Ideas, examples, questions, confusions about using weblogs in education

Taking student work seriously

Tim asked last week if I had thoughts about how to set up blogs for students. There’s a lot going on in this area and it’s changing quickly, but one thing that I think should be considered is suggested by Rob Reynolds. If we take lifelong learning seriously, we need to consider that “learners attend multiple institutions (sometime simultaneously) over time and they need to be able to manage their own records.”

I rather favor having students develop their own blogs rather than simply use school servers so they can use them for purposes beyond the classroom, and so they can keep their own portfolio of work, which we can hope they will add to and improve throughout their lives.

Whatever happened to all those papers you wrote in school? Maybe a profile of your grandfather, or your thoughts about the news when you were sixteen. A careful reading of a novel that was important you you when you were twenty? Your reports of a scientific investigation you made for a senior project?

Most schoolwork has been treated as ephemera, as less important than the mark that was recorded about it. So far this attitude has continued into the digital age. Students get temporary access to a schools course management system and when the class is over their password and the site itself expire. But schoolwork needn’t be treated as a meaningless series of exercises completed for a grade.

I suspect that schoolwork will get much better when we begin treating some of it as important parts of a person’s life’s work.

Posted by Michael L Umphrey on 01/03 at 08:45 PM
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2005 Montana Heritage Project

If you get odd characters when using “email this page”

The “email this page” features uses the UTF-8 character set.

If you are using Outlook Express, and the emails that are sent have question marks instead of quotation marks or hypens, it may be set to a different character set. To change it:

Be sure you’re in the main menu - i.e., don’t have any messages open. You should have “Inbox” clicked on the left listing.

Go to Tools / Options / Send / International Settings

Change the drop down menu selection to Unicode UTF-8

Posted by Michael L Umphrey on 12/26 at 11:46 PM
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2004 Montana Heritage Project

How to syndicate your blog

1. Be sure you see the syndicate links at the bottom of the right hand column:

* RSS 1.0
* RSS 2.0
* Atom
If they are not there, the code needs to be added to the index template in your template group.

2. Be sure autodiscovery code is inserted in the index template above the head tag:

Posted by Michael L Umphrey on 12/21 at 02:36 PM
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2004 Montana Heritage Project
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