Pam is searching for answers about the state of our union here in teacher/Web logger land. For the most part, they are similar to questions I was struggling with at the end of the last school year when my classroom “experiments” with Blogger were coming to an end. What good is all the Web log stuff, really? How does it change how or what kids learn? Why don’t too many other people get it? Etc…
A couple of reactions. First, I still don’t think we’re at the point where we can genuinely answer those questions. As I wrote a couple of months ago, I’m still in that “Do No Harm Stage” where I know enough about the technology and the concept to play with it and I’m secure enough in the way I implement it that my students aren’t suffering or getting less than they were before. But are Web logs more effective? Do kids learn more? Dunno, and I’m not really worried about that stuff yet. What I do know is this: by and large, my students like Web logs. By and large, they do consistent, solid work in their Web logs. By and large, they are effective ways for me to communicate and expand on what I do in the classroom. And, they provide me with many more opportunities to have my students collaborate with others and revisit work with the idea of improving it. Can I measure something in there? Sure, but I’m pretty sure it’s going to tell me what I already know…there is a lot of potential here.
At some point, Pam is right. We’re gonna have to validate the experience that our students have. But we’re not there yet. What motivates me more than anything right now is the amazing discussions and discoveries that Pat and Joe and Seb and Sarah and others are having about how to make this work and what their kids are experiencing and what we need to learn next and all that stuff. We’ve answered a few, but what I see is a big boatload of questions still out there that this loose collaboration is slowly but surely wading through. And at some point, we’ll roll up our sleeves and get to the data.
Look, Pam‘s right; there aren’t a lot of other teachers signing up for duty. I wondered about that too until I started showing off at school and got a lot of blank stares in return. Teachers, for the most part, a) don’t know what Web logs are, b) don’t have the time to put into thinking and learning about them, and c) don’t want to leave their comfort zones. Frankly, I don’t know how we do it, because innovation takes time and certainly is not comfortable. (And I think about Joe keeping up what with his imminent arrival.)
Do Web logs stand “a legitimate chance of being embraced by the educational community?” Absolutely. But it’s going to take time. Education always runs years behind the business world when it comes to implementing technologies or practice. Just now, business is coming around to the idea of Web logs as KM…that means at least a couple of years before schools start figuring it out (at least the ones without the benefit of our foresight!)
For me, now is the time to push my thinking, be creative with my implementation, and collect Best Practices and watch them get even better. This is too much fun to get serious about it!