Web 2.0
Why participate in a blog or wiki?
Leilani, Jeanette, Sharon, Sheila N.J. Stephanie M.
Activity I

[Please see discussion tab for facilitator suggestions]

When I think of a "blog", what comes to mind is usually a topic, comment or news article that many people have opinions on and want to share their viewpoints or "spins" to the topic. Some people choose to initiate a personal blog, which to me, is just an online diary that they wish to share with the world. I prefer not to share my personal events with the world so I've never started a personal blog. I love participating in news blogs, and somehow, even though I "tweet" I do so not about mundane, daily happenings, but concerns that I feel are important enough to share with the world. I wouldn't mind starting a blog centered around school activities which are less personal in nature. Wiki's seemed somewhat fuzzier in that they seem to be a larger umbrella under which a blog can exist. Wiki's seem to invite collaboration better than a blog... or maybe that's just my own perception of what it is. During the course of our exploration here, maybe that opinion will change. I suppose one can think of a Wiki in terms of a larger goal under which you form certain lesson plans and the Wiki is the broader goal/vehicle which carries out that specific plan. Let me know what the rest of you think on this one.

Reasons for participating in this class are varied. Blogs and wikis are very different. It is important to create a wikis and blog sthat can be used with students. Students can create and write a newspaper with the use of a blog. Blogging is an excellent way for students to communicate and collaborate. The many uses and purposes of wikis and blogs becomes clearer as the course progresses.

After reading your bfurst blog, I realized several things. The first thing I realized is that, blogging is a form of communication synonymous with journaling, or keeping a diary. The second thing is that it is open to everyone in the world to read. This becomes a very therapuetic way of expression, and even an alternative way to teach writing in the classroom. Reasons to participate in blogs are to hear others perspectives on issues, or situations; to keep in touch with the world around you, and accept or reject its views. Participation in blogs and wikis will one day become inevitable so why not take the time to enjoy it today! I wonder what Benjamin Franklin would say, if he was around?

Wikis and Blogs are the current communication tools that are linking people throughout the world. Effective teachers need to introduce these tools to their students as a means of communitcation within classes and without. Students are eager to communicate with others, so using these tools takes advantage of their own excitement and gets them involved in writing.

Activity IV
Wordle would be a great way for students to play with language. Students will love making word clouds out of their favorite words This would be a great way to enhance their knowledge of the language and make their work interesting!

Doink allows students to create their own animations. Students will love this site. Creativity and imagination are all that is needed. The best part is that it is free!

Sketchup is an excellent tool that will allow students to be imaginative and creative. Students can take pictures of buildings from Google earth and make them appear three dimensional. Students can take other images from their camera or create their own and make the images three dimensional. Students could write creative stories about their images and present their creations in a power point presentation.

Picassa found on www.google.com is a google tool that helps you arrange your pictures and email them to others. It's an online photo album. I tried using Picassa a while ago and I found that it takes up a lot of memory on my computer and slowed things down. Although, I probably needed to defrag my computer anyway, I ended up taking Picassa out. I may try to re-install it some other time.

I've signed up for Diigo at www.diigo.com. And I'm using Twitter at a rate of once a week just to find out what sometime trivial or breaking news is going on in everyone's lives. It's good to use as a tool to contact government officials who are sometimes not available by telephone. They get a sense of their constituents' opinions and you, in return, get their political stances which are usually available to you anyway online. More importantly though, you can directly communicate with them more easily than on the telephone or by mail. For this reason, I use Twitter. You can sign up at www.twitter.com.

Wordle is a very cool tool. Actually, I'd probably use it to create neat posters in my library. I'm sure it would eat up a lot of ink, but it's better than buying a poster, plus you can choose your own words and create it the way you want. I think students would enjoy the word play as well, and it could be used as a vocabulary tool. This is one that I like, but it doesn't require that you add it to your desktop! www.wordle.net

For those who are flummoxed by excel, you may find Swivel easier to use. At least you won't have to use a program on your desktop that'll eat up a lot of space and memory. With Swivel you can use it as you need it. I don't know how compatible it is with everyone else's software and that may be the problem with this. Most people use excel and expect you to have it when they are sending you data. But, on the cheap, this may be a good product to remember if you don't have a data producing program. www.swivel.com