George Siemens aptly boils it all down to this:

…most people seem to have a 10 second rule: If you can’t explain it to me in a few sentences, I don’t have time for it…question: do we adjust the tools? Or try and change the people?

It is the question that I’m wrestling with right now, especially if we get the go ahead to build our Web site around Web logs (which the more I think about it the more practical it seems.) I think all of us Manila users have been encouraged by the recent smattering of development coming out of the Userland camp. And as I’ve said here before, I’ve gotten to the point where I feel very comfortable with Manila and feel like I can teach it fairly easily. (I’ll find out again tomorrow when I start a workshop for eight teachers.)

But Joe is right when he says:

Lots of teachers won’t take the time to learn it in anything close to its current form. Simply put, it’s more than most teachers need and the learning curve for a teacher not fascinated by technology is too steep. (It seems a bit like trying to kill mouse with a shotgun.) It’s too easy to disparage a teacher’s grumbling about its complexity as laziness and fear of something new.

Sure, you can get to the point where posting with Manila is pretty easy (i.e my journalism students), but beyond that it takes a whole bunch of time to figure out how this thing works. And getting back to George’s question, will trying to change the people make it any easier or more effective? The tool would be a heckuva lot easier to change.

Here’s how my thinking goes:

  • I like Manila, I know Manila. But…
  • …there’s not a lot of consistent development of Manila, although as Dave attempts to infuse it at Harvard, perhaps he’ll see the struggles people are having and really roll up his sleeves. As Joe points out, however, it’s going to take some MAJOR changes to make Manila more intuitive (i.e. “New Entry” vs. News, Create News Item, etc.)
  • Then again, in the scenario that I have in my mind, I’ll provide the templates
  • The only viable alternative out there right now is Moveable Type.
  • I like the interface, and Tim and others have commented on the ease of use question. But…
  • I haven’t really used it (I’m going to get it installed this week come hell or high water) and Joe and Sarah and others seem to have abandoned their MT experiments.

    Either way, I have to make this decision fairly soon.