December 05, 2005

Education Panel: Ewan's Notes

Some really scratchy notes for later - read the posts before this to see why these questions are being asked. Maybe you can help me out with some answers?!?!

Is it all about writing blogs? What about reading them?
Who teaches people how to read blogs?
Is it required?
Is MSNSpaces populated by teens writing constructively?
Socialisation: when do we move from getting used to something to using it for a defined purpose? If Yahoo can play around with their new tools why can't we?
Why is it important to "blogucate"?
What about blogs only being another tool? Do we need to go into so much depth?
Why do blogs need this attention: are they not a simple way of communicating?
The adult blogging world - the kids' blogging world - two different blogospheres?
The balance of bottom-up and top-bottom: can we aim for Adriana's matrix?
The need for 'sophisticated simplicity' - we want all the tricks but not all at once.

Managers (teachers?) don't mind problems they cannot solve but they hate solutions they don't understand. True?


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A couple of thoughts came to me off the top of my head. If you want a more considered response... you're probably not going to get one from me! :-)

Is it all about writing blogs? What about reading them?
Who teaches people how to read blogs?
Is it required?

Reading other people's blogs is probably a good first step to creating your own. Blog reading skills include a basic understanding of RSS and agregators - and lets face it neither of theses tools are exactly intuative are they? So I would say at the very least you have to help people find and subscribe to a few blogs.

Socialisation: when do we move from getting used to something to using it for a defined purpose?

I am a big fan of Gilly Salmon's Five Stage Model. In her model, the next step up from socialisation is information exchange. She see's this as a fairly low level sharing of ideas and information and this could come fairly naturally from reading other peoples blogs. I know that I am often inspired to write something in my blog as a result of stuff I'm reading in other peoples.

Hi Ewan,

I work with CFD (from Canada) who talked on the education panel today. Let's go with your first buch of questions : «Who teaches people how to read blogs?»

I think we don't have to teach to read blogs even we don't have to teach software in our schools. The kind of digital kids we have in front of us make me feel that way.

I am in the same mood than Jill Walker in this article, «Weblogs: Learning in Public» ( ) when she wrote «My eight year old has been learning to play the violin for just over a year, and has already played at five public concerts. Why should learning writing or thinking be different?»

It's all about doing things in the public sphere... We should build a strong community of learners and using blogs can help a lot.

I experiment with students that hold conversations and reflect using the blog tool produce lots of result in a learning perspective. I realised that blogs can be a kind of learner-centered eportfolio for them. That's why we have to pay this kind of attention to blogging...

Sure kids know the technology but you have taught them how to write (and importantly READ others' blogs) in a reflective way, indirectly.

I've thought about it some more and if I get time, this may turn into a blog post on edcompblog... but it probably wont because I dont have time. :-(

I agree with Mario up to a point, but I want to ask what we mean by "how to read blogs"? If we are talking about reading printed text, we teach basic reading skills: letter recognition, letter sounds (let's stay away from synthetic phonics for the moment), puting those letters together to make words, etc. But those low level, mechanical skills are only the start. Once children have mastered those, there is still so much more to be done to teach children how to read.

So when Mario says "we don't have to teach software in our schools, I say well that depends... If we are talking about the low level, button pushing skills, associated with using software, then I agree - we need minimal effort to teach these skills. Pupils acquire them easily enough on a need to know basis. But (and as many will attest, I have a big but) I don't think the teaching of software ends with the learning of the mechanical skills. When you know the how of reading blogs, you are ready to start really learning about reading blogs!

While mulling this over, I read Blogging as Attempts at Understanding and I thought, "Yes, that's it!". Writing a blog makes me a better reader of blogs. Konrad says, "Clarence helped me realize that classroom blogging is primarily about responding to texts and not producing them. He reminded me that blogging allows students to think through texts and ideas, that it enables them to use their own writing and that of their peers as a cognitive tool."

I need to do some more reading and then respond to this properly in my blog. :-)

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About Ewan

Ewan McIntosh is the founder of NoTosh, the no-nonsense company that makes accessible the creative process required to innovate: to find meaningful problems and solve them.

Ewan wrote How To Come Up With Great Ideas and Actually Make Them Happen, a manual that does what is says for education leaders, innovators and people who want to be both.

What does Ewan do?

Module Masterclass

School leaders and innovators struggle to make the most of educators' and students' potential. My team at NoTosh cut the time and cost of making significant change in physical spaces, digital and curricular innovation programmes. We work long term to help make that change last, even as educators come and go.

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