Neophyte Bloggers

I’ve had the opportunity to observe and mentor a cohort of learners who’ve been assigned a reflective task using blogging as the medium and it’s been interesting to observe how the participants are unpacking their experiences. This group has also used threaded discussions and wikis in their course, and for some, it’s really all pretty new. As could be expected, there is both confusion and “aha” moments.

They are living the theory. It’s one thing to read about how a wiki generates a type of collaboration that is different from a blog or a forum, but it’s another thing to actually experience it. It’s a lot to take in and we don’t know the final verdict yet: Will these adult educators be inspired to continue using social media and form a broad Personal Learning Network, or will they feel overwhelmed and abandon this as soon as the course ends?

The range of social media tools has come into existence because each has it’s own strengths and weaknesses and it’s really interesting to watch how these play out. And it’s hard to structure a gradual entry into this world because everything is so interconnected. We deliberately didn’t add Twitter, and yet I feel that without it, there’s something very important missing — Twitter would have allowed an easy broadcasting of new blog posts and perhaps prevented folks from having to “go look”. RSS is used in what’s sort of a “central-organizer” blog which hopefully everyone goes to. We’re about halfway through, so…. more to come.

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3 Responses to Neophyte Bloggers

  1. Sally says:

    I would love to have a tool that would be a one-stop shop for getting updates on the updates – I’ve been going back and forth between blogs and discussions and activities – there must be a way to monitor all of this activity more easily. I’m a neophyte Twitterer – totally new to it – could you lead us through using Twitter for this? Or point us to a how-to?
    Thanks,
    Sally

  2. ewellburn says:

    For the ISWO bloggers, Twitter would work if *everyone* used it and “tweeted” a link each time they made a new blog post or comment.

    Since it seemed like a tall order to get everyone up to speed with Twitter, and to request them to use it in this fashion, we chose the “meta-blog” with it’s links to all the other blogs. That really only accomplishes half of what we’d like — current postings rise to the top, but new comments to postings remain buried. It’s possible to subscribe via RSS but again, it’s one more level of complexity that we haven’t addressed in the short period of time we’re doing ISWO. Also, many blogs allow you to request email notification if you make a comment and want to see follow-up comments.

    There is a lot to learn about RSS. http://www.commoncraft.com/rss_plain_english is a video that touches on this topic.

    In my own PLN environment, I actually *don’t* use a feed reader anymore. I overlapped RSS with Twitter for a while, but over time (as I got the list of people I follow on Twitter to a point where it really covers all the “territory” I need) I found that Twitter alone was enough. And searching(Google, including Google Blog search, and Twitter search). But, as I always say, Twitter works for me personally because I follow some really wonderful people who share great information. I’m on the shoulders of giants for sure!

  3. Sally says:

    Thanks – I understand the thinking behind leaving Twitter out of ISWO. It’s something I will have to take the time to explore!

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