blogging mashup

This post is a bit of a mashup of the different discussion questions this week. Just a note about my comments, I don’t currently use blogs as a teaching tool (I’m not a teacher), but I can appreciate their value in the classroom.

I see a couple the pedagogical values of blogging as the opportunities it offers for sharing and reflection, but also the opportunity to integrate many modes of expression, such as video, graphics and text, and the ability to creatively draw together and build on other online resources. My thoughts on blogging as a consumer are similar in some ways. Following blogs helps me stay up-to-date with new developments, connect with people who are tacking the same technical or pedagogical challenges that I face, and often they offer some of the best creative solutions and ideas for these kinds of challenges. (I use a program called Adobe Captivate, and often people in the blogosphere have the best solutions for the challenges I encounter, usually much better than Adobe’s documentation.)

The blogs I find most interesting are the ones that are loosely centred on a theme but bring in resources from other places that I normally wouldn’t find – they’re idea aggregators, collecting interesting posts and stories so I don’t have to. (Stephen Downes does this, although his site isn’t *technically* a blog.)  Sort of as an aside, I think that there are many ways people can support their own ventures or ideas through blogging. Bloggers can become the go-to resource for niche topics, and in this way can then further spread their own ideas, or create discussion around important themes and trends. People can use blogs to build their personal reputation and connections, to win people over to a certain educational approach or tool.

I still notice that blogs are often not very interactive. Usually there is commenting, but there are other tools and widgets that can help people connect with the material and have a sense of being part of a larger ‘readership’. The tool that David shared, Gleanr, also seems like an amazing way for people to interact with other people’s content in their own space.

One of the discussion questions this week asked “Do you think there is room for another venture?” Perhaps one day blogging will experience the decline that newspapers have in recent years, but until that day it will be growing, changing, becoming more integrated with other sources and formats of information online, and people will find topics to promote, champion or distribute through it.

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