Yes it has been a while since I have blogged, I admit it. There is this pesky little thing called the end of the semester that we are dealing with which, as we all know, is the time when technology (yes I am talking to you Dell Profiles) and time sort of collapse and compress into nothingness.
I will write a but more about my wonderful HISP205 class in a bit, but I thought I would share a little bit about the presentation I did on blogging this afternoon for a small group of faculty as part of a CTIE Brownbag.
This marks the first time I have actually talked about blogging on my very own campus. I debated for a while as to how “Mad Dog Ganley” I needed to be, and when I saw it was a small group I figured I could retract my talons.
Sigh, not so fast.
The presentation went fine. But curiously these were the responses from one member in the audience:
1) “I can see how this works for languages…but can it work for other subjects?” Hmmmm. I had to push pretty hard to have this seen as a viable component of the language curriculum… in fact, to do so I took what I saw happening in OTHER disciplines and tried to apply it to language instruction. And I have my HISP305 and 205 classes to thank for making it happen so wisely and well. So, yes it is possible elsewhere and that’s actually where edublogs began: in disciplines other than languages… check the blogroll here for some examples that I pulled together for the session. Science, history, creative writing…they are all there.
2) “But could you do this without Ryan?” The thought process here is such: There must be so much heavy lifting in installing those tools that you need a dedicated individual at the ready 24/7 in order to make this happen. A boy Friday. A Robin to your Batman.
But there is more to teaching effectively with social software than just installing php and mysql properly and well… If you create a blog, it does not mean that anyone will come to your blog or that your students will use it for learning. You have to know what you want the outcome of this endeavor to be before you even get started. It takes work and effort to teach effectively with these tools.
If you are not willing to wrestle with the idea of an emergent classroom, a student-centric, passion-driven, “oh my goodness did you read the comment he got from Chile on his blog?” type of a learning environment, then this is not for you. Fine. But please don’t dismiss us because you might not really understand what we do or how we do it. Please don’t rob us of the pride we have in the accomplishments that we have made over the past three years. We are good at what we do and are proud of what we have created together, even if it might not make immediate (or any) sense to our colleagues.
I am beginning to see how fearful some folks become when we talk about thinking about teaching differently. Yes, fear… here within the very same place that markets itself as otherwise.
So the short answer is yes, this can be done without Ryan, and in fact Ryan is working hard to make it so he can find more useful ways to spend his time vs hand coding class blogs (read: tis otherwise a waste-o-time… computers are here to serve us and automate tasks…punto).
It’s not about the tools…it’s about the teaching.