Now that my blog is apparently famous (still not sure I buy that one), I’ve spent some time figuring out what it will take to make it more famous (it’s true what they say – fame is addicting).
I’ve discovered a couple of things in trying to make my blog more attractive, user-friendly, and search-engine-friendly. The first one has some serious relevance to education – particularly to topics like collaboration and social interaction. One thing I noticed in actually paying attention to blog stats is that the more I am reading and commenting on other blogs, the more hits this blog seems to get. Hmmm…an interesting theory: the more I go out and interact with others, the more they come and interact with me. I wonder if students could learn something from this.
The other interesting thing I’ve learned is that, in order to have an engaging and efficient presence on the web, it’s become almost a necessity to understand a little bit of html code. One example is the AddThis buttons I just added to replace my “Meta” links. In order to put those onto the sidebar of my blog, I had to insert html code into a text widget. The same goes for images in the sidebar. Another example is trying to put a Voki on my class webpage: in order to do this, I had to look into the source code instead of the visual editor and paste the Voki code in the right place. For me, this wasn’t too difficult – I have a very basic understanding of what html looks like.
For others with less computing experience, however, this is a daunting and, often, terrifying ordeal. I helped a couple of teachers with the Voki thing and they had no clue what I was doing. I imagine the same is true of most students I teach. As the internet continues to evolve past Web 2.0, I am beginning to think that users are going to need to know some basic html code if they want to be contributors on the internet. In other words, it seems that html coding is going to be yet another 21st century skill.
I guess the question I have to ask is simple: are we preparing students to use this 21st century skill? Obviously if it really is something students will need to be able to do, and we say students need to learn those skills, we need to teach them somehow. Apart from a class on computer programming, anyone have any ideas on how to do this? Maybe have them format an essay in html?
I tried to make the title clever and have the “br/” in angle/pointed brackets (some nerd humor). Sadly, it gets blanked out of the title… 😦 So I have to leave those up to your imaginations…like I said – very basic understanding of html.