Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Best Blogging Practices

Here are some examples of comments from students on sample blogs they investigated:
  • Game On - pictures, video, good mouse-over information, tabs easy for navigating, good contrasts in design colors, content had relevant and plentiful information -Zach
  • Domino's (actually NOT a top blog - but a "blog we could do without")- video demonstrated quality of their product, games, apps, lots of videos, a lot going on,  can share on Facebook and twitter, etc. -Nolan
  • Basketball Jones - Lots of Sports good title, very up-to-date, outlooks on different teams, audio (podcast), videos, photos, news, good name - Anthony
  • The Everywhereist - good conversational style - but used offensive language, easy to navigate, photos,engaging stories - Keri
Based on a study of the Web's "Best Blogs" as exemplars, we compiled a list of "things to look for" in making a good blog - sorting the factors into two categories: visual and verbal.

Easy Navigation
Visual Navigation
Photos, photos, photos
Easy to read font
Good use of white space (not too busy)
Cool logo –
Simple is sometimes better
Social Networking connections

Good Title
Speaks to a topic of interest
Provides detailed information to readers
Useful and relevant links to other resources
Short, but GOOD writing
Provides more detailed info for interested readers
Gives a “behind the scenes” angle
Up-to-date (fresh) content
Connected to other related blogs
Easy access to earlier posts
Identifies blog content by category
Good grammar and writing

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Exploring New Digital Literacies

Our students have dealt with some interesting new approaches to how technologies are shifting and growing to accommodate the literacies demanded in our new digital world. One such example was the "searchable videos" at TED Talks, where a viewer can search the transcript and go directly to that part of a digital talk. You might explore this technology by viewing this talk by Kevin Kelly on technology. (Turn on the transcript in your choice of languages and follow along.)

We will also be exploring how a classroom incorporates real-time digital devices by using Via Response. The students will log-in to to access this digital enhancement of our course. (This element of the course can be accessed by smartphones, tablets, laptops - or even our lab desktop computers, which we will be using mostly.)

AND... since our Digital Literacies Students are now becoming bloggers, they will work together to answer the question, "What Makes a Good Blog?" by exploring the top blogs of the last couple of years:

Friday, January 18, 2013

Blogging: It's What's for Dinner!

In class, CM 410 listened to Arcade Fire's "We Used to Wait," and began discussing the shifts from literacies of the page to literacies of the screen. They explored the interactive version of the song via "The Wilderness Downtown Project," and discussed how "being connected" affects our lives.

Over the weekend, our bloggers will be expanding the functionality of their blogs by adding active blog lists of their fellow CM410 bloggers, and will be posting some reflections on a couple of important articles about digital literacies.

I wouldn't be surprised if some even begin adding other gadgets, like quotes or weather or news - and maybe even adding images to their blog entries. At the very least, they will add hyperlinks to their readings, such as the ones to these articles:

It should be interesting to see what a weekend will bring with our digital explorers.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Springing (digitally) into 2013

The adventure of Digital Literacies begins... 

You are entering the wild world of Digital Literacies for the first time - Welcome!

We will use this blog space - and your connected blogs - for our ongoing class discussion this term. You will link your blogs to those in your class - but you can come here to see what students in the other section are doing - and what those who've gone before have done.

Digi Lit I (CM 410) Students - Take Note - Complete Before Friday's Class:
Getting Started with Blogger

  1. Create a Blogger blog and customize it to your selection of colors, etc. (You will revisit and redesign it many times throughout the course - so just get something you like that is easy to use and easy to read.)  
  2. Watch the Video below. Then think about these questions:
    • When you were a young child, what did you imagine the future would be like? What inventions, improvements, changes?
    • Which of these things have come about so far? Which of these things have not come about? Do you expect some other facets of your vision of the future will come about soon?
    • What things developed that you would never have imagined as a child? What would the "child you" think of this future?
    • What is my experience with digital media - e.g. blogs, websites, social networks, etc.?
After watching the video and considering the questions - post your first blog entry about your thoughts.