Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Blogging is definitely an awesome tool.  First of all, its hard to censor blogs.  There is no requirement that you post your real name or tell your boss that you are starting a blog.  You can express your opinion and adopt an alter-ego.  You can write almost anything, but hopefully you are writing something cool.  As the saying goes, "On the internet, no one knows that you are a dog."

Next, blogging is free.  One of the stranger things about the internet is that all this awesome stuff is provided free of charge - Thinkfinity, free, Blogger, free, wikispaces, free.  Hmm, maybe someone should tell Rutgers about this trend...

Blogging is dependable.  It's made by Google, so there are probably like 8 digital copies of everything you ever typed, stored in 4 different locations.  If your computer crashes and you lose everything, all your emails and blog posts and pictures live on in someone else's computer.  Someone way tech-savvier whose job it is to protect your stuff.  Excellent, and did I mention this is free?

Sometimes I think the internet is a giant pyramid scheme.

Anway, how does this all relate to education?  In the article "Conditions for Classroom Technology Innovations," the authors discuss potential pitfalls that were experienced by the teachers in their survey.  On page 409 there was a little nifty circle graph with arrows and whatnot that highlights the forces at work:

So we see that the teacher (aka innovator, we are not being shy,) makes up only one part of a project's success.  There are two other factors that are beyond the teacher's direct control.

Now, teachers have the knowledge and ability to influence and work with these other groups to get stuff done.  My point is that, looking at the benefits of blogging above, it seems like there will be educational stuff posted on blogs that is way cooler than any official, school-sanctioned workshop.

First off, all those factors in the "Contex" box basically go away.  The internet is pretty much magic - super awesome stuff, always works, and free.  So bloggers won't get held back by technological issues.  The most successful teachers in the Classroom Conditions article were the ones who had: 1. The most technological know-how and 2. The most independence.

Blogs lower the technological barriers to entry, and plus, they offer the ultimate in independence.  As Flight of the Conchords would say, "Conditions are perfect."

To summarize: Blogs and other internet tools really sidestep the "context" that held some teachers back from creating the projects they had in mind.  Blogging can (and does) open people up to new ideas and new resources.  This technology be a powerful tool for finding new resources and modifying pedagogies.  There are tons of ideas out there.  It's more than worth a shot. 

Now, I admit, some of those new ideas on the internet are all about putting captions on pictures of cats.  But then again, you never really know who is behind the screen...