Monday, July 13, 2009

Blogs and readers, delicious!

It has taken me a while to get around to writing this initial blog post as, I admit, I have been busy doing other things. This past week I have sent my first email via my mobile phone - I didn't previously know I could! I have also reached the momentous height of exceeding my internet usage limit for the first time in the eleven years I have had internet. It is hard to believe that while having had the internet for so many years I have managed to learn so little about what is freely available using web technology.

I had been going through the course work feeling overwhelmed, wondering how I was to learn what was required. However I felt I was making good headway in an interesting and challenging subject. Then, on Wednesday, I had my first tutorial on the subject with Wendy and she blew my mind open to some of the possibilities available using web technology.

Firstly there is the blog, an online diary. How great is this!?! I had heard of blogs before but only in the context of private people posting 'private' blogs, I had no concept of the scope of use they had. I could get my students, much as we are, to reflect on their school work to deepen their understanding using a blog. These students could then post constructive comments on other students blogs to further embed their knowledge on the subject at hand and employ critical and higher order thinking in the process (Central Queensland University, 2009).
I am imagining a class where students learn from each other through their blogs, as Wendy touched on in her discourse on the subject during the tutorial. The students who are struggling can enter the thought processes of students who may already have a deeper understanding of the subject (Marzano & Pickering, 1997). This may help all students to improve their class work as they utilize thought processes learnt from their class mates.

Monitoring of all these blogs would be pivotal to ensuring protocols (Central Queensland University, 2009) are adhered to and that students are engaging with the task. This monitoring would be accomplished easily using a reader such as Google reader. As Wendy mentioned in the tutorial, Google reader would highlight any blogs that have had a posting made to them so that I would not need to waste time checking students blogs that have no new posting made.

One of the other things that has kept me busy this week is the 'delicious' bookmark application that Wendy introduced me to last week. During the tutorial I added some of my cohorts blog sites to both reader and delicious, and with the use of tags in delicious I saw the opportunity to collate information that I have found on the web, during various courses, in an online filing system.
My computer at home has had many pages bookmarked since I discovered this feature about six months ago. I know what you're thinking, late bloomer, but that is just as well as I can already get lost in my bookmarks when searching for a particular web page. Delicious is allowing me to clear my computer of its numerous bookmarks and to file them with various tags to facilitate their retrieval according to subject or topic area. This feature is also saving paper as I no longer feel the need to print everything incase I cannot find the web page again.
Delicious also allows me to see which web pages people from all over the world with similar interests are bookmarking. This becomes an instant network of information at my fingers tips potentially saving me many hours of sifting through multiple web pages and sites looking for information relevant to my needs. This will also be indispensable to my students in helping them to find information for their studies (Siemens, 2004), as they too will have an instant network of global information regardless of where the student is.

Ooh, I just had a vision of a student at home, with the chicken pox, involved in online study for an assignment and, continuing to join in their group work while absent from school......(Kearsley & Schniderman, 1999).
Does this make me a closet slave driver or was I seeing a student who is fully engaged with the study topic?


  1. Hi Kylie,
    You brought up some really interesting points and ideas of how the tools could be incoporated to enhance student learning. I was able to expand my peprception of how the tools could be used to enhance learning in a classroom situation.

  2. Hi Kylie,
    Teacher-researchers are consistently reporting figures that indicate that students engage in learning at any time of the day, including weekends when the design is of importance to them, authentic and engaging. So no, your expectations are not elevated!

  3. Hi Laura I am glad and you're welcome.
    Hi Wendy I am pleased to read that!