What are blogs?
Blogs (taken from “web-log”) have been with us now for several years and they have been used as a resource for learning in schools, higher education and teacher training. The variety of ways in which blogs can be used is not limited to these; you may have ideas about another use for blogs. As with much of the exploration we will be doing, don’t expect that everything has been tried before!
Keeping a log is like having some kind of diary; a log kept on the web is like this, but the potential for an audience world-wide is obviously much more relevant than for a notebook kept in your desk. Blogs are part of what is known as “web 2.0 technologies”, a label given to technologies where it is possible to repond rather than simply read and take in information. As a starting point, you should explore various blogs that are in use. However, as soon as you start to explore on the web you will find you need to have a way to keep your results – it is very easy to “lose” web pages. It is common for blogs to be used for this as well – to be a kind of notebook where you can store a list of useful links. To see how some of this works, have a preliminary look at the blog set up for this course:
This blog has been running for a couple of years, but you can go back to the “about blogs” page to see an explanation of the terms. You will also see on the column to one side that there is a list of links to other web pages.
There are a few different ways you can keep a note of blogs (and other web pages) as you find them. You could use your own blog and add the blogs you would like to read again to your “blogroll”. Perhaps the simplest way to keep a note of the URLs is by opening a Word document. When you are browsing on the web you can copy the entire URL (the web page address at the top of the screen, usually starting with http:) and then paste it into your Word document. You may find that using a site like “delicious” is a helpful way to keep track of URLs. This is an account that you can create (free) and you can access it on any computer by logging in. It is like having your “bookmarks” or “favourites” available on any computer. See the tutor’s delicious links for blogs on http://delicious.com/rubyr/blogs . I used to use delicious a lot, but in recent years there have been more ways to collect URLs and so I haven’t used it now for quite a while.
Another possibility (and one I’ve been using more than delicious recently) is ScoopIt. ScoopIt is like creating your own online magazine. You collect (or curate) webpages by “scooping” them. This makes it very quick to find a page again. You can create a magazine-like scoop page, and you can have as many as you like. My ScoopIt page related to the OLL course is “Mobile learning for students and teachers” and you can find it on http://www.scoop.it/t/mobile-learning-for-students-and-teachers. Scoopit can also be linked into your blog, so that when you “scoop” a new page a post will appear on your blog. Many of the posts on the OLL blog are created from this ScoopIt magazine.