Lucy Gray led a session at MacWorld in San Francisco, and asked readers to respond to these questions. I missed the original call, as I fell behind in my reader. But I do want to respond, and so I figured I would respond both here (and there, albeit a little late.)
- Why and when did you start blogging?
I began first with a blog for my school library, and use it to talk to kids about the SC Book Award Nominees. I was already reading many blogs, actually discovering a whole new world called the blogosphere in Philadelphia at NECC 05. During the summer of 2006 (5/31/06) I launched the library blog (titled @the Northside Library which btw is now defunct since I no longer work there), and then that same school year, birthed my professional one-TechnoTuesday: Cathy Nelson’s Professional Thoughts begun October 1, 2006. I started the school one as a tool to discuss the book award nominees. I did so to expose students to the read/write web, and then a professional one to further my own learning, as I saw what the impact reading other professionals was having on my own learning. Little did I know then I was cultivating a PLN or PLE.
- Do you blog for yourself? Yes and no. I began with intentions to involve students, but in my school environment and teaching situation, I just do not feel it was a successful as I would have liked. But it did not deter me. I even had authors who I was blogging about respond. Then when I began my own professional one, initially I felt I was just echoing my thoughts in my head. But it was therapeutic. I would say that specific bloggers were my catalyst, but I was reading so many it would be unfair to name one or even two.
- Do you use blogs in the classroom? If so, how (briefly)? I used to sponsor book lunches, and one way kids could get invited was to comment on the blog. I still use a school library blog in my current position, but I have to promote it to get student interest and reactions. If I don’t remind kids, they don’t visit and read. That may be just that this is still new to them –that of a read/write tool being available in school. Our kids are just not accustomed to them being open instead of blocked.
- What blogging tools/software do you rely on? I used to like technorati to find edublogs, but I’ve sort of lost interest and trust in it. But it was a tool used to help me find blogs to read. For blogging, I have used Blogger, primarily b/c it was easy. But I went over to Edublogs, and have been there since. I am not 100% happy with Edublogs, but they are listening to my concerns, which is making me interested in staying with them right now. Other important tools I use for blogging are flickr for hosting images (I had no idea how much space I was using in my 100mb of free space for pictures–I wish someone had told me that!) and a reader for reading the blogs I subscribe to. I used Bloglines, but played at Google Reader for a while. I went back to Bloglines, but that may be b/c it was comfortable and well known.
- What’s your most powerful/memorable experience that’s resulted from blogging? There have been several but I’ll note just a few. First memorable experience was having authors of children’s books to respond on my blog. Second, to get a surprise nod in a session I was attending in my own state Edtech Conference. Helping encourage me to blog also was my ClustrMap, which showed me that I truly had a worldwide audience. Last, to be mentioned just recently as a Woman Edublogger of 2007 in a popular blog. WOW.
- What’s your favorite blog? I’m not ashamed to mention my favorite today, as I’ve noticed many have held back here. But my favorite changes every 2 months or so, just as the topics and latest new thing changes too. My favorite blog right now is Dean Shareski’s Ideas and Thoughts.
- What’s the title and url of your own blog?
TechnoTuesday: Cathy Nelson’s Professional Thoughts
Now I suppose I’ll go copy/paste this over at Lucy’s original log post too.