March 01, 2008

Review of Literature....I Mean, Blogs

If you've ever had to write a thesis you know there is a step called 'Review of Literature'. It's basically searching high and low for anything and everything that has ever been written on your topic. That's basically what I've been doing for the last month -- reviewing the literature...I mean, blogs. I wanted to see what was out there, how blog authors approached their topic, what topics were discussed, what their 'voice' was, how often they blogged, etc. I know that there have been posts written about the various types of blogs. I've even come across an informative SlideShare entitled 'The 25 Basic Styles of Blogging...'.

Here's what I've come to find:

On the minus side of my 'Review of Literature...I mean, blogs':

1. The blogger who has become extremely cynical of education and technology, showing little (if any) tolerance towards those who do not follow his/her beliefs. I believe these bloggers suffer from the 'Web Messiah Syndrome'.

2. The blogger who writes extensively (some might say 'ad nauseum') throughout the day. Makes me wonder if taxpayers know what these employees are up to. Guess their mantra is, 'Delegate, delegate, delegate'. I find that three-quarters of what is posted in their blogs is beyond my level of comprehension (though I hold two Masters and one Advanced Degree). Maybe it's just that my mind wanders after the first 3 sentences. Purpose of these blogs? Extolling the virtues of their self-worth while insulting the intelligence of the masses.

3. The blogger who regurgitates (read: copy/paste) information from other sites and passes them along. I call these bloggers the 'Wanna-Be RSS Feeders'.

4. The blogger who fills the blog with 1001 widgets. Don't they realize that it's human nature for the eye to wander everywhere EXCEPT where it's supposed to go. On these blogs my eyes drift to the 'live traffic feed' -- why does anyone need to know where the visitors are coming from and when other than the blogger who can get that data from an analytic website. Then there's the 'calendar'...what the reader doesn't have a hard copy calendar or a calendar on their computer? Totaly waste of space. Don't forget the 'Twitter Feeds' -- if a reader wants twits they should sign up for an account. Let's meander over to the 'Recenter Readers'...why would I care? Please explain that one to me. Oh, and my favorite, 'Subscribe by e-mail'? HUH?!? Haven't heard of RSS and Google Reader or Bloglines? Sheesh... By then I'm so exhausted looking at everything that I'm too pooped to read the post. There's 'Death by PowerPoint' there's 'Death by Widgets'.

5. The last one might actually be a fault of my feed aggregator, but why do I get, besides the posts which I want to read, the bloggers links and Flickr photos? Although I must admit that I do cull some valuable information from the links, do I really need to see 50 pictures of a bird in a tree?

On the positive side of my 'Review of Literature...I mean, blogs':

1. The blogger who shares a website or application, but then goes beyond the 'call of duty' and actually tries out the website/application and offers insight as to how this website/application might be used to further our PPLN (Personal/Professional Learning Network) or enhance learning in our classrooms.

2. The blogger who challenges my 'comfort zone' and makes me re-think what I am doing or what I believe. I might not always agree, but I've reached some amazing discoveries as a result of these posts.

My goal? I want to review websites/applications that will directly impact students, give a lay person's/educator's (my) take on it, ponder it's uses in my PPLN/classroom, suggest possible uses and hopefully receive feedback from you, my readers (in the form of comments) on additional ways to use the website/application, thereby making this blog more collaborative. (Yes, I realize that this was a run-on sentence!) I will also occasionally post observations of what I'm seeing happening around me in education, technology, and ed-tech. Will I sometimes take you out of your comfort zone? I certainly hope so.

And remember, we are all in 'Perpetual Beta'.


Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach said...

This post rocks. Thanks so much for writing it with the humor and style that you used- I actually read the whole thing.

I have added you to my feed.