Have slide up while faculty and staff are entering; greet people as they enter Ask attendees as they come in to log on to their computers Once everyone is seated, take attendance, pass out agendas and welcome everyone to the presentation
We’re going to start off today first by learning about blogs and answering the question a lot of you probably want answered: what is a blog? We’ll then move to talking about how and why you may want to use a blog in your classroom or your activity. Lastly, I will show you how to set up a blog on Edline. The second part of our workshop will focus on RSS feeds. I am sure that RSS feeds are new for a lot of you, but I think you’re going to find them really interesting. After we define what an RSS feed is, we’ll talk about how we could use a feed. Finally, I’ll show you how to set up a feed of your own. My goal for today is for you to begin to feel comfortable with both of these technologies. I’ll be happy to answer any questions that you do have as we go along. Are you ready?
This video is a really great introduction to blogs. It has been put together by Lee LeFever, who does a series of technology videos on YouTube entitled “In Plain English”. Let’s take a look.
So, why should we use this new feature on Edline? First, blogs are great for people with all different technological backgrounds. Basically, if you can email it, you can blog it! Second, updating your blog is simple. There is no coding to learn. You simply type as if you were putting an assignment onto Edline. I know that we all have experience doing that. Third, blogs can be used in different ways. For example, a blog can be a way for the teacher to communicate with students. As the teacher, you could determine all of the content in your blog. Lastly, a blog can get your students involved with what you are posting. Allowing students to comment will allow for a more interactive experience.
In short, using a blog can allow you to not be the sole source of information for your students. Rather, a blog will enable you to work alongside of them to create a real community of learning. Another benefit of blogging is that your class will no longer end with the bell. Since anyone who has permission to see the blog can post at any time, learning can be occurring around the clock. Also, studies show that blogs can encourage different types of thinking including critical, analytical, creative, intuitive, associational, and analogical. Lastly, students with different personality types can all get involved in blogging. Extroverts may enjoy the social interaction that blogging brings, while introverts may like blogging for the chance to reflect on their own. Wouldn’t it be nice to hear more from those students who are always quieter in class but who always have something great to say when they do speak up? Taking all of this information into account, does anyone have an idea for a blog that would be beneficial to your students at this time?
Is everyone ready to set up their first blog? Alright, let’s all sign onto Edline and choose one of your classes in which you think a blog will be beneficial. (Wait) Alright, now that you’re all looking at the home page for that class, go ahead and click on Contents in the upper right corner. This is where you can select to start a blog.
In the top righthand corner, open the dropdown menu and select ‘Blog’ to start a new blog, then click ‘Add’.
Decide on a name for your first blog entry. You don’t have to put in a description for each blog entry, but they can help to further describe what other viewers should be able to learn. When you’re all done entering both the blog name and the description, click on the arrow facing down to collapse the Blog Information section.
Next, select the arrow to the right of the words ‘Blog Visibility’. This is where you can change who gets to see your blog posts.
There are three options for visibility: public, limited, or private. Under the public option, anyone can look at and comment on blog posts. That includes anyone who gets the direct link to your post, so someone not associated with MSM in any way could potentially view and comment on what you write. If you select limited, you must establish groups of users who can see your blog posts. Under the limited option, you can first select on the dropdown menu whether or not you want only members of the activity (meaning your class) or the whole school to be able to see your posts. You can then check or uncheck the boxes below to limit what groups can see your blog posts. Lastly, the private option allows only specific users that you select in that activity to see your blog posts. Let’s take a minute and decide how we want to set up our visibility for the blog post that we’re going to be working on. When you’re done, scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on the ‘save and return’ button.
You are now ready to start your first blog entry! So, go ahead and decide on a title and enter it in the first box. You can also enter in a summary if you want. A summary can be a great way to expand on your title and to let others know a little more about what you will be presenting in your blog entry. Lastly, you also have the choice to display the blog entry on the calendar of your class page.
The next step is to go ahead and write your blog entry under the ‘Add Content’ section of your blog. It’s just as easy as when you write down your assignments on your Edline page. You have the options to change the font, font color and spacing just like in a Word document. You can also use the little button with the tree on it to add a picture to your entry. The icon with the film strip on it will embed a video file, and the button with the chart and pencil will insert a chart for you. Lastly, you have the option below to upload an image or video. If you upload here, your video or picture will show up at the end of your entry. If you use the buttons at the top, you can insert pictures, video, and charts as you go. Let’s try and add some content now. It could be as simple as a question you’d like your students to consider, a piece of classroom news, or anything that you think your students could benefit from reading or considering.
Now that we’ve entered all of our content for our first blog entry, scroll down to the section entitled ‘Comment Type.’ In this section, you will choose whether or not you want users to be able to comment and how you want them to comment. The way you set this up may be different depending on your blog entry. For example, if you choose not to allow anonymous comments, you (along with all others reading the blog) will be able to see the names of those who comment. This would be great if you were taking a grade on who is responding and the quality of their responses. If you allow anonymous responses, the commenter can choose to either use their name or remain anonymous. This could be great if you were choosing to do more of a personal response, because it would allow more shy students the option of anonymity. Lastly, you can make all comments anonymous. The square box at the end of the list enables you to have control over commenting. Depending on what you’re posting and asking students to respond to, it may be a good idea at times to review comments before they are posted for everyone to see. You can select this square box along with one of the commenting options above it. Which option are you going to select for this blog entry and why? (Dialogue) Has everyone made their selections? If so, go ahead and scroll down to the bottom of the page and select the ‘Save and Return’ button now.
That’s it! You have officially created your first blog entry. Once you hit the ‘Done’ button on the bottom righthand side of your screen, your blog will be published for all of your selected users to see!
This is another one of the “In Plain English” series. Hopefully after watching the video you will have a better idea of what an RSS feed is.
There’s a reason why this technology is called “Real Simple Syndication”- because it is! By setting up an RSS feed, you have access to the new content on websites you already check anyway all in one place. An RSS feed will also minimize the time you spend looking for information that pertains to your needs or interests. I know if everyone could have one thing that would benefit their job, it would probably be more time, right?
An Edline RSS feed is beneficial for a couple of reasons. For one, you already have a reader built into Edline. There’s no need to search for another reader and no need for you or your students to sign up for an account on another website. Your reader is already set up for you. Secondly, the feed is contained on your class’s page. Students do not need to go off of Edline to see the feeds you set up. Lastly, it’s easy to use. Admittedly, it is a little more simplistic than I like, but I think that it’s a great place to start, especially for those of us who have never heard of RSS before today. Does anyone have a class or activity in which they think an RSS feed would be useful? (Dialogue) Let’s go ahead and get started with our setting up our reader.
Again, to set up your RSS feed, we’ll start on the home page for one of the classes you think could benefit from it. Go ahead and click on Contents.
Pull down the menu at the top right side and select RSS feed, then click the ‘Add’ button.
For the sake of all staying on the same page right now, let’s go ahead and all open up an Internet Explorer page to CNN.com for our trial run with RSS feeds. (Wait for everyone to load CNN.) Once your page has loaded, scroll down to the bottom of CNN’s home page. In the links, there is a link for RSS. Go ahead and click on that.
Here we have a list of the feeds that CNN offers. For the purpose of this presentation, I’m going to pretend that we are teaching sports psychology this semester, so go ahead and highlight the URL for the Sports RSS reader. Now that you have it highlighted, click Cntrl +C. The Edline RSS reader only needs the URL.
Ok, I need you to switch windows back to your Edline page. First, I’d like you to fill in a document name for this RSS feed. For this trial run, I’ve simply named mine Sports News. Under Summary, I simply wrote where the stories were coming from, just to give my students a better idea of what they’re going to be seeing.
Once you’re done with entering the document information, scroll down to the section that says ‘RSS Feed URL’. Put your cursor in the space provided and then hit Cntrl + V to paste the CNN Sports RSS feed URL.
One more step and your feed is set up, I promise! Again, you’re going to have to change the visibility, just like we did with the blog. Go ahead and make any changes necessary so only the users you want can see the RSS feed. When you’re all done, scroll down to the bottom of the page and hit ‘Save and Return’.
And there you have it! Your feed is now displaying on your Edline page and is accessible under the Contents section on your class or activity’s home page.
Now I’m going to give you some time to set up an RSS feed that you think will be useful for one of your classes. One way to start is by taking a look at a couple of websites that you normally check for your courses. Look around- see if you can find the RSS feed on the page and then try and set up your own RSS feed on Edline. I’m going to walk around and check in on everyone. Let me know if you need some help.
Now that we’ve all set up our RSS feeds, I’d like to know if anyone would be willing to share their idea for using RSS in their classroom. (Dialogue) How about any ideas for blogs? What kinds of things do you think you’ll be blogging about? How can you get your students involved? (Dialogue) We have time for a few questions. Is there anything I can answer for you? (Dialogue)
This book is a great resource not only for information on blogs and RSS feeds, but other Web 2.0 technologies as well. I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in integrating more technology into their classroom.
Finally, I’d like to thank all of you for coming today and if you have any questions about using either of these features, please don’t hesitate to come up to the library and ask! Also, if you could please fill out this evaluation form that I am passing out and turn it in before you leave, I would really appreciate it. Thank you!
The New Features of Edline Allison Kurzel November 30th, 20111
Objectives • Define blog • Learn how to utilize blogging in your classroom • Learn how to set up a blog on Edline • Define RSS feed • Learn how to utilize an RSS feed in your classroom • Learn how to set up an RSS feed on Edline2
What Is a Blog? Le LeFever’s video: Blogs in Plain English3
Why Use a Blog? • Easy to use • Easy to update • Can be teacher-controlled • Can be interactive4
Benefits of Using the Edline Blog • Increases student-teacher collaboration • Creates opportunities for learning outside of the classroom • Can promote different types of thinking • Reaches different personality types How can you integrate an Edline blog into your classroom?5
What Is an RSS Feed? Lee LeFever’s video: RSS in Plain English15
Why Use an RSS Feed? • Read newly posted information from multiple sources in one place • Eliminate searching on web pages for the stories you want16
Benefits of Using the Edline RSS Feed • No signing up for another account to get a reader • The RSS feeds stay on your Edline page • Simplicity How can you integrate an Edline RSS feed into your classroom?17