weblog tool projects

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Today I had two different graduate students come to me with ideas for blog-related graduate capstone projects (an alternative to theses for our students). How cool is that?

It looks like the first one is going to work on multiple authoring issues associated with Movable Type. Ideally, I'd like a way to create an MT blog that has almost Wiki-like "add yourself as an author" capability. I'd also like a way to easily select among "simple" and "advanced" editing/authoring interfaces. Anybody know of things already happening in this arena?

The second is going to work on a kids' interface to MT blogging. My 8yo, Lane, has expressed interest in blogging--but the standard MT entry environment is not particularly kid-friendly. I'd like a kid-focused interface that keeps things really simple, preferably integrating some of the functionality that plug-ins like MT-Textile offer, but also giving a UI that's really kid-friendly (and kid-tested).

After too many years of supervising yet-another-ecommerce-project, it is incredibly exciting to have students who want to work on the things I really care about. And because our students take classes in everything from programming to database to HCI, we have an incredible opportunity to turn them loose on the LazyWeb and have what they do help the larger social software community.

I've waited a long, long time to get to a point where my personal and professional interests intersected so well, and in a way that has long-term professional potential. I have to keep pinching myself these days. :-)

On the not-quite-such-good-news front, my cholesterol test results came back, and it looks like it's a very good thing that I've made myself publicly accountable on the exercise front. Need to change the diet, too, it seems. <sigh>

1 TrackBack

blogging for kids from accidentals and substantives on October 23, 2004 9:24 AM

A graduate student of mine is thinking about setting up a blog for her son and asked if I knew of any kids who blog. Liz Lawley's do, I think. Are there others? (Makes me wonder about the age demographics... Read More

4 Comments

I for one would really like to see that multiple-author interface. I've experimented a bit with using MT blogs for teaching, but one major constraint is that I'm the only one who can initiate a topic. So once a week I issue a generic post called "The Floor" that's just an open call for comments. Pretty crude.

Regarding blogging for kids, the Human-Computer Interaction Lab here at Maryland has done a lot of work on kids and computing. See in particular the International Children's Digital Library:

http://www.icdlbooks.org

Matt, you could make a new author on your class blog that's just called "Student" or "Guest" or whatever, and let students share it. Or give them individual users, of course, but that could be messy. I've also thought of having a pretty open blog down one column and the teacher-blog in another column.

Mostly I'm fairly happy with the way I do it where students have their own blogs and I try to do the mentor thing as teacher where I blog their blogs, but it takes a lot of time and often I don't actually manage to keep it up. They don't comment the main blog much and are inconsistent about using trackbacks to it, but the conversations between teh students in their own blogs are quite lively, which is great.

Hm.

Blogging for kids is a great idea :) It's great that you've got two such interesting projects happening, Liz!

I can't wait to see a kid-friendly blog environment. My almost 7 year old has a blog that we play around with together, but much of it is too hard for him to manage (we use Manila, not MT--maybe that's part of the problem?). He wants to be able to draw right on the page or in a comment box, at the very least, so that he can illustrate his own stories. Let me know when your student needs a kid-tester!

Just getting started blogging from my cell phone and visiting art museums...http://hiptop.com/read/4/630/ and students writing about various things going on...

 

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This page contains a single entry by Liz Lawley published on March 13, 2003 7:10 PM.

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