Category Archives: Blogspot

Google for Educational Contexts

Interesting wishlist, over at tbarrett’s classroom ICT blog.

11 Google Apps Improvements for the Classroom | ICT in my Classroom.

In a way, Google is in a unique position in terms of creating the optimal set of classroom tools. And Google teams have an interest in educational projects (as made clear by Google for Educators, Google Summer of Code, Google Apps for schools…).
What seems to be missing is integration. Maybe Google is taking its time before integrating all of its services and apps. After all, the integration of Google Notebook and Google Bookmarks was fairly recent (and we can easily imagine a further integration with Google Reader). But some of us are a bit impatient. Or too enthusiastic about tools.

Because I just skimmed through the Google Chrome comicbook, I get to think that, maybe, Google is getting ready to integrate its tools in a neat way. Not specifically meant for schools but, in the end, an integrated Google platform can be developed into an education-specific set of applications.
After all, apart from Google Scholar, we’re talking about pretty much the same tools as those used outside of educational contexts.

What tools am I personally thinking about? Almost everything Google does or has done could be useful in educational contexts. From Google Apps (which includes Google Docs, Gmail, Google Sites, GTalk, Gcal…) to Google Books and Google Scholar or even Google Earth, Google Translate, and Google Maps. Not to mention OpenSocial, YouTube, Android, Blogger, Sketchup, Lively

Not that Google’s versions of all of these tools and services are inherently more appropriate for education than those developed outside of Google. But it’s clear that Google has an edge in terms of its technology portfolio. Can’t we just imagine a new kind of Learning Management System leveraging all the neat Google technologies and using a social networking model?

Educational contexts do have some specific requirements. Despite Google’s love affair with “openness,” schools typically require protection for different types of data. Some would also say that Google’s usual advertisement-supported model may be inappropriate for learning environments. So it might be a sign that Google does understand school-focused requirements that Google Apps are ad-free for students, faculty, and staff.

Ok, I’m thinking out loud. But isn’t this what wishlists are about?


Views and Feeds

Yep! One of those blogposts about blogging.

This is somewhat interesting. For some reason, I’m getting much fewer daily views on this blog but I’m getting a lot more feed views, a good proportion of which come from Google Feedfetcher. Maybe WordPress.com has changed its usage statistics to switch Feedfetcher to feeds instead of views or maybe it’s just a coincidence. But it’s fun to think about what happens with this blog.

Actually, I feel I’m getting more interaction with readers, which is what I’ve been missing. I still won’t constrain myself to writing very short blog entries, but I like what this blog is giving me, at this point.

OTOH, I have been posting just a bit more than I used to on some of my Blogger/Blogspot blogs:

Part of the reason I blog there more is because of ease of use. Since Google is so ubiquitous, some sites make it very easy to blog an item on Blogger. I mostly tend to use bookmarklets but I’ve been trying the “BlogThis!” buttons on some services, like Flickr and DailyMotion.

Of course, none of this should get in the way of the work I have to do (which is, in fact, quite a bit). And it still doesn’t.

I’ve also spent a bit more time on Facebook. Not much (maybe an hour a week) but it does shift my online activities a bit.

All of this relates to my notion that blogging and other participatory aspects of the online world should merge. In fact, I kind of like the fact that I can insert blog feeds in Facebook and Moodle


Comment Tracking

Oh!

Just found out about coComment, a comment-tracking system with a Firefox extension and a bookmarklet for other browsers. It seems to work on both WordPress (including WordPress.com) and Blogger (including Blogger beta) blogs.

Found it through the ecrivains.org blog.

As always, I get very excited at first when I first discover a new tool. This one isn’t necessarily earth-shattering, but it can work very well indeed.

In Firefox, it adds some functionalities to commenting boxes, including a del.icio.us-like tagging system. You can then keep track of posts on which you’ve left comments. Some blogging platforms allow you to receive email notifications when new comments have been posted. But this seems even more useful.
We’ll see.


Blogspot v. WordPress.com, Blogger v. WordPress

Blogspot Does Not Scale With My Life at A Fool’s Wisdom

My comments:

Blogspot isn’t perfect and WordPress is quite good. But Blogger beta does have some redeeming qualities, including category-like labels. The advantage these labels have over WP categories is that labels can be sorted by frequency instead of being listed alphabetically. Also, you can simply type a comma-separated list of keywords and these will be added as labels. The full list of labels is available but it’s hidden by default. With WordPress.com, adding categories can be an issue. It actually takes time to do on my decent DSL connection. In terms of basic reasoning, WP categories are really categories (you classify posts). Blogger’s labels are more like labels, tags, or keywords: you specify what your post connects with.
While it’s true that Blogger beta doesn’t have an export feature yet, other blogging systems should be able to import Blogger entries, once the new APIs are released. In fact, the cool way to do it, IMHO, is to use a standalone editor like ecto to repurpose your posts. Since the new APIs for Blogger haven’t been released, ecto can’t download Blogspot entries, but it’s certainly going to be a possibility quite soon.
Since Blogger accounts are quite common, commenting on somebody else’s blog can bring more comments to your own blog. WP.com tries to do the same thing and the tag surfer is quite cool, but so far comment traffic on my blog has been very low.
The other thing that is nice about Blogger is that, contrary to WordPress.com, it’s not a simplified version of a full package. WordPress makes a visible effort to add functionalities to WP.com (WP MU) but it’s still meant as a way to push people into WP. Installing WordPress is very easy and anyone with server space should use it on their own server. (That’s what we do for our <a href=”http://blog.criticalworld.net/”>academic blog</a>.) But for those who don’t have server space, WP.com can be slightly frustrating as the documentation, forums, community, plugins, and neater features are really meant for your own WP installation.
Now, don’t get me wrong. WP.com has been quite nice to me in the past few months. In fact, my main reason to move from WP.com to Blogger would be if my Blogger/Blogspot blog got more comments than my WP.com one. Otherwise, unless Blogger comes with very compelling features (like integration with Google Measure Map, Calendar, Spreadsheet, Writely, Gmail, etc.), my WP.com blog will remain my active blog.

Thanks for your comment on my blog!!


New WordPress

Just started to try out this new version of WordPress. Been working on a blog for a research project on "Thinking Globalization Through Music."
WP 2.0 seems pretty neat. The interface is better, more efficient. Several features added directly to the post-writing page.
Like the fact that it's freely hosted. Good way to try out a few things. The hosted version is pretty barebones and we can't install plug-ins, but it's pretty decent. Certainly on par with Blogspot (Blogger) in terms of simply hosting and a bit more convenient as a way to publish posts. Still can see value in hosting it ourselves.