Pat writes: Maybe all this ed-blogging ranting and raving is beside the point, even initially, even when there are (truth be told) only 15 or so of us fiddling with these tools. And especially when we all know deep in our seasoned-teacher hearts that the districts will in the end cave and buy some blunderbuss of a Blackboard or a PeopleSoft or an MS tool to make all this Manila and MoveableType and Blogger stuff look like the valuable and doomed CLAS (California Learning Assessment System) reform chimera of 8 or 10 years ago.
Call it naivete, but my seasoned-teacher heart isn’t convinced that my district (at least) will opt for some Blackboard-esque app if I can do a good enough job of showing them what we can already to with a regular old Web log. Already I’ve been able to create classroom portals, collaboartive project space, knowledge management space, interactive discussions, teacher and student portfolios, online learning logs, and personal writing space. I’m thinking the school Web site isn’t far behind. All for $299 and a dollop of server space (for which I feel very fortunate.)
Granted, Manila probably is NOT where this is all going to end up a few years from now…it’s not built with teachers and students in mind. But the ideas that we develop now will inform whatever that ultimate tool becomes down the road. Maybe we’ll even create it. And Sarah and friends are running workshops and publishing articles and Brian’s working with his teachers, and I’m presenting at JEA next month and working on a couple of journal articles, and Pat is publishing in ERIC, and I don’t think any of it is beside the point because I’m looking at what I’ve been able to do in just a few months in my classroom and I’m even more excited about the potential. Yes, the obstacles are many and complex. We’ve all been talking about how difficult it is to move more educators to the table. But it’s so early yet. Even if there are ten times as many of us out there as Pat suggests, it’s just a blip. But I keep getting e-mails from teachers who want ideas and questions answered. And I keep getting feedback from my kids that, while it certainly isn’t yet statistically proven out, seems to indicate that they’re getting a charge from it, that they’re learning more about communicating and organizing their thoughts and working with others and audience and a whole bunch of other stuff that I used to find so freaking difficult to provide for them.
So, back to Pat: One of the best things I’ve read on an education-related blog this year is this posting of newbie Evan’s. Nothing about Rss feeds, competing blog platforms, teacher training issues, hardware and infrastructure obstacles. This is related to the oh-so-natural-and-easy adoption of blog skills by the mlkNews 8th. grade editors. The tech is already invisible to them.
Yeah, that’s right. My kids too. Tell them once, and they got it, pretty much. But it’s those discussions and rants about Rss and competing blog platforms and all that other stuff that got me to where I could give it to them. I need to think it through, and this is how I do it, by ranting and raving and learning, so they can just do the learning part.