Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Thing 0 - The blog experience

What makes a good blog?

  • A good blog brings factual information to a wider audience.  For example, I have learned many good experiments from middle-school teachers who blog.  My classroom does not have secondary level laboratory equipment so I adapt the 'kitchen chemistry' method used in earlier education levels to teach more advanced concepts.  
  • Blogs stimulate discussions.  Since blogs have interactive commentary sections, a wider audience can participate in discussions of events and ideas.  A good blog combines freedom of ideas within the discussion while minimizing rude or off-topic commentators. 
How could a blog enhance your classroom?
  • During the 2012-2013 school year, we are beginning 12 week double class periods based around project-based learning (PBL).  In conjunction with the math teacher on staff, our students will be completing a STEM project based around designing a LEED certified high school.  The students will be building scale models, site plans and a comprehensive building prospectus.  While the students are working on these pieces, they could be using a blog to update the community and other stakeholders on the choices they are making on the high school design.  The blog commentary section will allow other people within and outside of the school community to share ideas and suggestions on each of the design.  This will eliminate distance and time constraints as restrictions on participation from outside professionals.
Are blogs an easier way for people to self-publish?
  • The usefulness of blog for self-publishing is conditional on the purpose of the material published. 
  •  People who can gain recognition without risking ideas can blog easily.  For example, people who want to detail family stories can easily publish materials in a blog that reaches their friends and family.   Professionals can share ideas for methods of completing jobs like teachers sharing projects or farmers sharing methods of raising calves.  In these situations, two teachers using similar projects don't jeopardize each other's job.  Increasing the number of healthy calves will not alone drive farms out of business. 
  • Professionals who work with proprietary information cannot easily share information through blogging.   A research scientist at a major biological supply company cannot explain how they fixed a problem that led to a profitable supply line.  These professionals will need to use modified publishing results available through specialty journals.


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