Introduction


This workshop is entitled Blogs and Wikis. I'm going to talk more about blogs - but my notes can be found online in my wiki (if you are reading this you've found my wiki!) Blogs are used more for one person sharing (although some classes have blogs) and a wiki is more for collaborative work where a number of people are sharing through the one website or browser based wiki.

Both Blogs and Wikis are browser based tools - you don't have to download software onto your computer to use them. This has a definite advantage for people who work in different places - home, school, etc or who travel, or who are collaborating from different parts of a city, country or even the world.

You also don't need to have the most up-to-date computer in order to access these. I tried out our school wiki from my old Windows 98 machine - works just fine.


Blogs


In the past, people wanting to share something of themselves to a wider audience via the internet used code - html code - to create web pages. Originally, all web pages were hand coded - that means that the web page author wrote the code which is hidden behind what you actually see on a webpage.

htmlcode.jpg

  • People were able to host their webpages in a variety of places such as Angelfire, Geocities, Yahoo, and often their own ISP's such as Ihug and Paradise provided space for hosting. Yahoo is still a popular place to host but sites such as Terapad and Wordpress are becoming more popular because of the amount of control the user has over their website.

Then came visual editors - more usually called WYSIWYG (pronounced wizzywig) such as MS Frontpage and Dreamweaver. These work like MS Word where you can manipulate text and images to create your webpage. Still, this was time consuming and mostly only dedicated people created their own web pages.

In more recent years, some very clever people have come up with ways for ordinary people to have a presence on the internet. While not doing away with personal web sites, these blog sites have enabled people to put content on the web without knowing a single thing about web page design. The blog sites have built in designs that the user can choose. The user can also make simple choices regarding layout and colour. The actual entering of information has also been simplified - if you can use a MS Word document you can use a blog.

  • The term blog is a shortened version of weblog or web log

  • The most basic of blogs are simply journals that people write it - sometimes for public consumption, sometimes for a small group of friends, and sometimes just for themselves.

  • People journal all sorts of things - daily lives, things happening in their communities or in their country, political commentaries, etc

  • Most blogs are a combination of text, pictures and links to other places

A number of blog sites exist and it can sometimes be a little difficult deciding on which one to choose. The two I'm most familiar with are Blogger and Live Journal. I also use another site - edublogs - for my educational blog and http://learnerblogs.org/ which is hosted by the same people who host the edublogs and is aimed for students/classes/schools.

According to http://www.blogpulse.com as at 7:05pm, July 1st 2007

  • Total identified blogs: 51,289,427
  • New blogs in last 24 hours: 99,369
  • Blog posts indexed in last 24 hours: 821,054

Compare with results from May '06

  • Total identified blogs: 28,124,606
  • New blogs in last 24 hours: 50,131
  • Blog posts indexed in last 24 hours: 807,794


Why Blog


http://eduspaces.net/dwarlick/weblog/128618.html

http://bardwired.wikispaces.com/blog+on

http://gwegner.edublogs.org/files/2007/03/network2.jpg

http://rbvandijk.edublogs.org/


I guess it's just another way of journalling - only for a wider audience than just you. It's also an easy way to share information about something you're passionate about.

Social Networking


Many people in the blogosphere have never met, but know a lot about people in their blogging circles. There's a camaraderie that exists with people actually sending birthday presents to each other and in some cases meeting each other after a period of time blogging.


Fan connections


Blogs are often categorised so it's an easy way to find people with similar interests. For example if you are a fan of a particular TV show - say "Buffy" then you can join a community of people who also are fans. You can often find blogs written by the producers and writers of these shows. ;

Marketing


Blogs are also being used by people for marketing purposes - many bands are using MySpace to promote themselves; also publishers; authors; businesses and others.

Political


It's about using blog as political tools.
During the last elections in France, blogging was used as political/marketing tool.
One of the major candidates (Segolene Royal - Parti Socialiste) opened a site with blog where everybody was able to make suggestions to insert in her plan of action. She calls it "la democratie participative" (the participation of the citizen in the political field)
Two days before the vote, all political activities must stop. It's the law. So some french hosts blocked acces to candidate's blogg during this period.
Before the closure of the vote, it's forbidden to publish polls. Bloggers said they would to it anyway. They were told they faced a 75 000 euro fine. None did it ... That was a big subject in the french but also belgian and swiss "bloggosphere".

Educational


Educational blogs can share information that is useful to educators all around the world - and that is exactly how they are used. Check out some of these blogs ...










It's important to click the links - that's the *BIG* secret of how to find stuff - both professionally and personally interesting - click on the links - I browse others teachers' blogs and find myself in totally fascinating territories.


Where to from here?


I'd suggest that if you've never blogged before investigate blogger or livejournal and use them for a while before moving onto an edublogs site. I try to make a habit of posting about stuff that has caught my interest rather than just trying to remember it for the future.

How to ...





Contact


Feel free to email me - dragonsinger57@gmail.com with any questions, ideas that I can put up here, or even links to your professional and class blogs.

You can also find some online workshops about blogging at Atomic Learning

Important things to remember


These are some rules a friend sent me ...

1) it's permanent, so think about it before clicking "submit."
2) if you can't say something nice...say something funny instead.
3) don't reveal too much about yourself--important if all you're doing is journaling.
4) know how to discern what a legitimate source of information is and what isn't.
5) do your homework--research your topics (COVER YER BUTT!)

As professionals we shouldn't be even entering into the 'nasty' area - but with private blogs sometimes it just happens - for that reason make sure you get a blog that allows different levels of viewing security!

And this from another friend ...

The thing that I would say about blogs, is the first rule of netiquette and web design...

Remember the human ...

I would point out that everything that is posted to a blog is available for everyone on the net to read, so be careful out there, do not post something that you do not want your Grandmother to read.

Also ...

The most important thing that I would comment on to teachers about the social networking aspect of blogs, etc, is to emphasise to children that you do not know if that person on the other end of the connection is who/what they say they are. Once again, be careful out there!

As to wikis, due to their very nature, they may be untrustworthy. Someone with their "own agenda" may have altered them. So I would point out that you cannot take anything on the net as "gospel" truth, without checking, cross-checking and re-checking the facts.

And a quote or two from this morning


"You are less likely to use something at a professional level unless you use it at a personal level."

"The best way to predict the future is to invent it."

And finally - for now anyway


  • I found this yesterday - it's another way of looking at the blogosphere

online_communities_sm.png