Simple, Possibly Effective

In honor of Halloween and returning from the blogging dead, I offer up this post (and so I have an excuse to use the picture above).

I don’t blog much. Never have been consistent. The new job is making it easier to be worse. Lots of ready excuses. I recently found myself only looking through my FFFFound RSS feed and neglecting a lot of other things. It was easy to do. The education stuff made me nauseous and I’d never get to do the pop culture stuff that I liked, so why bother.

In an attempt to remind myself of the things I like about the internet and education (and to remind myself to blog and share content intelligently) I made this aggregation site with the FeedWordPress plugin. It links in all my Delicious additions with a certain tag, my blog posts, and anything I star in Google Reader. So I’m not doing extra work (a tag here or there) but I am providing a single place/feed for a certain audience- in this case ITRTs who work in HCPS1.

This kind of aggregation has some real potential for schools and sharing resources that I’ve rarely seen harnessed. But, more than anything, this will help make me focus on what I am reading and how I am sharing content. I want to remind myself to be doing this with intent. I don’t want to forget why I find this intersection of teaching and the internet interesting. I also want to prove to myself that there is always time for things if you think they are important.

1 I don’t know that any will actually read it but stranger things have happened and having an audience in mind has always helped me.

Comments on this post

  1. Graham Wegner said on November 2, 2010 at 12:37 am

    Tom, I could Google the first acronym (I suppose I could be one of those) but the second HCPS had me stumped. I can relate to the flagging will to blog – a bit like eating bran, you know it’s good for you but it’s easier and tastier to have something else. I wonder if a multi-aggregation feed link that I merely email out to my reluctant staff might be a good way to get them to realise how many talented educators are willingly putting stuff out here on the internet that they can absorb and use. Unfortunately, thinking big picture is something many educators are not prepared to do. I subscribed to FFFFound for a while but that was the feed I couldn’t keep up with so I dumped it in favour of Dan Meyer’s showandtell Delicious feed.

    • Tom said on November 2, 2010 at 10:29 am

      I speak only in acronyms lately. It’s a disgusting habit. Someone had a question about OCR yesterday and all I could think of was “optical character recognition.” Turns out it was Office of Civil Rights.

      ITRT in Virginia is the instructional technology resource teacher. HCPS is Henrico County Public Schools – the place where I work. I will try to keep my copy clean in the future.

      FFFFound can certainly be overwhelming. I believe can subscribe to less than the full force feed but I do enjoy the chaos of it. I subscribe to Dan’s show and tell as well.

      I’m hoping to model that educational thinking should be broad and applied in a variety of contexts totally outside of the traditional concept of educational blogs, that educationally relevant thoughts and media are all around us- that big picture idea. I also know that the Internet can be a lot like FFFFound and turn people off through sheer volume. The goal of my site might be to become something like what Dan’s curated feed has become for you. I’m still feeling it out and I appreciate you helping me do that in a better way.

      • Graham Wegner said on November 3, 2010 at 5:27 am

        Thanks for the clarification. Teachers are well known for their over-use of acronyms and Australian ones are no exception. I must admit I smiled when you mentioned “the traditional concept of educational blogs” – for how long do you think this tradition has been growing? (I know you’ve been blogging longer than most) and educational blogs are still an alien concept to so many teachers. Still, I can appreciate the fact that you don’t want to be another sheep in the edublogger flock and look forward to whatever you choose to share.

        • Tom said on November 3, 2010 at 4:41 pm


          You are right to smile. It is silly. I feel like a grizzled veteran with 7 or 8 years of blogging. I remember when edublogs was incsub . . . and the internet was upstream both ways.

          What I was thinking was that most educators (blogging and non-blogging) seem to have a fairly traditional view of what makes something educational content and even a fairly traditional view of how to use these new tools. In this particular context, with this particular audience, I hope to encourage a broader kind of thought. I want them to be looking outside of education for the things that engage and interest non-captive audiences. How are they interacting? What makes something engaging? What can we take away from that?

          That may just be me trying to force people into my particular mindset of the moment. I’m not sure. We’ll see how it goes.

          Thanks for making me clarify things at least to the muddy consistency that exists right now.

          If you get any job openings for a veteran edublogger down your way let me know, I’ll be on the next plane.

  2. Lana said on November 2, 2010 at 7:15 am

    Thanks for posting that flowchart attempting to explain the internet to a street urchin. Absolutely great!

    • Tom said on November 2, 2010 at 10:36 am

      I love the Internet because it makes finding things like that possible.

      I really want to make one. I’m not sure what would be explained to whom but it would be fun.

  3. Jim said on November 9, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    Thanks for linking me to your aggregation blog, which i am subscribed to, and will now know if you are loving my shit. Cause if you aren;t, I will hunt you down.

    And not blogging, it’s kinda weak. Only people who are looking for excuses don;t blog, real tough individuals, like me, blog regularly because we are badasses by nature. Are you?

    • Tom said on November 9, 2010 at 10:57 pm

      You ever have issues with feedwordpress locking things up? Seems like it kills login for the whole site at times. I change the folder and then put it back and I can get in again.

  4. Jim said on November 9, 2010 at 10:59 pm

    Never had it lock me out from logging in, is there a specific error message?

    • Tom said on November 10, 2010 at 7:34 am

      Nope. Just whiteness. Pure, unhappy, unhelpful whiteness.

      I can log in, it just never progresses further.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks on this post

  1. Bionic Teaching said on April 26, 2012 at 9:53 pm

    […] Back in November of 2010,1 I posted about building a “mother blog”2 to share things I thought might be useful for Henrico ITRTs. […]