Wednesday, January 03, 2007


This course will utilize two sets of blogs: class and student.

The first is the one you are reading right now. This is what I have termed the CALL Class Blog in most of the course documentation. This blog will focus mainly on describing the technologies that we are going to use in this course. There will also be postings on concepts in the class and, most importantly, links to other resources (mostly other blogs) that are discussing important topics in the field.

Student blogs will be ones that you all maintain as part of the general participation requirement for the course. At minimum, you will be required to post critiques of Web/Software resources and readings (see schedule in Moodle). I would also hope that you'll go beyond these requirements and use this space to reflect on your learning in this course and to collect, reflect, and begin a discourse on the use of technology for your context and beyond.

After all this talk about blogs you may still be asking, "What the heck is Dan talking about"? Good question. I shouldn't get too far ahead of myself in this regard.

Even if you do not watch TV, listen to the radio, or read newspapers, you have likely heard of Blogs. You may be asking yourself what this mysterious entity is that got
Trent Lott to retire, Dan Rather's mistakes exposed, and even announced the birth of your nephew?

History of Blogs
Weblogs have been around for years. According to Wikipedia the first use of the term Weblog was made in 1997 on
The Robot Wisdom Pages. This site is a collection of commentaries on personal and professional issues most of which relate to news articles or other postings on the Web. The Weblog is credited with shortening the term to Blog in 2002.
Blogs have since taken on different meanings to different people. For some a Blog is a set of Internet technologies that manage the history and "business" of Blogging. Most Blogs include features for posting messages, commenting on posted messages, and archiving messages and comments. Others would contend that Blogging is a socio-technical movement that shifts the power of large media organizations to individual citizens. Both are right.

What Do Blogs Mean to Educators?
Blogs can serve many roles in education, limited only by your imagination. Blogs can act as a virtual collaborative space for teacher and students to interact with each other and the greater world. Blogs can be used to store and develop e-Portfolios, encourage peer feedback on writing assignments, or simply hold ongoing discussions with the class members or even the world. Much of this has been possible for many years, yet the focus on Blogging and Blogging technologies has given educators the ability for inexpensive (or free) and relatively easy ways to accomplish these tasks.

Extensions of Text-Based Blogging
While blogging is largely text-based, there are many extensions of this concept with other media (or combinations of media). Podcasting (audio-based blogging) is the most popular of these "other media" blogging options. Named for the ubiquitous iPod mp3 player, Podcasts are very popular and have even been integrated into iTunes (the Apple audio software that does many things including the management of files on the iPod).

Other trends include video blogging, mobile blogging (really just indicates that the blog is updated/customized for viewing on mobile devices like cell phones), picture blogging (many people use
Flicker for this--I don't use this as a blog, but here is my site, tablet blogging (using Tablet PC's), Flash blogging, and so forth.

Further Readings

Educator Blogging Sites

Free Blogging Services

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