Learner-Shaped Technology

January 30, 2007

Learning in Retirement Blog Class

Filed under: collaborate,education,general,technology — Mike W @ 6:46 am

Yesterday I taught a FULIR (Furman University Learning In Retirement) class on blogging as part of Dr. Lipscomb’s What’s New in Technology Series. I’m really enjoying the opportunity to get back in the classroom, and this was a great group of folks – friendly and very curious, especially with regards to how this technology fit into the big picture. The initial discussion was fostered with some iClicker questions about experience with blogs and familiarity with the term ‘Web2.0’. After a quick overview, we jumped into creating our own blogs.

The time I spent on Friday creating WordPress accounts (wordpress.com) for each participant was worth it. We quickly started creating posts, and I think everyone enjoyed swapping out themes.

theme

Sample WordPress Theme

I’d like to see WordPress simplify adding pictures to a post. What if by inserting a photo into a post, it was uploaded behind the scenes, instead of having to upload, send to editor, etc..? We got through it, but the challenges highlighted the counter-intuitive user interface.

I think a decent portion of the class may keep blogging, based on the questions I was getting after class. Several wanted to know more about feedreaders, so they could consolidate the blogs they have been following.

A couple of things to do differently next time:

1. Track down some mice for the laptops. The trackpad was a significant barrier at times.

2. Provide more detailed, step-by-step instructions for adding / editing a post, and especially adding an image.

A couple of things to keep:

1. The clickers. This helped get a quick, anonymous gauge of experience level.

2. Directions on how to get to the admin panel. Many of the themes either make this link hard to find or remove it altogether, so having this in the handout really helped.

I really enjoyed this and might propose some classes for the spring!

One person commented as they left that they would explore this more the next time they couldn’t sleep. My blog started one morning when I was tossing and turning. I wonder how many blogs have started during a bout of insomnia??

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