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Archive for the ‘Social networking’ Category

Building A Community Around Your Blog

Posted by Jess Mc on April 1, 2008

Writing a blog does not mean being an expert. Writing a blog is about sharing ideas and resources with like-minded people. I learn a lot from other people’s blogs and I hope some people learn something from me.

Starting out in the bloggosphere can be daunting. You’ve got a few things to say but your work will be wasted if no one reads it. The world wide web is exactly that, so there is a huge potential audience for your writing. How do you find them and build up a community around your blog? Here are a few ideas.

Keep in mind though, that building a community is an ongoing process, so it is something that can always be reviewed and improved upon.

1. Find and join some networks and forums that focus on the topics you are writing about. Ning networks are the best place to start. I’m a member of several Ning networks. All you do is find one your are interested in, click on ‘Sign Up’ and then you will have your own profile page on which you can write about yourself and what you’re interested in and leave links to your blog. Also, every Ning network has discussion groups and forums with people asking questions all the time. Jump in and answer a few questions. People will then click back to your Ning profile to see who you are, and might click on the links to your blog.

Some great Ning networks to check out are:

Classroom 2.0

(On Classroom 2.0 you might want to find a group called ‘Digital Languages’ that I started. It hasn’t been very active so far, but we’ll get there!)

The Global Education Collaborative

For those of you in Australia, the EDNA network would be a great place to sign up to.

2. Join Twitter and feed your blogs posts directly to it through Twitterfeed. Twitter is a microblogging tool. You sign up for an account, start following people and basically answer the question ‘What are you doing?’ What actually happens is that you end up ‘tweeting’ (posting) useful links you’ve found and links to your blog and pretty soon you’ll have people that are following what you do. Twitter, although at first it sounds a little strange, has become absolutely huge and a fantastic way to find resources and meet people. There is a lot to write about Twitter, which I will do later. For now, just dive right on in!

3. Make sure Technorati is aware of your blog. Sign up for an account there and ‘claim’ your blog. Technorati is a search engine for blogs. Once you claim your blog you can add tags to it in your account to help Technorati find your blog more easily.

4. Leave comments on other people’s blogs. Bloggers do this a lot. If someone leaves a comment at my blog technoLOTE I usually follow the link to their website to see what they do and I usually email them to say thanks for commenting and to mention something I’ve seen on their blogs. (I said usually…I have a few outstanding comments to acknowledge! All in good time.) Leaving comments is probably one of the most powerful ways to grow your audience and your blog’s community. Not only will the writer of the blog read your comment, other people who are leaving comments will read yours too and might find themselves arriving at your blog!

5. Join MyBlogLog. Once you have an account and you have listed your blogs, you can search what blogs other people write and add yourself to their MyBlogLog community. You can see who is in someone else’s community and others can see if you’ve joined their community. This way, they may check out your profile and click through to your blog. My BlogLog and Ning Networks work in a similar idea to Facebook. You join, you have a profile, you read about others they read about you.

These are just a few places to get started. Other sites to look into would be Del.icious, Diigo and StumbleUpon for social bookmarking and the networks that go with it. Really, anywhere that you can join a network is a place where you can find potential readers for your blog.

This is by no means an exhaustive list and if you have other suggestions please leave a comment!

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Posted in blogging, Jess McCulloch, Social networking | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Why I love skype!

Posted by murcha on March 26, 2008

When I suggested my top ten web2.0 sites for 2007, skype was one of them. I had experienced using this software with my two sons who live in London and have since used it at school for videoconferencing purposes with NZ Chrissy and Gail Casey when she was teaching ESL in Korea. Whilst it was snowing in Korea, we had some sound difficulties but skype are working on improving sound quality all the time.

Since then I have used it for

  • discussion purposes with teachers on collaborative global projects
  • professional development (Quest Atlantis uses this)
  • interviews and surveys – both staff and students
  • involving teachers from other countries teaching my classes etc.
  • sharing advice, clarifying issues etc
  • guest speakers for night classes
  • live demonstrations for parent information sessions
  • conference calls

 Here are 10 facts you may need to know:-

  1. Skype is VOIP (voice over internet protocol) and its use is free if it is calls are made computer to computer.
  2. Equipment: skype  software (download from www.skype.com) , headset with microphone, or desktop mic, a webcamera (for videoconferencing), IWB or datashow for projecting the video (if for classroom use), user names (equivalent of phone numbers) of contact people
  3. User friendly, quick loading (sometimes falls over but getting more reliable all the time)
  4. Neat search facility to add other users to contact list
  5. Chat or audio can take place. It is polite to send a request message via chat first, to ensure that person you are contacting is not in class or otherwise engaged. (My laptop has embarrassed me on several occasions by ringing, in class)
  6. Conference calls: both audio and chat. Currently, videoconferencing can only be used between two users. The video aspect cuts out after a third person enters the conversation.
  7. Chats can be saved with appropriate title, by bookmarking. Goto chats>bookmarked chats and enter a title whilst in skype conversation) or goto recent chats and it tends to save automatically, but with a non categorised title.
  8. Can buy credit to ring landlines locally, domestically, overseas (extremely cheap overseas calls)
  9. Constantly requesting feedback as to quality of calls, and working on improving the service. (Sometimes line quality is not high, delays but these are getting less over time.)
  10. Number of users is restricted to, I think, 10 and then a bridge phone number must be given.

skype

Posted in Anne Mirtschin, Social networking | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

My flat classroom

Posted by murcha on February 12, 2008

Today the students were going to have a guest teacher, Mr Jeff Whipple, outlining the nature of a wiki and explaining the nature of the 1001 flat tales global project.  Grades 4 and 5 will work on the elementary wiki with China, Thailand, US, Canada etc whilst grade 6 will be involved in the middle school one. Jeff would use his laptop to demonstrate the wiki.

Using our atlas ascertaining where Jeff is from
However this was no ordinary classroom as Jeff lives in Canada (read his version of our experiences on his blog ). He is the technology educational specialist for his school and is setting up the wiki for the project. With the help of our library  interactive white board, 50 odd students and half a dozen interested teachers watched with amazement, Jeff talk to us from his home, show us his pet cat, outline the project and then with the help of the SMART Technologies Bridgit on the IWB allowed us to view his laptop screen and walk through the wiki. His time was 10pm, ours was 12:00 midday. The weather was sunny and 25 deg C where we live, with students about to go to the pool for swimming classes. 15cm snow and -16deg C was the weather pattern where Jeff lives. Students are now fully motivated to start the project. Atlases came out and we found the city where Jeff lives. A great deal of geography was learned in 30 mins.!! Jeff was kind enough to come back to us 40 mins later to do a photo shoot for our local newspaper “The Warrnambool Standard”. The photographer and reporter had to make a 30 minute drive to our school.
How, did we get to know Jeff, you may well ask? Well, I was trying to sort out our “From Me to You” envelopes in the computer pod last week. My year 11 students were quietly and diligently completing accounting exs when I noticed my laptop flashing. Having forgotten that I was still logged into skype, I found someone was chatting to me.  My curiousity got the better of me.  It was Jeff, introducing himself as he was setting up the wiki for the project. As we chatted, he offered to demo the wiki via skype to our classes. We took him up on that offer. My twitter network through Kim Cofino, from Bangkok, had alerted me to the existence of the project.Skyping with Jeff
The second interesting event of the day, occurred prior to our skype session. I had spent several hours the night before working out a cyber safety lesson. Again, my twitter network came to the rescue with lots of interesting links, url’s, wikis and online videos. I had my year9/10s for a double class first thing this morning, but to my utter dismay, found the internet was down and all my lesson plans with it. Students started writing a post for their blogs whilst the principal and I tried to sort out the internet. Some time later, it was back on. Students quickly checked out their blogs and found they had comments on them, some from our staff, students but others from Holland and the US. Well………..that was it!!! My lesson plans never went into action. Instead, the students initiated their own learning. They wanted to email back the people who commented, some of whom were similar age students in the US. Then, they checked out those student blogs. Students who are often reluctant readers and writers were fully engaged reading the various posts. The boys even found a post on cricket by one of the US students. That encouraged them to wrote a post about the local cricket team they play for.
Next, they wanted to add a clustrmap to their blogs etc. The double was finished all too quickly. An authentic audience makes such powerful learning!!!

dsc00703.jpg….and to top our day,our first two cards from the US schools in the “From me to you” project arrived. Excited students will open them tomorrow morning.

Posted in Anne Mirtschin, Social networking, Web 2.0 Classrooms | Tagged: , , , , | 9 Comments »

Twitter

Posted by murcha on January 17, 2008

Twitter is one of the fastest growing uses of the internet. It is the equivalent of a one minute blog completed in 140 characters. In the short time that I have used it, my knowledge of web 2.0 has been on another steep learning curve due to the virtual teamwork involved.  I will outline how to use twitter in its basic format. There is much more but that can wait for another time.

twitter home page

Register with twitter and activate the resultant email. (Some people have several twitter names.)

Search for people who you know are in twitter and click follow. Add as many as you can and return to the home screen.  Tweets by  people you are following should show up on the screen.

slide1.jpg

Key in what you are doing at the moment and press update. Just keep on tweeting until someone replies or simply watch everyone else’s tweets.

Click on an avatar, go to next window and a direct message link will show up on the RHS side bar. Key in a direct message to that person and it is then kept private from the general tweeters and goes directly to their email account.

To add more interesting people, click on one avatar and look at who they follow. Choose some of these people to follow. Some of the experienced users will take a very caring and sharing approach if they know you are a newbie. Many will suggest some good people to follow. If you join in, people will want to follow you.

A person can be removed or blocked from your list if the need arises. Click on their avatar and look for the links.

140 characters is the limit to a tweet.

Uses in education

Twitter is a powerful social networking tool and this is where I see its greatest benefit. I started with 3 people to follow and one week later have 89 and 58 following me. Some of the most popular tweeters state that 150 is a good number and may not wish to follow more. However, unless they are selective, you can still follow their comments and learn.

A blog in a minute.

Quick communication and feedback tool.

Follow sites like edtechtalk and be informed when their live shows are on. (Highly recommended.)

Possibility for classroom uses.

There is so much more to twitter but give it a try. However, careful, it can be very addictive.

Posted in Anne Mirtschin, Social networking, Web 2.0 Resources | Tagged: | 2 Comments »