A Work In Progress

Monday, January 26, 2009 | 4 comments »

As I try to continue to manage my PLN to meet my needs, I still struggle with the idea that quality is much better than quantity. I know Jen Wagner wrote about this before and I probably did as well (I'm not going to look back for the post), but I was thinking about the blogs I'm following in particular. I'm living in an elementary world. A world where the technology needs of my students vary greatly from those in a high school setting.

I really like my Twitter friends (and my Plurk friends as well). It's a very diverse group of people with a wide range of experiences. Some are elementary classroom teachers, some work with secondary students. Some are tech coaches, coordinators, integration specialists, and whatever else you want to call these do-everything people. Some work in my district and others work on the other side of the world. I'm thrilled with this wide range of teachers and learners.

On the blogging side, however, I'm not so sure I want such a variety. I don't have a ton of time (or maybe I don't want to spend a ton of time) reading blogs that have a focus that's very different from my elementary world. I wonder if I should be focusing on learning more about what's going on in elementary schools and classrooms and less on what's happening in secondary schools. Or, is teaching and learning teaching and learning - no matter what the level?

I'd be curious to know what you're RSS Reader looks like. Is there more emphasis on blogs related to your field or grade level? Is there a pretty good balance between elementary and secondary? Should there be?


  1. mscofino // January 26, 2009 at 11:57 PM  

    This is a constant struggle for me too. On one hand, I love to read feeds from outside my immediate needs - gives me a good perspective and helps inspire me with totally different and new ideas. On the other hand, I know how you feel about time (and I also know the dread I feel when I open up my Google Reader account and see 1000+ new posts to read).

    So, what I've done, which is slightly helpful for me (but I'm always looking for a better solution) is:

    - organize my feeds into folders based on the subject of the blog. This way I can tell that I've read my "priority" feeds first and if some of the others don't get read, I can "mark" them as read, guilt free.

    - I also try to re-evaluate my feeds every few months. If I notice there are some that I never get anything new out of, or some where the content is easily replicated somewhere else, I trash them. It's easy enough to add them back, and they'll definitely float to the surface if they're interesting.

    - I've dropped pretty much all of the "big names" from my Reader because so many of their posts get shared through the "friends shared items" feature in GR that I get the best posts without having to read them all.

    Of course, I'm always evaluating and re-evaluating my system. I change my folders every few months and sort through all my feeds around the same time. I guess I look at the blog aspect of my PLN as a living thing - constantly changing, growing and morphing into what I need, when I need it.

  2. Sue Waters // January 27, 2009 at 12:35 AM  

    My Google Reader is organised into folders. Having folders means that if you do need to mark all as read you aren't marking all posts just the less important ones.

    I try to make reading part of my daily routine so that I don't experience the 1000+ new posts to read.

    I'm very reluctant to remove any blogs from my Google Reader because it is my first search option for writing posts. It considerably faster to find information in Google Reader than to google the information.

    To be honest my biggest drama with Google Reader is the shared friends folder - while I can understand how others find it of value - I personally struggle with it and this is the main folder I will mark all as read.

    In terms of reading - I read a wide range from educators, to non-profit bloggers to people who write about blogging.

  3. Ms. Nolting // January 27, 2009 at 7:53 AM  

    I think this is why I like twitter. On twitter I can follow a variety of people, but need only sip or dip or dive right in to what is being twittered depending on the time I have available. Where I get picky is my blogs. I keep them somewhat diversified but the majority deal with elementary ed. tech. which is my focus. As I see it twitter and blogs allow for the best of both worlds.

  4. Ann Oro // January 27, 2009 at 4:59 PM  

    I have a variety of different teachers in my reader. Back in December you asked how our readers were organized, since I have them by state and country I don't really often mark all as read. (Now that I have the counts hidden it doesn't really matter.)

    The blogs that I tend to read the most do work with the Kindergarten through eighth grade set. I do have some tech folks who mostly work with teachers, K-8 classroom teachers, high school, and even a couple college professors.

    The more I read a blog, the more I know the content. I don't always read The Random Thoughts of Louis Schmier, but I keep it because he has such heart in the way he works with his college students.

    I know there are blogs that I pass up regularly. I skim through them when I have a few minutes. I look at titles and pictures and see what catches my interest.

    I do keep blogs of people I chat with more via Twitter in my reader just because I feel I know them better. Those are the blogs I pass on until I have time.

    My main advice is to keep modifying and playing with what you are doing. You will eventually find a balance that works.

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