Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Infinite Linking Machine: Post of The Month (August 2007)

I've wanted for some time to introduce a more participatory element into the experience of reading the Infinite Thinking Machine. Any reader can comment on any post, which is fantastic, and we've seen some great discussion on the blog lately. Consider the 18 comments in response to Wes Fryer's recent post for example. In that case, the conversation even extended to other educators' blogs. Vicky Davis, for instance, argued against Wes' call for a moratorium on textbook purchasing. (And you'll find another 11 comments on Vicky's blog.)

However, I'd like to see more reader contributions make it into the actual posts here, too. And as wonderful as the original content created by my fellow ITM bloggers is, it would be great to see this blog linking out to other blogs more often. After all, linking to others' contributions and making connections with others online are both an important part of the blogging process.

With these goals in mind, this post marks the beginning of a new series, The Infinite Linking Machine. Each month I will post a brief topic or question and ask readers to submit relevant links to other blogs in the comments. The following month I'll select one of these to be the Post of The Month. The following guidelines will help you choose a post to submit.

Post Of The Month Guidelines
  1. Leave a comment including the following:
    • The address of another blog post relevant to the month's topic. (Please use the permalink for the particular post you are linking to so that the post is always easily accessible in the future.)
    • A brief annotation of the post so that we know why it is relevant and important.
    • Your name (and webpage) so we can give you credit for your find. :)
  2. Submit links to blog posts that you think make a contribution to the edublogosphere (the world of educational blogs) by offering good advice, resources, or discussion that can benefit a wide variety of teachers around the world. (We're not necessarily looking for tech gurus here.)
  3. Submit links to blog posts that you think make connections between ideas and others' work online.
  4. Avoid posting a link to your own blog and avoid any conflict of interest. (For instance, do not submit posts about products or services in which you have a financial interest.)
  5. Most importantly, submit posts that make us feel good about being educators - even if the posts are dealing with difficult questions or issues. And be sure to have fun with it.
August Link of The Month

By way of example, I'll post a link of the month for August. Obviously this doesn't carry as much weight as a post culled from reader submissions and there were certainly many other amazing posts written in August. However, this is something that caught my eye, especially because I've been doing a lot of work related to Internet Awareness, Ethics, and Safety (which we can consider the topic for August):

Changing my Tune - Internet Safety for Students (Via Multi-faceted Refractions.) This is a great approach to Internet safety for students from Vinnie Vrotny, inspired by Steve Dembo. I love the questions Vinnie asks instead of providing students with a list of things they can't do online. His approach also has the advantage of encouraging rather than squelching discussion.

Topic For September

There are already some fantastic posts out there about the start of the school year. Please submit your favorites over the next couple of weeks. If we've got great response, I'll post a winner in early September and start the next contest right away. Note that every submission will be available in the comments to this post, even if it isn't chosen as the Post of The Month. I can't wait to read what you all submit. :)

I apologize in advance to our colleagues in the Southern hemisphere, who may be in the middle of their school year, and to our colleagues on year round schedules. I hope you'll participate and submit your favorite start of the year posts as well, even if they were written months ago.

Image: Educators making connections at edubloggercon 2007. (By Janice Stearns)