Barbara Ganley’s recent post about how the tool is becoming indistinguishable from the course makes it clear just how far down the blog road she has travelled.
The deeper into this classroom blogging I get, the more I cannot disentangle the pedagogy from the blogging–to talk about blogs means to talk about student-centered learning, collaborative knowledge spaces, constructivist pedagogy FIRST. Teaching with blogs the way I do–which means not applying them piecemeal but integrating them fully in all their messy, flexible, fluid promise– means you have to let go of control of the classroom, give up the stage and create opportunities for learning magic to occur. The trick is to weave the learning and the tool so seamlessly together that the blog is the class and the class finds the blog indispensible.
That paragraph in itself is pretty amazing and heady, especially for us down here in K-12 land. But that seems to me where the technology is leading us. And I truly think that Barbara and others like her may lead us to a better understanding of what the messy, student centered, student authored curriculum looks like.
Aaron Campbell has a great response to this when he says
…when discussing the possiblity of using them with other educators, we should consider to what extent we are willing to have blogs play such a central role in the classroom learning we facilitate. If we see ourselves, the teachers, as central to the learning process, there is no way that blogs can live up to their potential as constructivist tools. They necessitate learner driven use to work well.
It’s interesting that I seem to be seeing this thread of thinking more and more, and I think it’s got to be because of the learning opportunities that the Read/Write Web offers. I love the idea that so many teachers are starting to think in these terms and that they are starting to rethink their roles in the classroom. We can’t keep telling kids what to say, we have to show them how they can say whatever is meaningful to them and then work hard, as Barbara does, to make connections and sift out whatever answers appear.
As both Aaron and Barbara ask, however, which comes first, the tools or the pedagogy? The easy answer is that the pedagogy should drive the decisions about tools. But these days, the tools offer ways to really transform the pedagogy in ways we haven’t even begun to think about yet. That’s what Barbara is immersed in. And that’s what we’ll need more of to realize whatever potential there is.