…and in the chaos of five families and 15 kids eating burnt hot dogs and soggy graham crackers, I’ll be thinking about my own Part 2 to Terry’s Part 1: “If the choice to embrace a weblog was just my personal one, then I would not scruple so. But if I, as a teacher, make the choice for others, then I’d better damn well better know why it’s a good choice.” It’s a point very beautifully said, and it reminds me of the many times I said to my teacher/students this week not to create lessons or projects to accomodate the technology, but to think about how the technology can improve what they already do. And that’s the only reason to choose weblogs, because they enhance and improve what we and our students already do, the writing and thinking and communication and collaboration. And because they then give us a vehicle to improve other parts of our teaching, our communication with peers, with parents, with administrators, with professionals and mentors. And because they can build community. (Aren’t we all witness to that?) Terry is right to nail down the “why weblogs?” question. It is the first step, and I’m looking forward to his answer.
And then the other piece, the best tool. Seb says I may be on the verge of “finally blow[ing] my mind”, and Joe is ready to arrange an intervention to a Bloganon meeting on my behalf. I know my search for a kinder, gentler, more classroom friendly system has some people shaking their heads. But I just think that someone can do it without too much effort, and I’m starting think that someone may be Seb. His experiment has already made a huge leap in Manila for me just in being able to edit the nav bar more easily. And now Pat and others (Hey Pat, don’t you have a plane to catch???) are throwing out their dream tweaks, which if we keep doing it and Seb keeps working it and we find some way to make his time worthwhile may just lead to a Manila template that we can standardize for teachers and students and put an end to this nutty search I’m on. I just feel like if we can get it pretty much right today, we’ll have a lot easier time “selling” it tomorrow. Not perfect…Pat is right when he says that we need a bunch of early adopters to push this thing and show us all what can be done. But the tool can evolve as those of us who are self-motivated enough push it, and those in that much larger pool of “please-teach-me-how-to-use-it-but-don’t-expect-me-to-develop-it” types (and their students) reap the benefits of an easy, useful piece of software.
At any rate, it’ll be something to think about in the few quiet moments of my back to the woods weekend.