Saturday, February 6, 2010

Thing 7

I have had experience with these kind of feeds before, and it's not my favorite way to get news. If you subscribe to any kind of news feed, you end of overwhelmed with stories, which are not displayed in any organized fashion. I've had this experience on twitter as well. The only use I can see for google reader or the blogger dashboard is to check up on individual blogs you wish to follow. They update less often, so having them brought to a single site where you can check for updates is convenient.

When it comes to reading news, I prefer to go the websites myself. Unlike google reader, or a similar service, the news sites are organized, and it is easier to scan the headlines, read the stories I consider important, and locate stories in my areas of interest.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Thing 6

I checked out several nings and I have to admit, nothing knocked my socks off. I find the interface unnecessarily cluttered. I appreciate that it is one more way for people to find a community of interest with whom to share information and ideas and collaborate on projects, but it is not, for me, the most appealing format for that activity.

Moreover, I sometimes think all these "new" sites and networks are just more of the same. If we keep moving to the next best website/network/interface to come along, we lose interest in our previous connections and communities, which sort of defeats the purpose. How many networks can we belong to without becoming overwhelmed? Can I keep up with my moodles, my wikis, my forums, my nings, my facebook, my blog, my podcast, my twitter and my LinkedIn groups? I get exhaused just thinking about it.

Thing 5

I had not heard of LinkedIn prior to this exercise, although I am familiar with similar sites. It was easy to find alumni groups and interest groups around my content area, but not professional groups for educators. I wonder if that is because educators in public schools, at least, tend to move less over the course of their career than other professionals. If they are going to stay with and retire from their current school district, they would have less interest in professional networking. Educators seem much more likely to connect in forums where they can share ideas about their content area, pedagogy and technology, rather than forums for seeking new professional opportunities.

Thing 4

I find that commenting on blogs bears some similarities to face to face conversations. I am a member of a couple online communities. Having a link to the people there, I find that I am much more likely to comment on what others have written. It is similar to the comfort level I have about joining in on a conversation with friends.

When I am on a random blog, or in a forum to which I have no commitment, I practically never leave comments. It is like being in a room full of strangers, with whom I have no relationship, and who I might never see again. I don't feel drawn into the conversation in those types of situations, and that is mirrored in my online activity.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Thing 3

I enjoyed reading the blogs posted. These blogs were primarily positive, unlike many blogs on the internet.

When I read the news online, for example, I occasionally open up the blogs that online media create to facilitate conversation about the news. Many of them are extremely one dimensional, inhabited by people who are of a similar opinion, and who therefore feel free to speak negatively of those who think differently. On other blogs, you will find intense controversy, name calling and flaming. You encounter people who are clearly "trolling," deliberately make inflamatory comments to stir up controversy. While public blogs and similar forms of media increase the amount of communication, they do not always, unfortunately, increase the quality of that communication.

The advantage of using blogs in the classroom, as well as other forms of technology, is that it provides a forum for discussing the ethical issues created by our use of technology, and to encourage the kind of civil discourse in online communication that we demand of our students in face to face communication.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Thing 2

I would like to learn more about the changes to the internet that are allowing it to become more interactive. I think that this new exchange of information and the speed with which it occurs raise philosophical questions about the nature of "truth" and "fact." As a society, we depend less on traditional authorities than in the past for determining what is "true" or what is "fact." We move in narrow, self-selected communities of opinion and information, often without any internal or external critique. As we allow more interactivity, we democratize information, but do we contribute to a rise or decline in the value of that information? Do we believe Encyclopedia Britannica or Wikipedia is a more accurate source of knowledge? When is the exchange of information among peers (including students) a valuable tool? How do we critique the information we find on the internet? Is there any such thing as an authoritative voice in our culture? Does "truth" consist in some external standard of verification or does it arise out of a democratic process?

Thing 1

The Cat in the Hat Goes High Tech

Did you hear the boo hoo,

from Thing 1 and Thing 2?

No, the Cat is not at the vet,

he's on the internet.

Gone are the playful joys,

playing tricks on girls and boys,

When he heard of Web 2.0,

The Cat knew he had to go.