Reading Blogs & Writing Blogs

Bloglines ScreenshotI, along with 25,389 others, subscribe to Quotes of the Day, through Bloglines. Each day I'm presented with four new quotes when I log into Bloglines. If I don't check them everyday, they begin to pile up--but that's ok--I just get to read several days' worth all at once. Anyhow, one of Tuesday's quotes is by Benjamin Disraeli:

"The best way to become acquainted
with a subject is to write a book about it."

More about the quote in a moment... First, let me tell you more about how the quote was delivered to me. Because Quotes of the Day has an RSS feed, thousands of people are able to read its content without actually visiting the site. I subscribe to almost 100 different RSS feeds through Bloglines. I can't imagine trying to visit every source of each RSS feed individually. Thank goodness Bloglines aggregates these feeds into one place where I can easily read the items that are new to me. I can access Bloglines from any computer with a web browser and Internet connection. In fact, I often log into Bloglines from a web-enabled handheld computer or smartphone. Bloglines automatically formats itself for the small screen. Another way to access RSS feeds through a handheld is the AvantGo service. You may be interested in checking out the "Top RSS Readers" for Palm and Windows Mobile from About.com.

Now, back to that quote... I suggest slightly changing the quote to "The best way to become acquainted with a subject is to write a blog about it." I have learned so much about handheld computing, podcasting, and blogging from writing this blog. Blogging is a powerful learning tool involving researching, reflecting, and synthesizing. I have an audience to write for, which guides how and what I write. I'm not alone in blogging about these new learning tools, just check out these blogs. [As a side note, The Indianapolis Star's January 7th article Teachers' New Pet is Today's Technology is about the kinds of educational technologies I focus on with this blog.]

When I co-wrote the book Handhelds for Teachers & Administrators, I certainly became more acquainted with handheld computing. But I've found that blogging is what really helps me comprehend and digest whatever topic I'm writing about. Heck, all these blue links in my blog don't hyperlink themselves! My point here is that if you haven't started blogging yourself, give it a try. And then think about how powerful blogging could be as a learning tool for students. Imagine all of the subjects they could "become acquainted with."