Posting has slowed down here of late due to a real sense of overload and burn out, and due to my blogging brain more interested in topics unrelated to Weblogs in education. I’ve got a few other spaces out there that I go to when I need to dump about world and family and anything else that wouldn’t seem appropriate to put here. (Seems like I have to try every free new blog software that comes down the pike…) And to be honest, being the political junkie that I am, this year is probably going to find me writing more about the state of politics in my more private spaces than the state of blogs in schools. Just seems like this election is so very important to the future of my children that I’m going to feel really guilty if I don’t become more of an active participant in the process.
That doesn’t mean the Weblog work here has slowed down. In fact, my “struggle,” if you want to call it that, with what thoughts should go in what Weblog in some ways sheds light on the difficulties the administration here is having in knowing how best to work all of this. My superintendent and board is rightly concerned about the content on the Website and the room for error or misinterpretation when all of a sudden dozens of people are contributing posts. I’ve spent the last couple of days writing a “Process for Posting” that is going through some review, and I’ll post it here once it’s finished. It took some real work to try to meet the concerns of the school while staying true to the more open publishing philosophy behind our move to Weblogs. I’m not sure I’m there yet.
Still, there’s no doubt that my hope for a “trust the teacher/professional for the content” workflow just ain’t gonna happen. That may be as it should, but it certainly brings to earth many of my hopes for what we can build here, at least in the near future. I don’t yet know to what extent the school’s concerns will impact all of this, but I think it might go to the extent of not wanting to have book or movie reviews written by students or teachers on the site because parents may disagree with the review or find issues with the work being reviewed. Not too many people are going to want to contribute in the creative ways that I was hoping if they feel what they write have to jump through all sorts of real and perceived hoops of “correctness” both grammatical and political. I haven’t lost all hope, mind you, but I really wanted our use of Weblogs to be more than just a tool for making announcements.
But I think I’m going to have to finish this soon to be rant in a different place…
This is truly something of concern for me. I’m excited about the new teacher blogs we’re getting moving, and concerned about the implications for us all if just one post on one blog comes to the attention of someone who takes issue with it. I truly hope that we can act like professionals, but as Paul Simon once sang, “One man’s ceiling is another man’s floor.”
Tom Hoffman says
There is a technological solution to the problem, that is, a content management system with better workflow and control over layers of access. I’ll try to post more on my vision for this over at my place tomorrow.
James Farmer says
That’s really sad Will, a typical example of fear triumphing over genuine possibility. I don’t know what I’d do if I were you… probably run off screaming…
Or try to be a bit subversive about it (easier to apologize than ask permission etc.)
The thing that gets me is the ‘anything for an easy life’ approach (i.e. ‘if it upsets a couple of people then we shouldn’t do it’ way of doing).
I really hope that you are able to pursue your ‘hope’ and that you can get past the cranky getinthewayness of middle management!
I know how you feel!
Tom may have a method though… simply adding layers of turn on / off authentication is a way round…
don’t let ’em drag you down :o)
Tom Hoffman says
OK, I wrote my little response finally. I got less optimistic as I thought about it more–with more complex workflows, does the process just become too much of a hassle? The utility of school websites is dubious–how much of the institutional attention span are they really worth?
Will R. says
I dunno…I’m still hopeful. It’s just a slow build because it’s a strange, new beast this interactivity thing. And look, for the most part I have gotten nothing but support for my efforts. I’m keeping the faith.
Now Tom, why don’t you have comments enabled on your site???