Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Getting Ready to Report Back

I know our time has gone by really fast! Next week we will be reporting back to the NIFL Professional Development and Technology lists on what we have learned about blogging. Please add your responses to the following questions as comments on this post.

  • What are some of your blogging successes?
  • What were your biggest challenges?
  • What would you recommend to your colleagues about using a blog for teaching or for professional development?
  • How do you plan to use your blog, or blogging in general, in your practice?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Blogs are Egocentric!

There is a lot of interaction happening on this blog, but when you come to the page it looks like just me posting my thoughts and suggestions. You don't see the interaction unless you read the comments on each post.

This is something to keep in mind when choosing the right tool for your teaching or other objective. Blogs are designed to be one person's or organization's view of the world. One way around it is to create a team to produce your blog. You can create a new account for your blog (a new Google account) and give the user name and password to your team - students, colleagues, etc. Then anyone on the team can post to the blog.

Alesha's blog for Proliteracy does this. Each author signs their post at the bottom. Would this work with students? Would it only work if people had distinct assignments and timelines?

If you visit Alesha's latest post, there are some comments in another language. Try copying one of the comments and let Google Translate detect the language and translate it.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Dealing with Foreign Language Content

Laura asked a question about receiving a comment on her blog in a foreign language. You can usually get some idea of what is being said by copying the content, even if it isn't in roman alphabet, and paste into Google Translate. Translate will even help you figure out what language it is if you aren't sure.

Sometimes it will be spam, so be careful not to click any links left in comments unless they are from a trusted source. I delete a few comments a week from my blog that say things like "Very interesting blog post. Please visit my education site at"

Anyone have experience with Google Translator or other free translation services, and want to make a recommnedation?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

How to post to your blog from your cell phone

OK, maybe you aren't quite to this point yet, but I just stumbled on this page that explains how to post from your mobile phone. It's quite convenient if you want to take a picture on your phone and send it to your blog.

If you have already created your blog, try this. You can always delete it later.

How could you use this possibility with students?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Naming Your Blog

When you create a blog you have to choose a title, a Web address, and you have the option to add a tag line or short description. You can see for this blog the actual name is "AALPD Discussion Group on Blogger," maybe a bit long, but I wanted it to be clear so that stray web surfers understand what it is. I also added a short description. The Web address I chose is aalpdgroup. I wanted it to be short, easy to type, easy to remember.

Usually, once you visit a site that you will be returning to, you bookmark it so that you never have to type the link again, but you'd be surprised how often you might still have to type it. What if you are on someone else's computer, or you upgrade your system and lose your bookmarks, or you're showing your class from your classroom computer and you don't have it bookmarked there. It happens, so you want the URL to be easy.

I named my personal blog "marianthacher." I regret that! It seems silly now to have my blog named after me. It would have been better to name it something about adult literacy, or technology, or my organization OTAN, or something that indicates what it's about. But...I didn't. And now I have so much content there I don't want to start over, so I live with it.

So, think about your URL. Make it easy to remember and interesting in some way, and related to what you will be writing about.

Add a Blog Roll to Your Blog

Now that many of you are getting going, I see that you mostly don't need much help with the technical stuff, and are more interested in sharing ideas and strategies.

However, I encourage you to add a blog roll to your blog - a list of blogs that you follow, or that you recommend to your followers. To do this, click on the Design link on the top right of your screen. This will take you to the layout of your blog. There are links in various locations to add a gadget. Click the link to see what's available. There are lots of possibilities!

Choose Blog List, add it, and then choose Add to List to add a blog. All you need is the URL for the blog, Blogger does the rest. You can see here on our home page that they use an icon to indicate if the blog is on Blogger, and some other services have their own icons. You can see that Alesha's blog doesn't have an icon because it's on their own proprietary site.

Your blog roll will grow and change as your blog evolves. It's a good way to connect with other bloggers and to build your audience.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Please check in!

Hello Everyone,

This blog will be our central place for learning about Blogger. Starting a blog is easy (see post below) but before you do that, please click on the Comment link below this post and share with
- us who you are
- what your experience with blogging has been
- what you hope to get out of this group.

That will help us decide where to begin and what directions to pursue.

This blog is moderated, meaning I have to approve each comment. The reason for that is to prevent comments from spammers. So don't be surprised that your comment doesn't show up immediately. I will try to respond promptly.

There are a lot of things you can do with a blog! Here are some blog examples from adult educators, and there have been other examples posted to the list last week.

I look forward to hearing from you and getting our conversation started!

Marian Thacher

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Getting Started

Welcome to the Blogger discussion! This will be our "home blog." Each of you will create your own blog, and post the link here. I will add links to all of our blogs on the "blog roll." That way we can visit each other's blogs from here, so please bookmark this page.

To create your blog:

1. Go here to create your blog. If you don’t already have a Google account, this page will help you create one. If you have Gmail, or any other Google service, you already have an account. Don't create a new one unless you really want to have more than one account.

2. If you do already have a Google account, when you sign in from this page, you will go to your dashboard. There is a link on the top create to Create a Blog.

3. All you have to do is create a Name for your blog, and an address (URL). It’s easy, but don’t be hasty. Give it some thought because if you really end up using your blog, you will be living with this name and URL for a long time!

4. Once you have created your blog, you will be able to customize it in several ways.

5. Please post the link to it in a comment here. I will add it to our blog roll.

If you have trouble creating your blog, or if you have any questions or comments, post them in the comments here on this post. This is where we will communicate with our group.

You can also email me directly, marianthacher at gmail dot com.
(I don't post my email in the usual format because I don't want any bots to harvest my email and send me spam.)