It’s getting harder and harder to keep up with all of this. I’ve been utterly amazed at how fast all of this is moving in terms of Web logs and RSS and all sorts of other new relevant technologies like trackback and their potential uses in the classroom. I really wish I had the technical brain to understand it all without having to read stuff over and over again. My brain lists heavily to the right.
George and David and Seb and others are pushing my attention and thinking into other areas like learning objects and open source education which I find interesting but hard mental work. When David titles a post “Most Important Post of the Day” I read it. And then I read it again, and then I start to get it and I understand that if we were to start a repository of our own learning objects that we could feed those posts through RSS and that we could interconnect our commentary and use of them through Track back. (Concept here. If you haven’t checked out what Maricopa Community Colleges are doing, you should.) (BTW, I really wish UserLand would develop that for Manila…)
The concept of repositories is very cool to begin with. The concept of say an English teacher being fed new lessons as other English teachers post them is even cooler. The idea any discussions on implementation or modifications can be tracked with that lesson is yes, even cooler. But all of it is overwhelming.
The point to me in my mostly Web log world is that it really is much more than publishing and classroom management. It really is about knowledge management in ways that most people here have never even conceived or thought possible. The planning and implementation is huge, and it requires a seismic shift in the way we do things. Web log as Web site is step one in the process, I think. (BTW, I have the green light on this and will do a board presentation in early May…gulp, again.) If I can sell people on the concept of a more distributed model for creation of content that will be “held” on the Web site, it shouldn’t be much of a leap to get them to see the bigger picture of collaborative communication and collection that I think ultimately will be the place we end up.
Rob Reynolds says
I agree, and I think the distinction you make about distribution and holding is an important one. Obviously, one of the most difficult issues (in terms of planning and architecting) is decising what is permanent and what can be deleted.
Should student activities (exercise results) be discarded but unit materials kept?
As an IT administrator trying to foster interest in blogging and other web-based knowledge-management technologies among my coworkers and our faculty, I agree that defining storage practices and other policies ahead of time is a very good idea. But, Will, I think you’re absolutely correct in noting that the major difficulty is in changing people’s mindsets to bring them around to working in a collaborative way on the web. Not all, by any means — many folks are ready and waiting — but I’m surprised at the issues people have around everything from the perception that these tools will mean more work, to concerns over confidentiality and intellectual property rights… I’m glad people are thinking about these things from the start, but I’d like to implement tools for administrative collaboration (project management, etc), and that won’t really work well if some people refuse to buy in — on the one hand, I understand people’s resistance to a certain extent… on the other hand, I work in an IT department and get pretty frustrated when techies don’t want to embrace and explore technology tools!