Saturday, March 19, 2005

Barbara Ganley's work on Blogging

"Bringing social software into the classroom requires us to view our classrooms as communities interconnected directly as well as indirectly with multiple communities beyond our walls."

B. Ganley from work entitled "Blogging as a Dynamic, Transformative Medium in an American Liberal Arts Classroom"

My humble observations are that first the immediate community (the class, the group, the immediate participants) needs to be connected in order to own the blog. Once that happens in a successful manner the multiple communities from beyond will come. It is kind of like "The Field of Dreams". "If you build it they will come."

My other observation of the article concerns measuring the level of ownership that students have in a blog. Simply measuring it by the amount of content does not impress me. Perhaps surveys or more quantifiable data need to be gathered. Writing for class that requires writing does not mean that the blog process is enjoyed by the participants.

Sebastian Fielder's comments sparking Ideas for the Foreign Language Classroom

The fact that these web posts can be media rich opens the door to creative uses of multimedia
in language learning. Stories can be developed based upon graphics, video clips, and/or sound bytes, and one student's language posting can lead to the next student's work in a very logical chronology. Students can fuel a story by the previous person's creativity. This helps increase motivation in language learning and gives the students real meaning, context, and purpose when using language. It is not as good as a live conversation, but it gives beginning and early language learning students time to formulate their part of the story so that they can develop rich foreign language content.

Stephen Downes' Article

As the blogging phenomenon increases it appears that we will be inundated with tons of writing of what people are thinking at a very shallow level because postings can be made quickly or because the project is required. The Blog phenomenon runs the danger of polluting the internet just like web page postings from free services such as geocities. I like the fact that students are learning to write for a larger audience, but I wonder how large that audience will be as the blogs increase and the length of everyone's most cherished words and thoughts increase. Developing blogs around themes and learning outcomes seems a more satisfying approach than having students write reflections. Students are learning to write reflections without truly reflecting these days, and I am not convinced that reflection writing works for most students. Finally, I hope blogs do become a permanent record for historical purposes. I hope that groups of serious diary writers begin to document the world for future generations. This will provide a very searchable record of history for future generations and knowledge management databases.


This is the beginning of a project which will weave stories together from different personal diaries, accounts, and perspectives. It is a collaborative effort which will require participation from others. Participants will be invited. To better clarify this process, I am going to begin with a quick front end analysis of the idea. Therefore, more description will come later, but not too much later because this will be a quick front end analysis.