Saturday, July 19, 2014

way to go lupita and erica!

Thanks to Lupita Pliego and Erica Paculan for being the first members of the 2014-2015 cohort to put up their blogs!

Over the last couple days Lupita and I exchanged emails in which we clarified the terms we use to describe what we're doing on the Internet.  Since most of this is new to most of us, it's worth noting here that the word blog developed from "web log" in the late 1990s, and generally refers to a site that includes a series of posts from one or more authors.  Blog topics range from personal diaries to hobbies to newspaper-y feeds of current events.  I use blogs as our starting point for a few reasons:

  1. Blogs are easy to create and use.  I have watched toddlers and grandparents create blogs in seconds.   
  2. Blogs are personal and customizable.  This ain't no three-ring binder.  Your blog says more about your thinking than a piece of paper ever could.  The colors, the design, the layout, the features you select, and the content you post provide your readers insight into your creativity, your personality, your critical thinking, and your ability to collaborate.  (NOTE: This also gives you the opportunity to create a competitive advantage-- while other applicants have to tell potential employers and scholarship/admissions committees what they've done, you can show your accomplishments.)
  3. Blogs can include a variety of media that effectively convey your ideas.  Sometimes a picture-- or a mindmap, or a video, or a .gif, or an animation, or a [?]-- is worth a thousand words.
  4. Blogs are a virtual base of operations that create value.  As you learn more about the Internet's culture and business models this year, you will come to realize how important it is for you to tell your own story.  Beyond the purpose/s of our study, you can create blogs for any purpose you like.  Maintaining a blog will teach you how to manage your own identity and share your interests & achievements in a way that creates value for yourself and others.  When someone searches your name you want them to find something more impressive than a pre-teen rant or party picture.
  5. Blogs demonstrate the ultimate in trust and accountability.  This may be the most important factor in our work together.  When I started Open Source Learning it was very unusual for a teacher to allow students to use the public Internet.  Although more and more teachers have warmed to the idea, there is still a heavy temptation to dictate what students can and cannot do, instead of giving students the freedom to be truly accountable for their own performance.  We will be talking a lot about this in the first couple weeks of class; in the meantime, have a look at WHY TRUST MATTERS IN CONNECTED LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS.

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