David Warlick pointed to a series of video interviews with ed tech experts at the recent CUE conference in California, and I happened to check out the one on “Ed Tech Trends” with David Thornburg, Hall Davidson and Peter H. Reynolds. First, let me say it’s a great discussion of what’s happening in the world of edtech, and I’m happy to report that blogs and wikis are at the forefront of the discussion. Go and watch it if you get a chance (a long with the other featuring Steve Dembo and David Warlick.) That’s the good news.
The bad news is that to some extent, I think the conversation misses the point. What got me going was when Hall Davidson said “Blogs are online journals when done right” and then added that it’s “not a format that going to pull anything else out of you” compared to more traditional tools. David Thornburg had an equally lukewarm assessment, and while Peter Reynolds I think got it more than the rest, he didn’t get the chance to articulate it very well. (He also said that he considered MySpace a blogging site.)
Ok, I know. Let it go. The thing that gets me is that none of these three are bloggers of any consistency, at least that I can find. Hall does blog at the Discovery Educator Network, but not very often. And I guess I just wish they wouldn’t opine about the usefulness of technologies that they don’t fully understand. Blogs are much more than online journals when done right. They offer much more than the traditional tools in terms of giving voice, building community, enhancing learning not just from a writing standpoint.
To be fair, all three of these guys grasp what’s happening with Web technologies, and much of what they have to say is right on and, frankly, very optimistic and energizing. They really get the sense of community that these tools can create, and they understand the powerful connections that they can bring about. In fact, the best excerpt from the whole thing was when Peter said that from a teaching standpoint, your colleagues are no longer just the people down the hall. They are teachers in Australia and journalists in Russia and scientists in India. What a very cool, expansive way to start thinking about teaching.
Ok, I feel better now. Back to more fruitful blogging…