Terry is a webdoggie and admits his secret desire to be “a total geek” with Radio. And I find it interesting/encouraging that he settled on Blogger for his student projects. (BTW, can you post from anywhere when using Radio, or does it have to be installed on the machine you are using?) Sarah weighs in for Manilla primarily for its community building aspects, and I agree with her that that is a huge hole in Blogger. I still come back to this, I know, but all I want is Metafilter, I swear. Give me a page where kids can make entry posts that automatically (much like Manilla here) start separate discussion pages for those posts. Kids can add comments easily, and those comments appear on the page quickly. So one of my journalists can post the lead to her story on the “front page”, and then post the entire story for feedback on the “back page” where readers can then easily post thoughts and ideas. (I’m thinking Amazon here.) Or my essayists can do the same. Or my yearbook staff. Or I can throw out a topic for my media kids that they can jump to and argue about. It seems so easy…and I know my Manilla friends are going to say “WE CAN DO THAT!” But I have to tell you, Manilla just is not that easy. It’s not. I “got” Metafilter first time. I still screw up with Manilla. Why is that?
And I’ll say it again (tell me if I’m ranting…) EASE OF USE is the key more for teachers than kids. You know, we (Terry, Pat, Sarah, etc.) are really INTO this stuff. Let’s not kid ourselves and think that everyone (anyone?) else is even going to care about what it looks like or whether or not we can feed news or update through e-mail or hold chats. If the tool is going to gain acceptance, it’s going to have to be easy. Something where teachers a) see the potential benefits clearly (in my case, audience, feedback, publishing etc.) and b) can learn it and start using it in a couple of hours. Blogger takes literally five minutes to set up and use. There is little or no maintenance if all you are interested in is getting kids publishing and creating a forum for discussion (albeit less than perfect). You don’t have to have a tech person configuring your computer or your server. You don’t need to understand .ftp, .html (well, maybe just a little), .cgi, .rss, .mouse. It just works.