Education & Blogs @ Les Blogs

Written by James
12
Dec

How many blogs are about run by teachers and professors? The answer is a disaster

I’ve been hanging in on Ewan McIntosh’s “edublogs” (his blog, no relation to the .org) over the last couple of months and he’s been at Les Blogs, especially as part of a panel on Les Blogs where you can watch his panel presentation (.wmv 72Mb). The recorder could do with a shotgun mic but I have to say I prefer film to audio for this kind of thing.

There are some pretty classic quotes in this, including the above. For example the first panellist is introduced as:

one of the few deans who is blogging

the cyberportfolio, it’s a mix between blogs and portfolios

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m in danger of sounding a bit like an exclusive jerk here, but the total & blanket ignorance of what I might describe as the edublogosphere and of the broad and innovative uses of blogs in education over the last 5 years in these kind of forums does worry me. What I write and speak about is almost entirely developed on the shoulders of the amazing work that’s been blogged, published and continues to be practised all over the world. Bloody hell, I’m sounding like Dave Winer (not that that’s necessarily a bad thing ;), but a lot of people need to stop themselves before running off on these “Gee, we figured ‘why not use blogs in education’, aren’t we unique” spiels.

To quote Peter Ford:

Educational blogging consultants seem to be springing up all over the place, some aiming for the guru-status of being paid for hot-air production about blogs and related technology that they never have used at the chalkface.

….but to be fair ;)

I would like to think though that the majority of blogging consultants are driven by a vision to see teaching and learning transformed because their own practice has been transformed.

Who then says about the most relevant thing that can be said about blogs in education at the moment, something that I’m grappling with day after day:

If a weblog is like a polar bear then the best place to see it is roaming free. I worry though that some people are trying to trap and tame weblogs, the equivalent of putting the polar bear into a zoo where the magnificent beast will live out its days repetitively trudging up and down the confines of its cage. Safer it may be in captivity but it was made to be free. Eliminating every risk from our students’ lives is not the role of education in my view. Our job as educators is to ensure that students are digitally literate and cybersavvy so that they are equipped to weigh up risks for themselves. Weblogging offers an authentic platform for real responsibility to be developed in students. Take away the authenticity and you have little that is of use in the classroom and beyond.

[p.s. I know this is old news but it’s been waiting for me to write it forever… thanks for yer indulgence]