Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Blog topics at NDATL Face-to-Face

During the North Dakota Association of Technology Leaders (NDATL) 4th Annual Fall Face-to-Face conference today, I presented a short overview of Furl, Blogs, RSS feeds and Wikis. This is a summary of links that were covered during the large group presentation and a breakout session done later in the day.

Furl is a great web site for letting you store your favorites or bookmarks. You can add a “Furl It” icon to your menu bar in your browser, and “furl” any web site that you want to bookmark on the web site that you or anyone else can access via the web. You can also see the most commonly “furled” links by other users of the web site, which will help you find interesting links to pass on to other educators.

You can get to my personal furl site by going tohttp://www.furl.net/members/craig_nansen . If you filter by topics on “Blogs and stuff” you will find many web sites that I have bookmarked that deal with the educational use of blogs.

Bloglines is a web site that acts as an online RSS news reader and lets you chose the blogs and new sources that you want to follow. You can find my personal bloglines page and see some of the blogs and RSS feeds that I follow by going tohttp://www.bloglines.com/public/CraigNansen

Check out my Tech Talk blog for technology leaders is and the Minot Public School’s blog. We are using Word Press on our own server to host our blogs.

If you want to use a dedicated RSS news reader instead of Bloglines or similar web based services, I would suggest NetNewsWire Lite for a Macintosh and RSSBandit for a Windows machine.

A good introduction to blogs can be found at So What�s a Blog? It might be a little dated being it was written in 2002, but it has good examples of blogs.

Will Richardson’s web log about using blogs in education (weblogged-ed) is a must read. Another good web site is Meriwether Lewis Elementary School in Portland, Oregon where their entire web site is based on a blog engine. Tim Lauer is the person responsible for this site. Also check out Anne Davis’ blog

Bernie Dodge, on his blog discusses Blogs & Wikis as WebQuest Tasksduring the NECC 2004 conference. Check out the rest of Bernie Dodge’s blog

SchoolBlogs has news about blogs use in education. Other good sites to check out are Edblog News

The Eublog webring is a good place to go to find other educational blogs.

A good example of a school’s use of RSS feeds to distribute news can be found at Hunterdon Central News Channels. eSchool News had an article on the future of RSS that I was quoted in titled “RSS could transform online communication”.

Kathleen’s Weblog with special posts about Blogging about Elearningand about NetNewsWire. Also check out the articles on tech�LEARNING about Education Web Logs and Writing With Web Logs. There is also a good article on Blogging and RSS � “The “What’s It?” and “How To” of Powerful New Web Tools for Educators”.

There was a good article in the Jun. 21, 2004 issue of Time Magazine titled “Meet Joe Blog” :Why are more and more people getting their news from amateur websites called blogs?

“The New Family Album” appeared in a special edition Time magazine on Apr. 05, 2004.

More parents are using online blogs to share photos, memories, gripes and advice with friends � and strangers

One of the most well known wikis is Wikipedia. After hearing about some things that can be done with Wikis I took a close look at it. (BTW – a wiki is simply a template driven web site that anyone can add to or edit. They don’t need to know html or Dreamweaver, just how to use a web browser and be able to type. Bernie Dodge added a definition of WebQuest and someone went in and made changes to his punctuation.)

It got me thinking about starting a Wiki on North Dakota, letting students, teachers, parents and community members from all parts of the state contribute to it. It is easy to add a new page for a city or town, and then to add pages to that town for the history, culture, geographical info, activities, etc.

I did a few searches on Wikipedia for Minot, Tioga (my home town), Medora, and North Dakota. Tioga and Medora don’t have much information, but that can be changed (see my idea above).

When searching for Minot, I clicked on history and at the end under external links I found a site I was not aware of – the MSU Library online collection on the history of Minot.

It would be nice to get a Wiki just for North Dakota, but in the meantime it looks like there are some great resources on Wikipedia. We can add to them during the course of the school year. Teachers can make it a class project to add information about the city that you live in and the area around it. Community members could get involved also.

I have an experimental wiki hosted on a server in the education department at Minot State University. You can also go to Wikipedia and play in their sandbox.

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