(via James Farmer) Seb‘s post from a few weeks ago has been percolating in my aggregator for a couple of weeks and when James picked up on it today, I made sure to revisit it. It’s a really interesting discussion on whether or not implementing Web logs into a structured classroom setting for a short period of time has any real effectiveness. In his post he says:
This really means that in a context where everybody operates according to tight schedules and a highly compartmentalized curricula, a “course” might not be the most appropriate unit for the integration and implementation of personal Webpublishing. Activities would often come to an end before the participants even had a chance to get a glimpse of what is possible.
With my nine week classes, I’ve experienced this to some degree. I’ve complained(?) before that I thought the depth and quality of my student’s posts would improve over time if we had it. I think it’s only recently that I’ve become acutely aware of how my own posting habits have evolved over these past two and a half years, I think in a good way. But, I don’t have that time, and so Seb asks a very relevant question. Yet, he follows with:
On the other hand, how else do you want to introduce students to the technology, practice, and the potential benefits? Would it be better to offer personal Webpublishing courses that run in parallel with other course work? In a way I think personal Webpublishing could be a powerful tool to manage the inner and outer conversations over longer periods of time. Thus integrating various courses, events, encounters, materials, thoughts, comments, reflections, and so forth. But how do you support this? How do you get people to “buy in” without immediate gratification at hand?
What Seb is saying, at least to me, is that the greater use in a structured school environment is as digital portfolio. I’ve been talking to our English chair about moving from paper portfolios to Web log portfolios, and I think there is a real possibility of doing so. But there is a whole ‘nother discussion to have about how to do this and what it will require of our students and teachers.