23 things: Part 1 – Blogging

Activity 1 – Blogging

My experience

I created my first blog when I was 15 (1999 for those who want to do the math). There is a lot of personal history tied up with my experience as a blogger. In the early days, there were few options available. My first blog was on LiveJournal, I then moved on to a self-hosted Blogger blog through GeoCities. As soon as I turned 18, I signed up for my own webspace and started experimenting with blog design on the MoveableType platform. I now use WordPress.

As a media format, blogging has come a long way. The early blogging platforms that I experimented with often required some knowledge of HTML and CSS in order to customize the look and feel of my blog, but platforms like Blogger and WordPress have made it possible for just about anyone to set up and maintain a blog.

When I first started blogging, it was as a means of self-expression with little regard for form or style. As I started my academic career, I began to think of my blogging as an extension of my writing, and sought to develop my “voice” as a writer. I now think of blogging as a way of communication and self-publishing, and have come to feel responsible for the content I write (particularly on my book blog). I have also started to consider the means through which blogging can be applied in education and librarianship.

Using blogs in an instructional setting

Blogs provide a great opportunity for expression, but they can also serve a role in an instructional setting. Here are some ways that blogs can be used for information literacy instruction in an academic setting:

  • Students can use blogs as research journals that detail the research process (from choosing a subject to finding, analyzing, and summarizing relevant information). Students will be able to share their strategies and techniques with other members of their class, thereby taking instruction into their own hands and reflecting on what they learn about their personal search strategies and research skills.
  • Blogs can also be used by information literacy specialists to highlight resources available through the university/college library which meet the needs of students enrolled in specific courses. Instructors can coordinate with the information specialist to determine the best resources for students. Students can then comment on the resources that were most useful during the research process, or post questions and concerns regarding their use.
  • Blogging can also provide ESL students, and students with poor writing skills with an avenue through which to practice their writing and improve their grammar. Students are often highly aware of their writing when they know that others will read it; blogging connects them to the process of information creation and dissemination on the web.

23 things

One of my assignments for Information Literacy is to participate in the 23 Things Learning 2.0 project, an activity that was first started in 2007 and sought to educate librarians and other information professionals on the use of up and coming social media and Web 2.0 technologies. At first, I was a bit put out by the assignment because these are technologies that I have long been familiar with and use on a daily basis, but then I realized that the challenge for me is not learning how to use these things, but learning how they can be applied in an instructional setting. So begins my 23 things challenge.

I will be maintaining a reflection journal on my experiences as I complete the assignment and will be indexing my entries under a “23 things” tag.

For more information on the original 23 Things project, visit this link to view SLA’s 23 Things 2010 Wiki, or conduct a Google search for “23 things” (there will be plenty of hits).