the 70's, bought my first personal computers before Bill Gates started his adventures, but I don't own or use a cell phone. They intrigue me but so does the texture and smell of fresh sawn wood.

Now we're started with the basic blog. Now we will test the waters of technology, the use of technology by society and we will try to keep a critical eye on how this affects education, both learning and teaching, and how education can use this technology to affect learning and teaching.

My new year's resolution: to enjoy what I doing rather than do only what I enjoy.