Reading blogs for Professional Development in progress

This course should take about 3 hours, it could be taken over 3 separate hours and will leads to longer term cpd.

Requirements & Prerequisites

  • Internet connected Computer
  • Basic Use of PC
  • Basic Use of Browser
  • Knowledge of basic internet navigation
  • An understanding of blogging see Introduction to blogging and RSS courses.

1.  Why?

Blogging has become a powerful tool for professional development for many teachers and educators worldwide. By reading blogs you can keep up with some of the latest ideas in education and join in discussions of these ideas. This course will take you through some of the ways you can make your blog reading more efficient and productive.

2.  Finding Blogs

The problem with blogs is not so much finding them as keeping the number you read at a manageable level. Educational bloggers write about a wide variety of things, Education theory, policy and practise are covered by bloggers from all kinds of educators. From the Director of Learning and Technology at LTS or Director of Education and Children’s Services for East Lothian Council to a myriad of teachers in Scotland and around the world there are plenty of angles to choose from.

2.1  Starting Out

The people involved in OpensourceCPD have blogs linked in their Profiles and may provide a starting point.

ScotEduBlogs is an online aggregator of many Scottish Educational blogs, visiting the front page will give you an idea of the range of subjects covered by Scottish bloggers. The Blogs page lists all the blogs and has facilities for filtering by Local Authority, tags and searching.

The International Edubloggers Directory lists many blogs, the home page and archives give details of the blogs listed on the Blogroll. You can use the Search page to list blogs tagged with a particular tag, for example special needs education or search all of the blogs listed.

The List of Bloggers! page on the supportblogging wiki list many educational blogs with short descriptions.

2.2  Following Links

Most blogs provide links to other blogs in their sidebar or on a links page. Bloggers often link to post that interest them in their blogs. bloggers leave comments on other blogs and these usually link to the comment writer’s blog.

2.3  Practical

1 hour

Look at one or two of the directories above, visit some blogs, note, or bookmark the urls of some you like. Read, follow comments and links. You might like to start with the search facilities linked above or to take a more serendipitous approach.

From this section you should end up with a list of blogs you would find interesting to follow. The next step would be to read these blogs at intervals for a number of weeks refining your list of blogs.

3.  Reading blogs effectively

After a while reading blogs in your browser you will find that you spend time loading blogs that have not changed since your last visit this is an inefficient use of time. You should put into practise some of the ideas from the RSS course.

Here is an Example Blog reader in Netvibes.

3.1  Practical

1 hour Using netvibes or another aggregator (see the RSS opportunity for ideas) create an aggregator for your set of educational blogs. You now will find it much easier to keep up with the blog.

4.  Commenting

One of the more powerful things about blogging is the fact that you can interact with the author and others in the comments of a blog post. This enables you to ask questions, add your experience and discuss the post. The difficulty comes in keeping track of your comments. Some blogs will let you check a box so that you will get an email when a comment is added, some let you subscribe to an RSS feed for the comments to the site. Both of these options could get out of hand if you comment a lot. Some people bookmark comments they make to revisit in search of a reply, either in their browser our using a bookmark service such as delicious to keep track of comments but this leads into the problem of wasting time visiting sites. This problem can be worked around using the coComment service. coComment is a service that will track your comments and store then along with other comments on the same post.

4.1  Practical

1 hour

Visit coComment, sign up for an account all you need is an email address. Then install either A firefox extension or a bookmarklet. The firefox extension is more powerful it will automatically activate coComment. The bookmarklet (A link you add to your browsers bookmark bar) needs to be clicked when you are on a blog page that you are going to comment on (or want to track the comments). You can tes the coComment service on their site and then start to collect your comments. coComment has other features that may or may not be useful too you if you have time it may be worth investigating them.

I have found coComment to be a little buggy, comments may be incorrectly reported on the coComments page, but it does let you know when you should revisit a post.

5.  Taking it further

Reading, following and commenting on blogs can fill a lot of teacher’s CPD needs, no matter the area you are interested in it is likely that someone is blogging about it. It is unsurprisingly very useful for those trying to develop ICT skills and practises.

6.  Related Opportunities