Sometimes someone else articulates what you’re feeling soooo well, as Dale Pike does here:
I’ve noticed the conversations that are taking place have increased in complexity, as well. They aren’t as easy to just jump into and make sense of. We have gone from talking about things like, “What tool do you use?” to such diverse topics as Open Education, Knowledge Management, and Reusable Learning Objects, to name a few. I find that I often read someone’s post on one of these topics and find that I am lacking in some background. Sometimes such background is linked to by the poster, and sometimes I go googling, but always it turns into a huge investment in time. I suppose this is indicative of the great potential of weblogs to guide instruction. I’ve always thought of the Internet as the largest library in the world with all of the books in a huge pile (I can’t remember where I first heard that analogy, but it obviously stuck). I’m finding that weblogs seem to be like huddles of people with similar interests, sharing what they know and pointing out new resources to one another in the Great Pile. While I’ve been wonderfully welcomed in each huddle I participate in, it is awfully tiring running from huddle to huddle, looking in over the shoulders of those adding to the pile or digging deeper into what is there. Tiring, but very exciting. The sense of overwhelm is not a pessimistic one–I wouldn’t trade the opportunities available to me. I just have to figure out how to pace myself.
I’m feeling all of that, and more, what with a new job, two little kids, a needy wife (just kidding, dear…) My sense of it is that the days of being on the front edge of this are in many ways coming to an end as we have no doubt passed the “tipping point.” (Witness last night’s report on Web logs on the Lehrer News Hour.) I have no doubt that those with far greater technical understanding of the tools will continue to push the technology to wider and wider adoption both in education and elsewhere. And I have no doubt that sooner rather than later, the uniqueness of this place where our merry band of edubloggers have been residing will fade. Those with more facile understanding of the technology will be the ones adding more and more to the “Great Pile” and break more and more new ground.
And this is a very good thing, don’t get me wrong. And there is still much work to do…our students and our schools will continue to be our research, and both will benefit from our collaboarations and our passion. The job of aggregating all that good work into eBN or elsewhere is in itself a huge undertaking, that and teaching the many, many teachers out there who will come stumbling to the table as many of us did. But the development of new and exciting ways to use Web logs in classrooms of all ilks will soon come fast and furious from many new and diverse sources, I suspect. And like Dale, I think I’ll be doing a lot of looking over shoulders and watching as others take the ball and really run with it.
If there ever was a perfect example, it’s this post by Jake about Trackback in Manila. Now tell me, who or what am I supposed to be pinging???
Andrew N. Carpenter says
FWIW, the Google Glossary tool is pretty good at ferriting out servicable glosses on technical terms:
I use it in conjunction with the “Dave’s Quick Search Deskbar,” a wonderful utility that allows me to launch just about any search directly from my taskbar (http://www.dqsd.net/). This is a powerful combination.
Andrew N. Carpenter says
Sorry — the url for the Google glossary tool is http://labs.google.com/glossary.
To give an example of the sorts of definitions it returns, here are the results for a search on “educational technology”. They aren’t bad — could help orient someone who was unfamiliar with the term.
The body of educational methods and resources used in instruction. Note: Beyond media hardware and software, educational technology involves the design, development, and management of learning processes through instructional systems.
The concept of treating education as a technology i.e. as a systematic process based on objectives with strategies and systems to achieve them. Usually now misunderstood as referring to the use of AV and IT support for teaching.
Artificial aids to teaching and learning; formal knowledge about educational processes [see also computer-assisted instruction, concepts of teaching, cooperative learning, instructional design, experiential learning, instructional media, teaching materials, writing across the curriculum]
The study of the ways in which the use of media and structured approaches to organising material can aid teaching and learning.
Electronic information and communication technologies that include: campus networks, multimedia computers, computer software, audio-, video-, and computer-conferencing systems, the Internet and World Wide Web, and other emerging information technologies applied to instruction, libraries, and student support processes.
A complex, integrated process involving people, procedures, ideas, devices, and organization, for analyzing problems, and devising, implementing, evaluating and managing solutions to those problems, involved in all aspects of human learning.
Using multimedia technologies or audiovisual aids as a tool to enhance the teaching and learning process.