Revisiting Your Blogroll

I actually blogged about this last summer after Building Learning Communities 2008 (BLC08). But it’s something that has resurfaced with me. I find myself reading a lot of new blogs (or at least new to me) lately and checking out many blogrolls. So the questions that come to mind are:

  1. Does the blogger really read all of these blogs?
  2. When is the last time they updated their blogroll?
  3. Why has this blogger included these particular blogs in his/her list?

Let me explain.

Does the blogger really read all of these blogs?
Some blogrolls are pretty extensive. I wonder if bloggers don’t want to hurt anyone’s feeling by not including them. Possibly they are trying to fill up real estate on their page. Perhaps even they really subscribe to all those blogs in their reader. There are several bloggers out there that have different blogrolls. Scott McLeod has a list just for “Blogs That Deserve A Bigger Audience”. Liz Davis has a list just for “Technology Blogroll”. Some even have lists for their student blogs like Wesley Fryer.

When is the last time they updated their blogroll?blogroll
I am very curious when I look at someone’s blogroll who links to a particular blogger frequently and yet doesn’t list them. It makes me wonder if their “roll” is neglected. It is a separate section of a blog, so I understand that when one goes to post, you wouldn’t exactly think to update it. It’s time consuming to make sure that the title of the blog and the URL are entered correctly and that you have in the list those blogs you want. But your subscribers and visitors are counting on you.

Why has this blogger included these particular blogs in his/her list?
This takes me back to Educon 2.1 this past January. Liz Davis and I ran a session on Equity Issues in the Blogosphere. Some mistook our equity to mean gender equity, but if you look at the session recording, it was far from it. Bud Hunt made a great suggestion the evening before the session to change the title to “Equity in Your Blogosphere” – which made all the difference. Who do you read? Are you reading from all different points of view? Classroom teachers, administrators, people of color and different nationalities, both genders, math teachers, language teachers, high school teachers? I could go on with the list. Do you have a diverse blogroll? Are you getting more than just one point of view?

So, I have revisited my blogroll. I prefer to keep mine kind of on the short side. But these are blogs that I subscribe to. There are others that I read through Tweets and other recommendations. I’m sure I’ll revisit it again soon. Hopefully it won’t take me another year.

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Seven Things You Don’t Need to Know about Me

Liz Davis tagged me in this meme. I figured that it would be a great topic of conversation as my husband and I prepared for the family to come for Christmas dinner. It was pretty entertaining to create the list as we peeled shrimp, sauteed various vegetables, and worked to keep the kitchen clean and the kids occupied.

Seven Things You Don’t Need to Know about Me

1. I was always envious that my cousin had a lavender room when we were kids. I fulfilled a childhood wish by selfishly painting my daughter’s room lavender.

chocolate

2. I actually dropped a math course in college because the professor lectured using his middle finger. (The professor was rumored to have been the inventor of AstroTurf, but I’ll admit that it wasn’t until I wrote this that I finally confirmed that false.)

3. My first career out of college was in book publishing.

4. My second career out of college was in financial services. But I moonlighted as a cannoli stuffer in my then boyfriend’s (now husband’s) pastry kitchen.

5. I met said husband at a photo copier. He was making copies. (Don’t you remember the Saturday Night Live skit with Rob Schneider?)

6. My husband accuses me of favoring Dirty Dancing as my movie of choice, but it’s really Clueless.

7. My parents had my brother and I convinced we were allergic to chocolate growing up. When I got to college, I became a chocoholic – and lived to tell about it.

Here are 7 more bloggers that may have 7 things to share:

AJ Kelton

Clif Mims

Kern Kelley

Erica Hartman

Angela Maiers

Lisa Durff

Cathy Nelson

ThumannResources gets the Bronze at the 2008 Eddies

Emanna Romano looking at her blog nominations in SL
Emanna Romano looking at her blog nominations in SL

It was, in all honesty, an honor to be nominated by Liz Davis and Kevin Jarrett in two categories for the 2008 Edublogger Awards. I never thought that I would win. I actually predicted that Angela Maiers would win for Best New Blog and she did. We started our blogs at just about the same time and hers is so chock full of quality and meaningful resources and information that I knew she was sure to be awarded the honor. Among the other 13 nominees was also Human, which came in second and a host of other Edublogs that deserve a read.

I also really enjoyed the experience of the awards ceremony. (I had to attend – it was an excuse to go shopping in Second Life.) I commented in the EdTechTalk (which incidentally won for Best Use of Audio) that it was difficult to simultaneously manage the chat in EdTechTalk, the chat in Second Life and the audio which I was listening to through iTunes as the quality was better than in Second Life. But it was worth the multitasking, to be able to communicate with everyone that came to participate in the event. I especially enjoyed my time with Riptide_Furse who represented the DEN for their award, Best Use of a Virtual World.

Everyone in the chat and the audience at the awards were very supportive of all the nominees and Josie Frasier did an excellent job MCing the event. Should you have missed the hour-long ceremony, you can go back and view the video or chat logs at EdTechTalk. You can also see the pictures that I took as I posted them on Flickr. (They’re a little biased though, I will admit.)

eddies-awards-ceremony_005
Emanna Romano and Joyce Story waiting for the Awards Ceremony to begin.
ThumannResources takes the Bronze!
ThumannResources takes the Bronze!
The After Party at Jokaydia
The After Party at Jokaydia

My Google Reader is Growing: The 2008 Eddie Nominations are Posted

bestnew

The other day when I posted my nominations for the 2008 Eddies I really didn’t give much thought to my own blog. I really wanted to give credit where it was due to some of the other blogs that I read on a regular basis. I wish there had been more categories or you could vote for more than one blog in the same category.

I was so psyched when Liz Davis nominated ThumannResources for the Best New Blog category. Her kudos mean a lot to me as I admire her techno talent and her philosophy on how technology should be embedded in education and professional development. That must be why I spend so much time reading her blog and linking to posts that I feel people should read. I even nominated Liz’s post on the Ten Tips For Growing Your Learning Network” for a 2008 Eddie.

So, have you stopped reading my post yet and gone over to this awesome list of edublogs? These are blogs that you should stop and take a look at. Here are the categories:

1. Best individual blog

2. Best group blog

3. Best new blog

4. Best resource sharing blog

5. Most influential blog post

6. Best teacher blog

7. Best librarian / library blog

8. Best educational tech support blog

9. Best elearning / corporate education blog

10. Best educational use of audio

11. Best educational use of video / visual

12. Best educational wiki

13. Best educational use of a social networking service

14. Best educational use of a virtual world

15. Best class blog

16. Lifetime achievement

bestresource

I have to admit, that I was honored when Kevin Jarret nominated ThumannResources for the Best Resource Sharing Blog category, but as Kevin pointed out on his blog, I even nominated Larry Ferlazzo. Take a look at the nominations in this category. You’ll see Kevin’s and Larry’s and many others worth perusing. I highly recommend reading Miguel Guhlin and Silvia Tolisano‘s posts and I myself am going to look into the other nominations, some of which are new to me.

If this is your first time here, thank you for stopping by. I hope you’ll come back again to read my next post and consider leaving a comment so that you can participate in the conversation.

If you’ve been here before, thank you for your support and please leave a comment so I know who you are. 🙂

P.S. Please consider voting for ThumannResources in the Best New Blog category. That would be great.

An Update to the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA)

OnePlusYou Quizzes and Widgets

“Education, not mandatory blocking and filtering, is the best way to protect and prepare America’s students.”

Joint Statement of ISTE and CoSN Hailing Passage of Internet Safety Education Legislation

Recently, there have been some changes to the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA). In talking about CIPA with some local educators, I was surprised to find that many were not familiar with what CIPA calls for. So I thought I would take a couple of minutes to revisit how it might be affecting you and your district.

CIPA imposes a few requirements on any school or library that receives funding for Internet access or internal connections from the E-rate program. The purpose of the E-rate program is to make communications technology more affordable for eligible schools and libraries. Through E-rate, these schools get discounts on telecommunication services, Internet access, and internal connections.

Schools and libraries subject to CIPA:

  • Must certify that they have an Internet safety policy including protection (to block or filter) pictures that are obscene, pornographic or harmful to minors.
  • Are required to educate minors about appropriate online safety including cyberbullying and interacting with others on social networking sites and in chat rooms
  • Are required to adopt and enforce a policy to monitor online activities of minors
  • Are required to adopt and address a policy implementing
    • access by minors to inappropriate content on the Internet
    • the safety and security of minors while using e-mail, chat rooms or any form of electronic communication
    • unlawful activities (hacking)
    • use of personal information regarding minors
    • restricting access of materials deemed harmful to minors

Recently, the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) and the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) urged Congress to update CIPA to include requirements regarding appropriate behavior on social networking and chat room sites.

In a joint statement from ISTE’s and CoSN, they said “the Internet contains valuable content, collaboration and communication opportunities that can and do materially contribute to a student’s academic growth and preparation for the workforce”.

Are you educating your students on how to keep themselves safe while online? Are you taking advantage of the valuable content the Internet has to offer? Are you using the collaboration and communication opportunities to aide in your student’s academic growth and prepare them for the workforce?

Or are you (or possibly your technology department) just filtering out what has the wrong label, tag, keyword, or look to it.

Challenge: 30 Days to Being a Better Blogger

Today is day 1 of Steve Dembo’s 30 Days to Being a Better Blogger challenge. I’ve decided that I will give it a go. According the comments left on his blog, there are over 60 other educational bloggers up to the challenge. I’ll post a link to the wiki (I believe there is going to be one with more information about who is involved) as soon as I find it. In the meantime, here’s what Steve wrote that convinced me to join in:

“I’ve sketched out 30 ideas for Being a Better Blogger. These are not tips like “Make it personal” or “Focus on quality”, these are ideas for doing things to improve your blog and address all the little details people generally forget about, ignore, or never knew to do in the first place. Every day I will post a new tip/challenge for you to try. Whether you’re a new blogger or tenured, I encourage you to join along with me and use the month of November to be a better blogger.” – Steve Dembo

I’m always looking to learn something new and if this can help make me a better blogger, publish some of the posts that I have had as drafts for longer than I’d like to admit, and make my blog more appealing to other educators, then these 30 ideas from Teach42 are going to be worth tracking.

Consider joining us if you’d like. Just make sure to tag all your posts 30D2BBB.

The One Thing I forgot To Talk About At EduBloggerCon East

EdubloggerCon East blew me away yesterday.
I was so impressed by the educators that dedicated their day to joining our gathering at the Newton Marriott. Alan November graciously arranged for a room for us for the day and the accommodations were fantastic (including the wireless access).

I know many of the EBC attendees will be blogging about the day and you can view our notes on our Google Doc. Also, in the next few days, we’ll post a link on the wiki to the archived UStream and I’ve posted the Wordle that we tried to make yesterday here as well as in our Group on the BLC Ning. (I had fun Joyce!) But most importantly, I’d like to take some time to post my thoughts on the one idea I neglected to mention.

Over really yummy Mexican food, I looked at Liz Davis and said, “I just remembered what I wanted to ask everyone!” I wanted to have a conversation about what makes a blog worthy of being listed on your blogroll. I’ve noticed that some edublogger’s blogrolls have gotten quite lengthy. Some are even categorized. Mine on the other hand is quite short and is missing many blogs that I read on a regular basis. So I’ve gone in before posting this to fix that. I’ve also eliminated some of the blogs that I really haven’t been dedicated to reading.

Now that I’ve updated mine, I thought I’d share with you why I listed the blogs I chose. These are the blogs I have subscribed to in my Google Reader. They should give someone reading ThumannResources an idea of who I interact with and what topics I’m interested in reading. For the most part these bloggers are part of my PLN.

Questions for you:

Why do you share your blogroll?

Who’s blog is listed in your blogrroll that your actually read on a regular basis?

Who’s blog is listed in your blogroll that you really don’t read?

What other reasons are there that would cause you to list someone’s blog in your blog roll?