Monday, September 24, 2007

Accepting a Blog Invitation

To access a password protected blog, it is necessary to first receive an invitation from the blog administrator. You will receive an email message requesting you join the blog and a URL to click to accept the invitation. Begin by clicking in the link appearing in the text of the email. If that does not work, copy the URL and paste it into an Internet browser.

Once you reach the URL, you will be asked to login. If you already have a Google account, use your Google username and password to login and you will automatically be connected to the blog (though you may need to click on "View Blog" to see it). If you do not have a Google account, you will see a link inviting you to set-up an account. Follow that link and go through the process of getting your Google account. Once you have the account, you may be automatically connected to the blog (though you may have to click on "View Blog"). If you are not automatically connected, return to your email account and click on the URL in the original email message. Use your new Google account login and password to gain access to the blog.

View the video below for a visual description of the above explanation. Note that this and other training videos are available at TeacherTube (use tag "keeler").

Blog Purposes and Navigation

Navigating a blog (i.e., web log) is as simple as navigating the World Wide Web. Blogs offer networks of links, allowing movement from one webpage to another. A blog is a website in which all the entered data can appear in one long page, or be presented on separate pages. The blog administrator chooses the look, navigation methods, and privileges for the blog, and those visiting the blog are limited within the administrator's design.

A blogger (a person who blogs or a person who designs a blog) begins by choosing the purpose of the blog. Most blogs act as journals or discussion groups. As such, the blog design allows posting of main topics and sometimes commenting on those topics. The administrator may choose to allow anyone to post and comment to the blog, or may restrict posting and commenting. For example, in a personal journal, a blogger may choose to only post main ideas him/herself, but may allow others to comment on those posts (see Vegas Education Blog, Keeler Thoughts, or Keeler Research Blog). Or, a blogger may allow any authorized user to post or comment in a blog. Some bloggers allow anyone to post or comment as long as they are on an approved "author" (see Standards Revision History Blog) or "reader" (see Nevada Standards Revision Blog) list. To enable this level of restriction, the blog administrator invites blog "authors" or "readers" to join the blog. Invitations arrive as email messages to which the receiving individual must respond by accepting the invitation.

Other blogs are not meant to provide a stream-of-consciousness or linear progression of thoughts. Instead, they are created to appear as full non-linear websites for specific purposes. For example, ePortfolio Example provides a sample blog-based ePortfolio for pre-service teachers to emulate as they develop their own portfolios. Other examples include Prominent Men and Women of the Day, Native Americans of the Northwest, and Frog WebQuest.

Teachers are beginning to use blogging for many uses including book blogging (see Year of the Hangman and Guerrilla Season), class websites (see Room 313), student-generated lecture notes (see Mr. Langhorst's Class Scribe), and teacher-generated lecture notes accompanied by student collaborative work groups (see AP Calc AB).

Bloggers are even beginning to mix and match blogs, linking a variety of blogs together where different blogs have different purposes, audiences, and privileges. For example, the Nevada Standards Revision Blog links several blogs with varying levels of permission. The main blog, the Nevada Standards Revision Blog, allows users to only review the content. Linked to this blog is a second blog, General Discussion Blog, where all participants of the main blog can communicate through both posting and commenting options. The main blog also links to several other specialized blogs, like the Civics Subcommittee Blog and the Geography Subcommittee Blog, where a subset of the Nevada Standards Revision Blog participants may access and discuss topics of special interest. Only invited guests may access, post, and comment in these blogs and users may have different access depending on their special interest groups. In addition to links to pages within a single blog and links to other blogs, it is possible for blog administrators to add links to other web-based resources (e.g., Google Docs, Delicious, or wikis such as the Wikipedia) where further collaboration may occur. Web 2.0 is the generic term given to web-based resources that allow real-time collaboration between a multitude of users.

For an example of navigating password-protected blogs with varying posting and commenting permissions, view the video below.

For methods of developing blogs, view the videos linked below.
Feel free to contact Dr. Christy Keeler for additional information and discussion on use of blogs in educational settings.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Instructions for Posting

To respond to a post that already appears in a blog, move to the bottom of the entry that interests you and click on the word "Comments." There, you will be prompted to add and post your comment.

If you would like to begin discussion on a new topic, add a new post (as opposed to commenting on a previous post). To create a new post, click on "New Post" (found on the right-hand side of the blue strip along the top of the page), provide a title for your post, add your comments, and click on "Publish Post."

Note: If you do not see the "Post" and "Comments" options, that is because the blog administrator has blocked access to these options.