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100 Not Out! June 3, 2012

Posted by IaninSheffield in Musings.
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cc licensed ( BY NC ND ) flickr photo by sleepymyf: http://flickr.com/photos/myf/5119580963/

Having reached a century of blog posts, it seemed like an appropriate milepost to pause for thought and take a brief look back.

My first post in October 2009 set out why I made the decision to start blogging and what I hoped to gain from the experience … and those final few words sum it up I guess. ‘What I hoped to gain from the experience.’ I never assumed for one moment that anything I had to say would carry any import for anyone else. If by chance something I pen (keyboard?!) helps someone or challenges their thinking, then that is particularly rewarding, but if no-one comments nor even reads the post, then I’m comfortable with that. The overriding reason behind any post is to help me to crystallise my thoughts, to help resolve conflicting views, to bring order to a chaotic swirl of random ruminations or simply to organise and sequence a set of ideas.

As a brief summary, these one hundred posts:

constitute around 50 000 words (or more than the total number of words I wrote for both Masters’ dissertations combined)

  • have been viewed just under 10 000 times, averaging about 10 views a day and peaking at 152 on June 23rd, 2011
  • receive around 2/3 comments per post (half of which are my replies to people kind enough to take the time comment)
  • quite surprisingly enjoy the majority of their incoming traffic from Google searches, rather than Twitter (though that is a fairly close second)
  • are viewed mainly be readers in the UK

Locations of blog readersThe most popular post by some considerable margin and one which continues to attract regular views arising from Google searches is “30 Skills a Teacher Should Have” and there’s probably a whole post to be written on analysing why that might be.

So are those figures good or bad? Would I be graded Satisfactory or Outstanding? Well for me the figures are no more than a distraction. The value has always stemmed from and will continue to stem from the process not the product. [Would that our education system reflected a similar disposition?]

Mark Harai lists 6 key qualities of a good blog:

  1. Passion
  2. Openness
  3. Engagement
  4. Insight
  5. Encouragement
  6. Similarities

I hope I tick some of those boxes, but as I move forward, I’ll endeavour to maintain quality in areas in which I perform well and strive to improve areas where I could be doing better. Thanks for your company.

Kindle. Noun … or verb? November 2, 2011

Posted by IaninSheffield in Teaching Idea, Tools.
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cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo by ianguest: http://flickr.com/photos/ianinsheffield/6306848571/

Amazon’s recent release of new versions of the Kindle finally tipped me over the edge and I shelled out £89 for the Kindle 4.

Having never Kindled before, I was going to write a detailed review … but of course, that’s ground that has been well ploughed elsewhere (T3, Reviews eBook Readers & TechRadar).

The Amazon Kindle 4 (aka Kindle 4th Gen, Kindle Touchless or just plain Kindle) was announced as a sidenote to the colour Kindle Fire and touch-enabled Kindle Touch. But in many ways it was the most significant of the three, because of its extraordinary price. (TechRadar)

And those who know me well will know how important the last two words there are to me! (Even if we here in the UK are being stung in comparison with our cousins across the Pond!)

So what is there to add? Well after just a week’s use, let’s move past the functions and features and look at what this pocket-sized wonder has done for me. I read books and it let’s me do that very effectively, though it also lets me add highlights, bookmarks, clippings and notes. Further still I can share some of those annotations with the wider world and can check out what others are ‘posting.’ Given that in addition to sharing notes with the public at large, you can also ‘follow’ people of your choosing. That set me wondering if there was any mileage in Language Arts or Librarian colleagues being able to have students ‘share’ their reading experiences with one another? Of course that can be done in class or through a book club, but surely the asynchronous opportunities present an affordance not available from paper-based media?

Perhaps surprisingly though, reading books was not my first consideration in getting a Kindle. It was more about the chance to read journal articles, research papers and even blog posts at a time and place to suit. Getting PDFs onto the Kindle couldn’t be easier really. I can either plug it into the computer with the USB cable (supplied) and drag and drop the files into a folder on the device, or rather interestingly I can email them direct to my Kindle account, which then synchs those files. To get blog posts across, I have been using an online service called SENDtoREADER (registration required, but free) which provides a one-click bookmarklet to send any web page direct to the Kindle – easy-peasy!

So barely a week in and I’m loving the ease of use, from both the reader and user perspectives … and there’s still plenty more to explore!