So my most recent Weblogs workshop for teachers here ended yesterday; four days over the last two weeks, 2.5 hours a day. It was a nice mix, and they have some good ideas brewing for integration into their classrooms. I’m pretty happy with the result.
But the best part of the workshop was the last 45 minutes where I picked their brains as to how they felt about blogs, about the workshop, and about the integration of technology in general. I whipped up a very unscientific survey which 16 of them returned that I think produced some interesting results. This first set was rated on a 1-10 scale with 10 being the best or highest:
Some other observations: 15 of the 16 said they thought it was going to be important for teachers and students to understand and be able to use these technologies in the next five years. But over a third of them said they feared that it was going to take too much time for them to implement Weblogs, and 11 of them thought they would need more training and support down the road.
One thing that a number of them brought up was a feeling of blogs becoming more of an expectation, that it was something they should be using whether they wanted to or not. That took me back a bit, since I’ve tried hard not to oversell or push blogs on anyone here. But most interesting to me was a sense that while Weblogs can be effective tools to communicate information about a class or a student, the fear is that teachers would be held to account for every piece of information posted, and that that added responsibility and time investment makes it much less appealing. I’ve said before that the transparency of this technology is more of a concern to teachers than we think because being held accountable to a larger audience is a lot more work than just keeping the doors closed. And that’s a reasonable concern. But I guess there is a piece of me that thinks opening up our process and products to wider audiences would make us all raise our standards a bit.
At any rate, it was a great conversation that reminded me of the reality that classroom teachers who aren’t eating and sleeping Weblogs experience. I definitely need to do more of that.
liz f. says
Interesting observations. I am doing research on weblogs myself inside a class environment and have many of the same experiences and feelings.
Always good to get actual feedback from the ground. All these data will come in handy as blogs evolve in time, and the social stigma of teacher/institution responsibility over student posts & comments gets removed.
My own experience (http://ced.motime.com/) with promoting blogs in education has mixed feelings. the reaction to the possibilites of blogging and how cool an aggregator can be in tandem with RSS is good… but when asked to actually go do it… adoption rate is usually zero.
I have spoken to many other advocates, and its the same everywhere. The few successful case studies out there is a rarity. e.g. (http://wiley.ed.usu.edu/courses/interaction-2004/). I hope we have more to share on such case studies in future.
While browsing, I somehow or other came upon this site and the comments. Is there anyone out there who could explain what this is and how it works? For example, as a teacher, how would I access a blog? Do I need special software to participate? Do I need a specific OS to participate? I work in an urban district with little (and I do mean little) resources. It’s a place where “No Child Left Behind” has proven an absolute failure.
Also, what is RSS? Is this a software that is needed to access a blog?