Posts Tagged ‘comment08’

a strategy for commenting?

Wednesday, May 28th, 2008

Sneaking back into the Comment Challenge today, I was forced to think about my blog commenting strategy by Michele’s task for Day 28. Well, I didn’t have one did I! Not anything that I was aware of anyway. I suppose my strategy was to say something when I thought I could make a contribution and to pass on by, if not.

We were encouraged to read a post by Caroline Middlebrook (who is what I’d call a professional blogger), and in doing so I had to wrestle with what I wanted out of being a participant in the blogosphere.

This took me back to why I started my blog and what I hoped to get out of it. I’m definitely not in it for the money (at this point in time), but I realise I might need to think about what return I get for my efforts. This means that I’ll need to make an effort to get a return – very rarely will you make a profit if you don’t make the initial investment. But whatever you’re blogging (or commenting) for, be it fame, fortune or fellowship, the principles of/for making connections must be the same.

My motives are more about having/using my blog as a place where I can develop my portfolio (as process) and put some of my ideas, experiences, reflections and work, ‘out there’. I know I’ll learn a lot more if people ‘talk back’ and leave comments in response to what I write. If this is to occur, I’ll need to be somewhat strategic about what I write about and make the connections between that and what I read on other blogs. I have been challenged to think about how to gain some momentum in all this, and if I want to be able to add value to what I do (and gain some sort of confirmation that I’m traveling down the right path) I’ll need to get people to have a reason to visit me. I can see that it is probably up to me to do this – be proactive about it. Maybe I have to stop thinking about how many dots I’ve got on my clustrmap or how many subscribe to my rss feed and think more about my participation in my learning community and those I come across. I’m in this to learn as well as to share.

So, I think my strategy will develop and evolve over time and hopefully support my needs and aspirations. Being authentic, discerning, generous, provocative & critical (if necessary) would be some of the types of responses I’d provide when commenting and this would (I hope) encourage others to visit me to what I’ve got to say. Over time I’ll also probably tend to refine my list of favourite blogs but realise that this network will be fluid as I come across new ones and maybe stop visiting those I don’t get any value from. I hope that through my commenting I might also challenge and encourage others on their learning journeys.

Hmmm, I’ve been surprised how well the ‘commercial’ metaphor has applied to my thoughts on educational blogging. Thanks to Michele for another thought provoking activity…

I’d like to recommend

Wednesday, May 21st, 2008

Three weeks into the Comment Challenge and I’m way behind on the tasks that were set to help the participants learn how commenting is an important part of being participant in the blogosphere. I was challenged by this task (Day 21, Make a recommendation) and thought I’d be able to make a contribution that may provide some value to those who read this blog.

Have you ever found yourself trying to explain a new (and often complex) concept to a colleague and wishing there was a resource in a format that could get the message across? I have.

I’ve often wanted to get my hands on something that was accessible, not too long, and a perfect overview that used words/audio and pictures to help clarify a new idea, model or application…

So, my recommendation is to visit the Common Craft website to check out the work they do to ‘present subjects “in plain English” using short, unique and understandable videos’. You might even do a search for ‘in plain english’ somewhere, to find some of the most popular videos, many of which can be found on on Google or Youtube (these links will take you to the results of such a search). Topics covered include: Twitter, RSS, Wkis, Blogs, Social Networking, Social Bookmarking etc. I’ve found these resources very useful and they’ve provided great support in getting the message across about some of the new technologies and applications that are part of what we call Web 2.0.

Have you found anything like these that could be used for professional development activities in a teaching and learning context?

social networking (online) – does what for me?

Tuesday, May 13th, 2008

My blogging experience is limited and, having only recently started to interact with the blogosphere and become involved in the Comment Challenge, I’ve found lots of value in the community of people I’ve started to interact with. It’s still early days, but one thing I’m interested in is the size of the community that I’m exploring (mostly educators interested in web 2.0 and social software/e-learning) and the one that I might make for myself as time goes by. I’ve recently started Twittering and I’m currently following 89 people and guess I will probably look for/ stumble upon/ find a few more. I’ve noticed some people are following over 1500! How do they keep up with this? Just what is the optimum number of people to follow? Will I be able to keep up with all the tweets? Will I want to? What value do I get from it?

I think my interest is more professional than anything else, in how these technologies can support learning. I have tinkered with the personal side of all this and it is a bit of fun – but I’m not getting the same ‘reward’ (as from the professional aspect) as what I’m finding are mostly inane activities that do nothing for me – I’d even dare to call a lot of it spam… You might like to read Jon Husbands piece, Social Networking Stunts Your Growth which features a great video that provides a nice reflection on the ‘Social Networking Wars’.

Facebook, MySpace etc. have their uses, but I can only see value for myself in some of their functionality (let alone the myriad plugin applications available) – maybe I need to explore further and even ask for advice before I make judgement. But people (like Danah Boyd) who are better qualified than me have written about this… I am aware that some colleagues are using Facebook and setting up groups to supplement their teaching (even though all our units are in BlackBoard Vista) and I’ll need to investigate further to see how they, and their students, are generating value and building relationships.

I suppose I’m sitting around the leading edge of the bell curve with regard to using social software/networking. Not at the pointy end, but closer to the mainstream (what/where/ever that might be) which is probably at the geeky end of things for someone of my vintage. So, I’ve started to think about the time and energy I’m investing in this social networking and social software. I liked the question Sue Waters asked recently in a Tweet, “How does Twitter support your learning”? I didn’t respond as I’ve only recently begun to tweetThinking about that, I can probably mention a few things, that’s for a later post.

But, I want to get to my question(s): How big will my social networking community get? How many relationships can I sustain? I’ve heard that we can deal with up to 150 acquaintances before our capacity to have a meaningful relationship starts to run a bit thin. I wonder how many ‘close’ friends will I be able to have? 15? Maybe it will be about finding the right mix of people with whom I can engage, people who might challenge and nourish me. I suppose it’s all part of the Comment Challenge and the development of networks and finding those who will support my growth as an educator/learner both professionally and personally, in both the online and face to face contexts. I suppose that over time things will become clearer and the number of meaningful ‘connections’ will settle at some happy medium where I can be part of a network of like minded souls like me.

What do you think? How many is too many friends in Facebook, or people to follow in Twitter? How many blogs/rss feeds can/should you subscribe to? Anyone have a comment to share?

a learning curve

Tuesday, May 6th, 2008

As I continue with the comment challenge, I’m not just learning about other’s people ideas, I’m learning a fair bit about some of the collaborative software that’s available… I’ve been comfortable with my RSS feeds and not really been strategic in getting the word out about my blog, so this whole exercise has been a learning one that has at times made me uncomfortable. I’ve heard it said that if you move out of your ‘comfort zone’, you move into a ‘learning zone’.

What I’ve found interesting is that it’s been more difficult configuring, accessing, and connecting into some of it than I thought it might be. A new account with Technorati was fairly straight forward but as I haven’t used it before (and haven’t made space for ‘how it might work for me’) I’m not sure what to expect, but we’ll see how it goes. Joining the coComment community was a bit trickier (and the irritating flash ads don’t endear me) and then having to work out how to get the ‘tags’ working in my blog so that they can be found by the ‘system’, and then ‘claiming blogs‘ so they are recognised. Maybe be on a different platform (Mac) and using a different browser (Safari) complicated things a little.

I must confess that I’ve only skimmed the advice on the Comment Challenge wiki that explains how to make do all the things to activate full participation in the challenge. So, maybe I should read a little more closely on how these bits connect to each other. I’m thinking there may be a parallel here with my aging brain and the fixed pathways and configurations of it’s neural networks. It’s getting harder to change/renovate them and rebuild them incorporating the new models/technologies of interaction and collaboration into what I know.

It’s still all about learning, and it won’t happen unless I have the desire to make the investment… What’s nice is seeing that others are along for the ride and we struggle together – supported all the while by passionate people willing to pass on their knowledge and enthusiasm.

taking it up

Saturday, May 3rd, 2008

The commenting challenge (for the month of May) hasn’t just encouraged me to interact more with what I read, it’s led me to read more! Not sure how sustainable this will be (it is the weekend and I’m cruising a bit), but today it has encouraged me to subscribe to 6 new blogs that I’ve discovered/stumbled on/been led too… They look like they will provide me with some more inspiration, challenges, ideas, and the motivation to continue the challenge and develop my learning.

Having to provide a considered response to what someone has written requires some thinking, and through that, some cognitive shift that supports/reinforces what I think, or helps move my thinking in/onto a new level/dimension. I suppose that’s how learning works…

How cool is that!

The challenge that faces me now is to share this with others and to point out the value afforded by the social networks and communities of practice that exist online.

the challenge

Friday, May 2nd, 2008

I’ve decided to participate in the 2008 Comment Challenge! which is about challenging bloggers to become better blog citizens. I can see that this will need some energy and commitment but it’s something I’m prepared to invest in. I see it as personal and professional development.

I would class myself as a novice with regard to blogging and I’m only just beginning to understand the networking potential/possibilities that are afforded by responding to what I read on other blogs. I suppose I’ve been grazing for a while, dipping into a few places to read what I find interesting and informative. I see the value of doing the comment challenge in engaging with what I read (other people’s ideas/opinions/rants etc.) and having to think about how I respond to them. If I think I’ve got something to contribute, I’ll write a comment.

I’m hoping that after the month I’ll have a much deeper understanding of how the blogosphere works and where I may fit in this connected community. I hope to meet people and make authentic connections with those of like mind and having similar interests. These potential new relationships will be the BIG pay off. Proverbs 27:17 comes to mind when I think of how we need to interact with each other and bounce ideas around to come to deeper understanding of each other, ourselves and the world around us.

One of the other aspects of the blog/ger/ing learning curve is the need to choose from a range of application/technologies to maintain the connections – keep the lines of communication open if you will. I’m still discovering lots of things (as well as realising how much I don’t know) that will support and enhance my blogging and look forward to trying things out to see how well they work and how they might be put to use in an educational setting. I do subscribe to RSS feeds (using NetNewsWire for Mac) and have worked out that it’s important to also subscribe to comment feeds as well as the post feeds. If you’re not up to speed with RSS check out the and you may even find this video useful RSS in Plain English. [* note to self – must find out how to embed videos (I’m writing my blog posts in MacJournal) so I can post to the blog with having to edit the post there.]

I’ve also dived into Twitter and have had wonderful support from Sue Waters to get going (I’m using Twhirl to aggregate my Twitter ‘tweets’). This ‘instant message’ platform/technology/service is also starting to make sense in that we’re able to ‘keep connected’, and ‘in touch’.

How connected you keep is all up to you (and me).