"Blogging in the Clouds"by Roland Gesthuizen on October 2010
It was recently mentioned on the ozteachers list that students should only use a particular blogging tool. It raises some important questions in my mind including:
- is this a position statement, recommended policy decision or mandated instruction?
- what is the pedagogical basis and research that underpins this?
- is the scope limited to classrooms or can it telescope to embrace professional learning networks and microblogging?
I use the blogging tool built inside Moodle, there is another inside Ultranet. I use it for the right pedagogical reasons, a full understanding about the issues and at times I appreciate the closed and controlled nature. It is a sandpit that will evaporate after they leave the school. By contrast, I also use classroom tools that overlap with blogging including Diigo, Wikispaces, GoogleReader and more. Even Scratch has a built in blogging tool.
Trying to shackle our teaching by mandating a particular tool is akin to stuffing slippery eels into lunch boxes. After a while we will either give up on eating eel, make-do with cooked tuna sandwiches or just buy our lunch at the shops. It makes as much curriculum sense to blindly stuff things into the curriculum as it did to mandate the teaching of levers in week 3, to supply a universal textbook for each subject or to demand teaching with just over-head projectors.
Using different and new blogging tools in the right ways and for the right reasons; that is hard, but it is the real world.
There has been some talk on the lists about blogging with Sharepoint, Moodle or Edublogs. Whilst a teacher might only be concerned about tools that only work inside schools, consideration could be given to the options that retain student control and owership, long after they graduate or transfer to another school or school system.
With all the space, control and property constraints that a secondary school network imposes on student files, it is going to be harder to justify maintaining access to this work. Cloud based education solutions such Diigo for recording bookmarks and blogging with Edublogs have built into them, a mechanism for students to take over control of the service when they leave school. They could then amend the privay settings to increase their public profile and exposure, backup any items or decide to deleting their work entirely.
I am interested to note that Monash University have taken a similar position and allow students to keep their Monash Google Apps accounts and documents after they graduate, automatically moving them to an alumni category, thus maintaining contact with former students. This is very unlike the old email and network account I once held, that promptly and imediately evaporated the precise moment that I finished my postgraduate studies.
With this post, I do not want to rain upon the fun that people are having with the collaboration tools they may be currently using at school Rather, it is my hope and wish that the scope, potential and life for these can span beyond the years at school.
Yes, learning is messy. So is life.
This is why it should be gently steered by a skilled educator with a hand on the steering wheel, an eye on the horizon and a memory for the current research findings.
but the lifelong attempt to acquire it"
- Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)
Notes:Needs these graphics to be included. Here are some links -Roland Gesthuizen
All have creative commons licenses. We need to identify this, attribute the author etc.