April 17, 2003

A Beginner's Guide to Joining the Instructional Technology Blog Scene

So I’m trying to draw some colleagues into the instructional technology blogosphere and had to write up a primer for folks who are new to the area… like I was a month or two ago. So, as long as I had to write it, I figured I’d throw it up on autounfocus.

Getting In the Game

First things first. You’re going to need an Aggregator. Really. I promise. You’ll drown otherwise. Thanks to Brian for teaching me this.

If you’re using Windows, download and install Syndirella

If you’re using MacOs X, download and install NetNewsWire

There are free versions of both available. Next, download this OPML file and then Import it into the Aggregator you just installed. You’ll get something that looks like this:


And voila! Much of the fast-paced discussion surrounding educational applications of bleeding edge technology is delivered to your door in one easy to swallow capsule. Click around through the feeds in the left pane to see the latest bits published on each site in the top right panel. Click on a title in the top right to see the first 40 words or so of each snippet of content, with the option to link out to the full story.

Don’t be deceived; the list of sites in the OPML file I’ve provided is far from complete - but it should get you started.

Lessons Learned

There are really four big things I’ve learned in my first couple of weeks in this community, and the sooner you know them, the better off you’ll be.

  1. This group moves fast. Like, from initial conversations to working code in one day fast. Pin your ears back and get ready for collaborative knowledge development like you’ve never experienced before.
  2. You can only lurk so long. For “legitimate peripheral participation” to be legitimate, it should move toward full participation. In other words, you should start a blog of your own! I would highly recommend Movable Type if you’ve got the wherewithall to install it. Otherwise, check out Blogger.
  3. It’s a discussion. Post comments on others’ blogs, link to articles you find elsewhere from your own blog, and use TrackBack whenever it’s available. Shots in the dark don’t get us anywhere… Say what you think, and check back soon to respond again.
  4. There’s a whole new set of technologies here. In my intellectual home town, we’re doing semantic web and web services stuff. These guys (and I believe they are all guys, so far as I can tell… what gives?) are into quick and easy (trans. “actually usable”) stuff. Get over acronym fear and read up on RSS to participate in the latest go-arounds.

That’s my brain dump for now. Hope to see you in the blogosphere, and hope that this helps you get here sooner rather than later.

Posted by david at April 17, 2003 03:05 AM | TrackBack
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