So I’m just going to go down this road a little bit further and try to clarify the distinctions I see between posting and blogging.
Dennis responded with:
I’d disagree that “This is what I did today” is necessarily not blogging. How many of us have reached for a kitchen knife when we know we’ve got a little plastic box with screwdrivers of different sizes in a box somewhere in the basement? In a pinch, I’ll use a rock if the rock is handy and the hammer isn’t. Thus, a blog can still contain some traditional journaling (and some postings of assignments and traditional “lists of links”) and some and still be valuable as a blog.
True, but in the same fashion, I wouldn’t build a house with a kitchen knife. I’m not saying that a blog can’t contain traditional journaling or links. (Variations on this theme here.) There are many ways to make “correct” use of Weblogs; portals, portfolios, journals, collaborations. And all of them have varying degrees of importance and effect.
But I guess to me the question is do Weblogs offer us an opportunity to write in ways that are different from using more traditional technologies? And further, are those differences (if they exist) significant to our teaching, not just of writing but of literacy in a variety of ways?
“If we’ve been blogging without Weblogs in schools all along, then just put me out of my misery now.”
Weblogs don’t change the “Here’s what I did today” type stuff. I can journal on paper or in a dozen other ways. Journaling in a blog opens us up to a wider audience, no doubt. And that in itself may change the way we write when we journal. But bottom line, it’s not decidedly different from what I can already do.
And I don’t need a Weblog to deliver or collect assignments or share links; it certainly facilitates that kind of work, but it’s not a requirement.
But I’ve never in my life written the way I write in this Weblog. And frankly, I don’t know that I’ve learned as much from any other type of activity as I have from this type. And I learn when I’m doing just what I’m doing now (sweat on brow.) I’m not journaling. I’m not just linking. I’m attempting to synthesize a lot of disparate ideas from a varitey of sources into a few coherent sentences that I can publish for an audience and wait (hope?) for its response to push my thinking further. That’s the essence of blogging to me, and I can’t do it without a Weblog. That’s the distinction. That’s what tells me this is different. And that’s what makes me think so hard about the effects that blogging, not just using a blog, might have in a classroom.
If we’ve been blogging without Weblogs in schools all along, then just put me out of my misery now. But I don’t think we have.