I haven’t had much time to play with all the new tools for the openwebpublishing session, but there are some things that I’ve noticed so far. I commented on another participants blog that I still feel connected to Google because I use Gmail all the time, and up until now, have been blogging only with Blogger. However, Flock is capable of pulling together services outside of Google’s realm. I’ll have to admit that I haven’t really been using it yet, out of laziness and love for Firefox. I like WordPress now that I’m a little more used to it, but I want to be able to edit my template (you have to pay to save changes to CCS, right? or host the blog yourself). 43 Places/People/Things is fun, but I don’t know if I’d use it in a class or not. Like Nancy said, I’m not interested in meeting people on the Internet at all, but I’m sure my students might be. There’s many other tools that I’ve used, but I tend to stick to written and photo blogging. I like, no love, the idea of podcasts and videoblogging, but have a hard time keeping myself awake in front of the computer some evenings!

That said, there’s many advantages to creating open learning environments (responding to your comment, Patricia, the first version of which got erased or not posted) for students. Unfortunately, there is little lab access at my current workplace in El Salvador. For example, in the weekly adult program, a term lasts 18 days, 2 hours a day. A class might have 1 hour in the lab each term. And, websites with social tools integrated into them are almost always blocked (supposedly because the TOEFL iBT is offered in the same lab). I found this out the hard way this week. I’d designed a Yahoo!Groups to use with our teacher training course that just started. I took the students to the lab to show them how it worked, only to find out that Groups is blocked.  Most students don’t have Internet access at home, or the time-desire-cash to go to a cybercafe.

When I’ve used blogs as part of classes in other places, students were in general excited to be able to write for an audience other than just me.  Blogging, though, is not blogging if no one reads and comments on what you post.  Participaton is essential, which means that you have to read other people’s blogs and comment, to build up your own network of readers.  Looking back, I don’t think that I focused enough on this aspect of blogging with my students.

Good news for today: I head to Costa Rica very, very early Tuesday morning to present on the basics of blogging at the NCTE annual conference. I’m also looking forward to seeing the workings of the Centro Cultural Costarricense Norteamericano, after almost five months at the Centro Cultural Salvadoreño.  And, here in Central America, when a bus is first-class, they give you food, newspapers, blankets, even champagne sometimes!

Not-so-good news: I’m going to be very behind in my evo sessions after this week.  Also, I posted comments on several of the other participant’s blogs yesterday, but then only one out of five actually posted.  Wonder what happened…