Portals versus Social Software
There is something that has been troubling me about the springing up of 'safe blog environments': we are looking down the barrel at "Portals of acceptable content". We are looking back at the way teaching and learning has traditionally been: the educational establishment knows what's best and that's that. No-one will dare not conform to what is provided for within the school environment.
Dave Warlick hinted at this back in September, where he, too, stood up for the beneficial world of blogs where there is no portal and the borders between school and real world are nicely smudged.
Will Richardson has also been mourning the loss of the Wild West of Blogging, although I don't think this world of ours is so much the Wild West as just the real world. His post was in response to the recent cramming of the market with 'safe school blogging tools'.
Now these may be good tools - I've not had time to give them a look over. But, when legitimate 'real world' blogging tools like Typepad or MovableType or Wordpress are increasingly ignored outright for cheaper, nastier models by Local Authorities and national organisations, something's gone too far.
Whenever an official educational body is going to get involved in blogging I feel it's essential to respect the 'real worldness' of the blog: open comments, open posting, with post-moderation of posts. Pre-moderation does not encourage responsible blogging, merely responsible policing by the teacher and state. Portals are merely an extension of this unnecessary and uneducational control.
Meanwhile, we see no or little change in the provision of information literacy (or as David Warlick said recently "contemporary literacy"), with the teachers often knowing as much as or less than the kids they are teaching in this respect. So our kids, outside of the school's lock-down, are still exposed to real and ever more dangerous, unsupervised forays into the internet. (Wesley Friar's report on MySpace is rather worrying).
Any thoughts on this in relation to current school/state blogging projects?