The Great Blogging Challenge

Okay, I’m taking part in Nablopomo (National blog posting month) as part of the November Writing festivities. I’m going to try to post an entry every day, and my participation is dedicated to raising money for the United Way. I’ve challenged the students in my Creative Non Fiction class to take part, and I pledge $10 for every student who will commit to at least 10 entries in their blogs in the month of November. Let’s see how much money we can raise for the United Way!!

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Cinema Politica

Cinema Politica’s first showing is King Corn, which follows two brothers as they farm an acre of corn. In the process they, and we, learn about the ramifications of the increasing industrialization of corn growing in America. Introducing the film will be Don Genova, the coordinator of the group “Slow Food.” Don Genova writes food columns for the CBC, and has written/produced a film called Islands on the Edge which is about food security on Vancouver Island. He’ll be showing clips of that film on Wednesday. You can read more about him and listen to his podcasts at his website, Pacific Palate.

Wednesday, September 23, 7:00 pm. Camosun College, Young 216.

Extend the Discussion with Blogs

As I wrote in an earlier post, if I had to choose one Web 2.0 tool to use to enhance my classroom practice, it would be the Blog. Today, I’m giving a presentation on Blogging for some of my colleagues at the college, which has led me to put some of my thoughts into rather more focussed points: what exactly are the pros and cons of blogging in education?

You can find the outline of my presentation on SlideShare

You might recognize some of the points in my “reading” and “writing” pages for students and instructors as adapted from a matrix created some years ago by my friend Scott Leslie. I am constantly enriched by the activities, both online and otherwise, of my local cohort of ed-tech gurus, starting, of course, with our own Clint Lalonde.

A very interesting article from The American Historians Association
debunks some of the myths surrounding blogging.

Blogs Mentioned in Presentation

Cabinet of Wonders
Mirabilis.ca
Science Blogs (a blog that also lists and links to other blogs)

Recommended Blogging platforms:

WordPress I like WordPress for its clean, professional, look. It is not the most user-friendly of the blogs, so I might suggest it for more advanced users. It also does not lend itself quite so well to community or collaboration as does LiveJournal.

Livejournal is unfairly dismissed by the ed-tech elite as too “cutesy” and “teenage angst ridden” – like any of the blogs, the content determines the quality. There are as many thoughtful and serious writers in LJ as there are on any platform, and LJ is without parallel for its aggregation tool – the built in “friends page,” which allows a one-stop shopping place for students to find each-other and for you to find them.

I don’t recommend allowing students to choose different blogging platforms, as it becomes too complicated for commenting. Thus, I have tended to choose LiveJournal for student work and I maintain my own “professional” blog here on WordPress.

Edublogs is a WordPress type blogging service set up for educators.

You’ll notice that I haven’t mentioned Blogger. I find it the least user-friendly of the top three services, and don’t find it as customizable as either LJ or WordPress.

Spread the Word

This fabulous video was made as a class assignment by a Camosun student. It’s an extremely effective presentation on an important topic. Let’s see it rise in popularity on YouTube!

Creative Writing Launch

Last night, the English Department at Camosun College celebrated the official launch of their already successful creative writing program. The evening featured open mic readings from the public, followed by “feature” readings by selected students of the “Class of 2008.” The readings ranged from hip hop poetry to a sonnet, with everything in between – a little bit of a play, part of a story, a creative non-fiction piece with help from “plants” in the audience. It was all extremely professional; the representatives in the audience from our financial sponsors must have had no doubt that their money will be well spent.

It was also the launch of an exciting new online journal, Beside The Point. It will be run by students, for students, and will provide a venue for up-and-coming writers. It is now welcoming submissions for its next edition.