The increased attention given to educational applications of weblogs is encouraging and gives reason for hope but I find it difficult to make the leap to the day where weblogs are used by more than just a handful of individuals in their schools. I think the Best Practices gallery will grow rapidly, but many will remain unmoved. How much time should be spent on blog evangelism as opposed to growing our support network and creating more examples of best practices for others to see?
And I know Pat is trying to figure out how all of this is going to shake out as well:
There are sea dragons and wet beasties and minefields waiting for any Enterprise level organization on this disruptive tech ocean. If eBN works right, it will never take on the work of metatag-ing its constituent parts or participants. It’ll stay light, well balanced (ballasted), able to lead a fleet, crewed by a constantly changing bunch of ne’er-do-well early adopters, and able to wander around strange archipelagos and dangerous straits and vast empty windless spaces that require digital rowing.
I know I’ve been falling more to the evangelize, do big things side of this discussion, and I’ve been thinking a lot about why. Some of it, I’m sure, stems from my more fortunate circumstance…I have the support and the money and the general receptiveness to new ideas that I think most of the rest of us don’t. Through my rosy tinted monitor, I forget that what might be easy for me is much harder work for others. The other piece of it, I think, is that I have found so much enjoyment, and reaped so many rewards from my participation in this group and this idea that on some level I fear we’re going to lose our edge if we don’t organize and establish ourselves more formally.
I do believe, both in the technology and it’s adoption on a wide scale. It’s too good of an idea, too good of a classroom tool to stay under the radar for long. (Google buying Pyra is a pretty good indication of the value on a different level.) Yes, we have much to learn and work out. And as the early adopters, we’re challenged to do most of the heavy lifting. I think back to Pam who early on wanted to see the quantitative evidence that Web logs actually improve teaching and learning. At the time I said I was in the “Do No Harm” phase of trying to just see if this works on a technical level. But, we’re past that, I think. We know it works. I know I have to start answering that question more formally…my gut is no longer good enough. And positive student responses are only going to get us so far.
But I guess my vision of eBN encompasses all of that. It’s evangelism, support, hosting, research…one stop shopping for those interested in bringing Web logs into their classrooms, in setting up collaborations, in improving their teaching and their students’ learning. I think that can be done without creating an unruly monster.
Here’s hoping I still have power when tonight’s chat cranks up…20+ inches of snow on the way…