Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Weblogs, Wikis, Webfeeds... and the educational technology research community

Ok, my new study buddy Seb, whom I met in the infamous ProLearn SSC 2005 (images tell more than those dusty words: do you see us working hard? not, 'cause SC stands for School + Conference, what good can come out of that, but the coffee-breaks..), was asking questions to himself out loud, so I thought I'll give it a thought too. He goes on about our SSC and then concludes with a rhetoric question mark:
If even some up and coming educational technology researchers have not yet embraced distributed Webpublishing practices to support their own networking efforts, we should be very careful celebrating yet another disruptive technology for education?
I do agree to some extent, but for me the question is rather "Disruptive or Distractive technology"? We do things the way we are used to doing them to save us time, in many cases, from learning new things. You know how that learning can be annoying, you might feel frustrated, dumb, faced with new challenges like using a new GUI, hit wrong buttons, loose all the text without saving it - and all this just to share a few little memories with your new friends, of whom you don't even remember the last name in any case.

Hmm.. I know I'm pushing it, but really, I think all forms of webpublishing should still be made easier and part of the stuff that we usually do, like sending mails, for example. [Now, I guess that is already done, so I should come up with something more productive..]

I truly feel that some people are distracted for different reasons by the "disruptive" (hate that word) technologies such as weblogs, wikis, and Webfeeds. I personally still have a problem with posting on a blog (but I love the other stuff), and I'm trying to reflect upon it to better understad what is going on. I think there should be more studies done about the poeple who find learning through this type of activities compelling just like we can say that people have different learning styles; some like learning by doing whereas others like textual content and so on. Maybe blogs are really good for the learners who have a preference for textual bases, whereas for some with dyslexia it can be a pretty disturbing experience.. [Which philosopher was is that back in a day didn't even think writing was such a good way to pass on teaching as opposed to discussing?]

I think with new technologies and solutions that they bring along for learning we should just accept the fact that there is no solution that fits all. With fairly easy design solutions we should be able to offer a variety of tools to learners that satisfy their style of learning, and not only the way that I think they should learn. In my opinion there's room for everyone and, the good thing is that today we can afford to offer different solutions and tastes.

However, I do regognise that there is also always room for improvement of the old ways of doing it...just to mention "Cornfolios"...

Chaqu'un son truck!

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