I’ve been doing some offline writing (what a concept) about Weblogs
lately and, in the process, have been spending a good chunk of time
mining my three years worth of posts in here for publishable nuggets.
It’s been a great reminder of how much thinking and learning I’ve
So in that spirit, a couple of posts that I’m reading this morning have
been getting my brain out of some post Thanksgiving lethargy (and I
don’t even eat turkey!) and merit some brainwork reflection, I think.
When I went to Middlebury a couple of summers ago, I met Hector Vila
who is a writing professor there. His blog isn’t
the most frequently updated, but it’s definitely worth the read when he
does post. What I really like about his post today is that he asks some
challenging questions about how technology in the age of the read/write
Web requires us to think differently about the classroom and the
disruption that’s causing. The class that he’s been teaching
has been steeped in the discussion of online learning and community,
and if you have the time to read through the posts, it’s well worth
attempting to grasp the scope of what he’s offering to his students.
They have been truly challenged to rethink what learning and education
is all about.
My purpose for having students take ownership of the class blog, work
through the Segue CMS site to solidify them in the f2f class world, and
then re-create themselves in their blogs is simple: I want the students
to remove me from the class/course. I want to be invisible. I want them
to realize that, through ownership, students can participate in the
world using the best available tools. I want them to command the
technology–not be neutral to it.
not sure the K-12 world is ready to have teachers remove themselves
from the process, but I do think that we need to start imagining a
different role for the teacher in the classroom. Courses need not be
defined by face to face meetings for defined periods of time. In fact,
the traditional classroom could be looked upon as the beginning of a
longer, larger conversation. Hector says it better than I can.
[The Weblog] is potentially the beginning of a conversation on the issues raised
by this course of study. This changes the nature of the classroom–and
any course. Where most courses are “blocks” residing within the
confining infrastructure of traditional education, the outdated
semester, this course begs us to consider what exists beyond the
semester: will the students–and the teacher–continue to add to this
site? will others, from outside this community, begin contributing?
will the students continue to feed this site from their own blogs, as
they’re doing now? These questions arise because of technology–how
it’s been used; how it’s been deployed; how it’s enabling the
construction of an imagination that can reach beyond the elite walls of
a high-grade liberal arts education. Physically, the students are now
working outside the college walls; however, metaphorically, their blogs
are doing the same.
stuff that I’m sure will be mulling in my brain during our long flight
home from snowy Wisconsin today. Definitely time to get my brain back