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Creating My Learning Log
February 1, 2015
Creating a learning log counts as an integral part of the work that we as EdTech students do. Although I have created some version of this activity every semester, it was only this semester that the reason why clicked. Aside from needing to introduce myself to new classmates, this activity gets the the heart of many of the concepts we've studied, including redundancy, directive lesson planning, and possibly even guided discovery. As is the case when we use the knowledge we gain from one blogging platform to help us understand a different blogging platform.
In this post, I will discuss:
The link between what I read and how it applies to the assignment
A history of my prior learning/ knowledge
The steps required to create this blog/ website
How this lesson aligns with AECT standards
How This Blog Ties in With the Reading
One of the first elements that I need to speak about is how setting up this learning log touched on the near and far transfer concepts. It also highlights the fact that many of us will come in with more knowledge/ experience than others, depending upon where we are not only in our EdTech degree, but also even in terms of how much we use technology in our day-to-day life.
Setting up the blog as a website utilizes the near transfer concept quite a bit. There are certain basic steps that need to be taken in order to create a blog post and a resulting website from it. Much of the time, these steps are very similar across the platforms.
Course Design and Prior Learning/ Experience
Here, I had a bit of an advantage, because I already had a website, which I built using a template on Wix.com. It's similar to Weebly. I liked it, because it had hundreds of different website templates, so I wouldn't completely have to design my website's look. I picked one -- months ago when I was working on my book project with Dr. Lowenthal -- and changed some elements using Photoshop until it reflected the look I was going for.
Part of my work with Dr. Lowenthal did include keeping a blog. It's still here. I'm adding to it now for this assignment, which means I must digress a bit from near transfer to speak about my prior knowledge level. I need to do this before going on with my discussion about the assignment at hand.
One of the factors that instructors have to deal with is the varying levels of prior learning students bring into class with them. While I'm sure that there are many people in class who have more knowledge than I do when it comes to this sort of thing, I know also that I bring a lot to the table. And the fact that I already had a website that I created (prior knowledge) will change how my assignment manifests compared to others in class.
In this, the lessons from the book converge. Here's what I mean by that. On the most basic level, learning how to set up the blog falls into the near transfer category, meaning that the steps for setting up a blog, at least in my experience, are very similar across platforms. There are some differences between them, but basically, symbols like
All of them look the same or similiar, regardless of the platform.
As you can see, there are some differences across the platforms. That said, the symbols are still pretty intuitive, making the transfer of skills relatively simple.
The Steps to Creating a Blog/ Website
For many people, blogging is the first introduction into website creation. What makes platforms like Blogger or WordPress so enticing is that you don't have to know anything about HTML to set up a basic blog/ website. The act of creating the blog creates the website, too.
In my case, setting up my website was a bit more complicated, although in theory it didn't need to be. Because Wix.com, like Weebly, has templates, I could have just left my website's look the way I found it. The template was pretty. However, I needed to make it so it fit my brand as a writer, so I did some basic things to change it.
While I won't go into everything here about how I worked with my site to personalize the template, because the process would be too long, I will cite some of the things I did to make my website look the way it does before I go onto explain how I create my blog posts:
I designed the background of my website in Photoshop.
I found images on public domain sites like Creative Commons and Project Gutenberg (the fairy tales plus the keys)
I found a YouTube clip from the fairy tale "King Thrushbeard," the fairy tale on which my novel is based
I designed the header in Photoshop
I set up my blog using the one that came with Wix.com
This certainly isn't a comprehensive list. It took me months to set everything up, but that gives you an idea. That said, the act of creating my blog posts are pretty similar to how I have done them in all the time that I've kept a blog. Below, you'll find the steps that I use to create any kind of blog post.
Whether I used Blogger or whether I used Wix.com to create my blog, my steps are usually the same. I
start with an idea, which I capture in some sort of document. I never type a blog directly into the blogging interface; I've lost too much work that way in the past. Lesson learned...
I then copy and paste my finished blog post into the blog interface. On the Wix.com screen, it's gray. On Blogger, it's white. If I were not fulfilling a class assignment, I would come up with an SEO-friendly title so that people looking for the subject I'm writing about could find it.
However, the parameters for the title are set, so I would then title it "Creating My Learning Log."
For me, the next stage is always adding relevant cross-links between posts if I can. This assignment made it easy. I had to create an "About Me" page, so it's logical to link to it now.
Once the cross-linking is done, I went back through the blog that I had written and added subheads.
Add relevant pictures/ graphics. In this case, I added the screen shots of the two different platforms and compared them.
Create a relevant keyword list.
Find relevant videos if possible. In this case, I'm opting to add a basic YouTube video about blogging in Wix, because most of my classmates won't be using the platform. It'll provide a good introduction to how Wix.com works and make the post more interactive.
Check work. Publish the blog post.
Again, because of the constraints of this blogging platform and because it's easier to consume information in smaller chunks, I've made a final posting about how this assignment fits into the AECT standards. Click here to read that.
How This Ties in With the AECT Standards
Here's how the AECT standard reads:
2.1 Creating--Candidates apply content pedagogy to create appropriate applications of processes and technologies to improve learning and performance outcomes
Here's how it's applied in this case:
Regardless of what platform I'm using, writing about how I create a website from a blog fits into the AECT standards, because I'm using digital media to record my learning and to create a presence on the web. I will benefit from this, but others reading this blog will benefit as well. In this way, writing this blog both allows me to engage with the material to better learn it and to become the teacher for others who want to learn about these concepts.
Readers of the blog can interact with it by studying the graphics, reading the text, and applying the step-by-step lessons to creating a blog/ website. If they create a blog/ website from my instructions, then they are engaging with the lessons and learning how to interact with the media platform I'm using.