Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Welcome to 052!

At the start of a new term, it's good to reflect...ah yes, it's good to reflect any time, true. But anyway, let's look back.

First, take a look at the best LOGO and best weblog winners. Look at the dazzling variety of interesting material in the classes which will be represented on the web version of CESL Today as well as the print version, which you should have seen already. This is what's good about 051.

I'd like to see more pictures, pictures that we could pick up and use throughout our pages. I'd like to see community contributions clearly distinguished from online portfolios; put the academic work in the portfolios. I'd like to see weblogs used for the wide variety of purposes they could be used for; there really are many. The big three are: Personal journals, Community builders, Academic portfolios. So far we've mostly used #2 and #3. Personal expression is big too. It would be nice if
everyone felt comfortable presenting themselves in the new media.

One other thing. I've become a regular blogger- seeking things to write about, feeling personally accountable to my audience, presenting myself (in separate blogs) both professionally and creatively, and I've noticed that it has really changed me in a positive way. As I do research on the phenomenon I've found comments that have resonated: about how a weblogger becomes more disciplined, self-aware, and self-confident. I'll share some of these comments as I find them, but what is remarkable to me is that days after I read them, I find them sticking with me, as I've become more aware of what I'm thinking as I write.

Spring comes...things are popping...the Salukis didn't make it this year, but they gave us a good run.


Wednesday, March 16, 2005

TESOL 2005

As part of a TESOL 2005 presentation, I'm trying to put together my thoughts on how the weblog situation has evolved here at CESL. There are a number of good things about weblogs and what we've gotten through them; I believe our students have become more confident, more fluent technologically, and more aware of each other and each of their classmates' ideas and work. It is in all senses a community, rather disorganized at times (like now), rather chaotic, but vibrant, alive, and working toward expression that is very enlightening in many ways.

But the presentation is really about the teachers, and the degree to which they (you) either were sold on the idea, or not, and what could be done to improve that. If you have any ideas, let me know. It's an ongoing process. I'd be glad to share what I've put together; it will be linked from here in coming days.


Friday, March 04, 2005

Online presence

It sometimes takes a while to develop an interest in making your entire online presence as professional as everything else you do. Thus we sometimes start weblogs and months or even weeks later have the time AND interest to learn the skills needed, in some cases, to upgrade their appearance. In my case this is still an evolving process.

A good place to start is here. This was given to me by Kurt Larsen.

Rebecca Blood
Ten tips for a better weblog.
Rebecca's Pocket, Mar. 22, 2003.

It's not directed specifically to teachers, but it will give you ideas on where to start and on some of the possibilities.

One of the best all-around ways to develop skills in this area is through my friend Vance Stevens, who has started an amazing worldwide online community to develop the use of technology in classrooms worldwide. His most recent article on online presence for teachers is here:

Stevens, V. (2005, Jan. 10).
Establishing and maintaining a web presence: A guide for educators.

This has links to things he's doing: one is an online tutorial for teachers leading up to the TESOL 2005 in San Antonio. It's a good way to develop skills at your own pace!