Blogs

"Two new Internet technologies, Weblogs and RSS (Real Simple Syndication), are redefining the way students and teachers use the Internet, turning them from mere readers into writers to the Web as well, and making it easier to filter and track the ever-growing number of resources coming online each day. In fast-growing numbers, educators across the country and throughout the world are finding just how powerful this new interactive Internet can be." - Richardson W, "Blogging and RSS — The "What's It?" and "How To" of Powerful New Web Tools for Educators", (2006)



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A weblog, or blog for short, is a type of website where entries are made (such as in a journal), displayed in a reverse chronological order.(Wikipedia). Typically they are personal and informal in style either providing commentary or news/information on a particular subject, acting as a discussion community, or functioning more as personal online diaries. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, web pages, and other media related to its topic. While most blogs are primarily text based some focus on photos particularly those uploaded from mobile devices (moblogs), audio (podcasts) or video (vblogs)

weblog + RSS = Blog

16px-Feed-icon.svg.png XML.gif RSS.gif

Weblogs as they emerged in the late 1990’s were little more than web forums which where updated by their authors and commented upon by their subscribers. The defining moment for the emergence of the blog is RSS. Depending on who you talk to RSS strands for Really Simple Syndication, Rich Site Summary or RDF Site summary. RSS is a syndication and distribution model which allows users to subscribe to their favorite blogs using what is referred to as an aggregator or feed reader. Aggregators funnel the content for a large number of web services such as blogs into one central location. This frees the user from having to visit every website to check for new posts and/or read the content; rather the content is send to their feed reader for their review.

Since 2003, RSS has expanded far beyond blogs and now forms the connecting fabric of a wide array of web2.0 services, providing the conduit for information flows between distributed networks. Content syndication or the re-use of information from others on the network, often characterised as mash-ups, is what sets web2.0 services apart from the preceding phase of the web, comprising static pages linked by url’s.

In this sense RSS is intrinsically collaborative as it allows information to be endlessly re purposed anywhere on the network. As educators within learning networks we need to learn how to utilise the power of rss to connect and collaborate with our learners.

For example, the content below is originates from the social bookmarking service del.icio.us. It comprises an rss feed derived from the tag RSS such that everytime a del.icio.us user tags a site with rss it will appear in this window of the most recent 5 taged sites.

The latest 5 resources tagged in del.icio.us with "rss"


    A news reader is a tool for aggregating RSS feeds from multiple sources and displaying them in one place.

    Types of News Readers/Aggregators

    Sean Fitzgerald, "Social Software Tools and their Application in VET Teaching & Learning", 2006



    Links and Resources
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    * RSS: A Quick Start Guide for Educators (pdf) from Will Richardson


    Sample educational blogs:

    The latest 5 resources tagged in del.icio.us with "blogging"




      Blogger activity
      1. Go to http://www.blogger.com and set up an account. Add some detail to your PROFILE.
      NOTE - Any blog address of the type http:// {name] .blogspot.com indicates a Blogger blog and requires registration for commenting as well as for blog ownership.

      2. Go to http://www.nswlearnscope.com/?p=136 and leave your thoughts as a comment on Robyn’s post (note – this is a Wordpress blog that does not require any form of registration)

      3. Visit some of the blogs listed on the wiki page above

      How is the blog used?
      How many people post to it?
      What features (widgets) have been added to the template to increase functionality and connectivity?
      How many comments do you see on posts?
      Why do you think this might be?

      4. If interested, return to http://www.blogger.com and set up your own blog.
      Choose a template that you like
      Do your first post – try out the formatting features and find how to upload an image.
      Note that Blogger blogs have two points of entry:
      a) http://www.blogger.com where you go to post, edit and change your profile
      b) Your blog address which is the public face of your blog – this is the address you give to friends
      If you do a post and view your blog but want to make changes you must return to http://www.blogger.com , click on your blog, the EDIT POSTS tab, and the EDIT button next to the post to make the changes. REPUBLISH your post and refresh your blog page after viewing.



      Uses in education
      • capturing student critical reflections and processes over time allowing comment from teacher and peers