Lance Knoebel and Blogs in Education

Worlds spill over, says Lance. Education is broad and encompasses a lot. Panelists: Pat Delaney, AKM Adam, Brian Weatherson, Kaye Trammel, Jenny Levine.

Pat: Pitching writing blogs to teachers: busy and don’t do anything that doesn’t make their work better. He calls it “digital paper”: blogs help enable reading, writing, and researching much easier. Is it ease of use or openness?

AKMA: My students are all expecting to become clergy. The openness is a problem; they’re in dread that the bishop will catch them saying something they shouldn’t. I have to work with people to convince them that they’re going to be public speakers.

Brian: It’s not really a problem–bad reasoning is ok because you can go back the best day and flesh it out. The issue is commenting on other people’s writing and having it get back to them.

Kaye: Understanding the standards for blogs vs. for papers is different. The students contribute to a group blog and to a class blog. People will say things even though it’s a class project that they might not say otherwise. Lance: who sets the standards? Kaye: I do, but they need to understand what the standards are and will be.

Pat: We all have to worry about standards: CIPA, COPA, bomb threats; if something happens like writing “fuck you” on a blog server, the admin goes to the superintendent and parents and says this happens; the server gets shut down. We need to understand the legal issues and set expectations. Second: content management: split between personal and public–everyone has this access, some get to promote out content. –Writers earn audiences, they don’t just “get” them–maybe part of the process should be this promotional aspect.

Kaye: Publicness is part of the process. Papers can be written drunk at 3 am and only the professor knows but anyone could be reading a weblog. This is why I did Hooblogs, to link up all the UVA folks and make sure that they knew someone was out there.

Comment from the audience: Now we scale this up and students all over the world are producing all the content! There are classes where students are filling content gaps.

Question: Are weblogs something that everybody should do, or something that like singing that everyone shouldn’t be doing in public? Ken: It’s digital paper. Everyone should know how to use it. Kaye: Everyone should have a voice, and understand how to use their voice to promote their concerns.

Ken: But only schools with money for reliable servers have a voice. What about inner city schools?

Question: supply and demand, power laws–who gets the attention? AKMA: Internal readership grows slowly into a pool of a truly interested audience.

Halley Suitt: Do kids learn useful skills in school? Can blogs help break down the school walls? AKMA: Things like OpenCourseWare break down some of the walls and get learning out of the institution–so that it doesn’t happen only from September through May. “Desegregation of learning.”

Phil Greenspun: How do you use weblogs to teach learning? Ken: iSearch. AKMA: Group critiques of sermons.

Cy: Who cares about hit counts? Given all the Glenn Reynolds’ out there, it’s great that I get hits at all!

I’m going to continue this in another post–I keep screwing up and losing changes.