Sunday, January 27, 2008

Thing 3: RSS Feeds

Yay! I have found a 2.0 application that I already use. I have been using Bloglines for a couple of years. Right now, after adding some of the 23 Things on a Stick blogs, I am currently looking at 55 feeds.

It's easy to set up categories and keep up to date with new postings. I tend to visit bloglines at least once a day. My categoies are both personal and work related. I'm a reader. I read fiction, professional journals, magazines, newspapers, cereal boxes, billboards, etc. I don't know how I discovered Bloglines but I bet I read about it somewhere.

I have been taking part in newsgroups for at least the last 13 years with LM_Net being the first. I still subscribe to some newsgroups that I get in my daily email. I suppose they led me to my first blogs (or perhaps it was a blurb at the end of a favorite author's book). I'm sure that the first blogs I discovered were blogs from my favorite authors or about my favorite genres. I used to just bookmark the blogs in my web browser. But then I had to visit each blog to see if they had added anything new.

It was only later that I added professional blogs to my agenda. I believe that I started with Doug Johnson's Blue Skunk blog. Looking at who he read led me to other blogs of interest. And their blogs led to still others and on and on. I started a new category for the Kidlitosphere and began reading blogs by people who were writing and writing about children's and adolescent literature.

For me, the most important aspect of blogs is the information. Second is the conversation. It is a chance to communicate with others who share my interests. I'm sure this would be adaptable to education. I even believe that some of the high school teachers I work with are already using blogs to communicate with their students and the parents of their students. I'm thinking that we could certainly try to set up blogs for our students to talk with each other about what they are reading. We could also do something like an Ask the Librarian. However, they can already ask the librarian face to face and in real time (at least when I am in the building).

Again the issue is control, the teachers I've talked with are concerned with having the ability to monitor comments and to approve them before they are posted. While this may limit conversation to some extent they feel and I agree that we have some responsibility as a public school to watch what we say and what our students say.

This is something to think about.

Now I'm on to Thing 4 but not today. Monday I spend the day learning to deescalate situations with volatile students and Tuesday the second semester starts with me seeing 13 different classes of students. I need to plan activities for two new grade levels -- Kindergarten and 5th grade -- and revamp activities for my first and second graders based on what worked the first semester. Oh, by the way, the district is rolling out a new web page on Monday with a new provider (rSchool) and I have to update my pages or create them as our old webpage allowed only 2 pages that had any flexibility.

That should fill up the rest of my Sunday. =)

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