The Blogger Experience

This is the first hands-on activity of my segment here, and will be done rather early as I loathe blabbing when learning is in the doing. This entry is being written ahead of time and saved as a draft, and I will publish it after the participants have completed the activity.

Purpose(s): One outcome is that each team at the institute will create a weblog that they will continue to use for the rest of the institute. This is to demonstrate the notion of documenting projects in a public space, multi-authored weblog sites. The second layer is to explore the experience of using the Blogger site.

Setup: I will be asking the most technical experience person in each group to stand up. Their job is to watch, coach, and refrain from grabbing the mouse and keyboard. Next, I will ask for the person least experienced in blogs and/or technology to volunteer to be the person in the driver seat. Each group will be provided a basic set of instructions for creating a blogger account and site.

The Twist: I have created three sets of instructions (available as MS Word downloads):
  1. [blogger-setup-full.doc] Fully illustrated and lavishly explained steps, about 3 pages printed.
  2. [blogger-setup-med.doc] A text only series of explicit instructions
  3. [blogger-setup-lite.doc] A minimal set of instructions that basically reads, "go to" and click on "Create a Blog"
The hope is to have each group create their shared project blogs, and then to post one entry as an introduction for their group. The discussion will be about both the impact or not of fully iluustrated instructions, and the relevance since it is drop dead easy to create a Blogger site with minimal or no instructions. Is the time and effort spent creating full instructions critically necessary?

The Aggregation: Once created, each group will let me know the URL for their team. I will quickly add this to a web aggregator I created at:

as well as a Bloglines public collection:

The Reflection: Each group is than to pst a second blog entry, a reflection, including their ideas on:

  • Which set of directions did you use? How important was the level of detail in being able to use the Blogger site?
  • How easy was the site to use? What elements of the experience influence this opinion?
  • How would you compare the interface here to the one for say your course management system, your internal web based administrative systems?
  • How does this compare to other tools for creating web pages (learning HTML, using Dreamweaver/FrontPage)?
  • How much were you able to customize the blog? What would you like to be able to do?
  • Did you try the “Next Blog” button? What happened? What does this mean for use of this site?
  • What advantages / disadvantages does this present as a tool for use by teachers?
  • If you have never written in a blog before, how did it feel to see your work published?
  • What are some educational contexts this technology might be useful?

Hm...seems to be visible now...:)
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