Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Tech Tip 12/5 -Tech Tip 12/5 - Looking for some educational blogs to read?


Well the snow has arrived and we are reaching that point in the year where it is good to curl up on the couch with a good book - or maybe a good blog :) I will talk about the following things below - skip to what you might find interesting
1 - What is a blog
2- Where can I find good blogs to read?
3 - How can I keep track of all of this stuff? Will RSS help? Do I need an Aggregator? Where do I get that stuff anyway?
1. What exactly is a blog? (from Wikipedia)

A blog (a portmanteau of web log) is a website where entries are written in chronological order and commonly displayed in reverse chronological order. "Blog" can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog.

Many blogs provide commentary or news on a particular subject; others function as more personal online diaries. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, web pages, and other media related to its topic. The ability for readers to leave comments in an interactive format is an important part of many blogs. Most blogs are primarily textual, although some focus on art (artlog), photographs (photoblog), sketchblog, videos (vlog), music (MP3 blog), audio (podcasting) and are part of a wider network of social media. Micro-blogging is another type of blogging which consists of blogs with very short posts.

As of September 2007, blog search engine Technorati was tracking more than 106 million blogs.[1]

2. What are some good blogs to read?
This one depends on your interest. There is a great list of educational blogs at http://movingforward.wikispaces.com/Blogs and you can see what I read at http://www.bloglines.com/public/henrythiele
There are a lot of good (and bad) content out there. I have found mine over the years by finding someone I like to read and then looking at what they read. This way I have built a selection of things that meet my interest.
Another great spot to find good educational blogs is through the Edublog Awards - this is like the Pulitzers of Educational Blogs. You can find this year's nominations and prior year winners at http://edublogawards.com/2007/
3. How can I keep track of all of this stuff? Will RSS help? Do I need an Aggregator? Where do I get that stuff anyway?
The great thing about the web today is that you don't always have to go out looking for things to read. Once you find something you like you can tell the web to send newly updated articles to you. It is like subscribing to a magazine you like to read. There is a tool built into many websites called an RSS feed. RSS (really simple syndication) is a feature that sends out an alert everytime someone updates a blog or webpage you are reading. You don't just have to use it for blogs, I also use it to tell me when the White Sox make a player move (not much of that happening right now though). You know a webpage supports RSS when you see this symbol in the address bar or on the page. That means you can use an Aggregator to keep track of changes on these pages.
The two most popular Aggregators right now are Bloglines and Google Reader you can go to either site and sign up for an aggregator where all of your articles come directly to (they have great step-bystep directions on their sites). Once you read an article it is marked as read and dissapears from your reading list.

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