January 18, 2006

Selling your blogging soul? Or creating a new market?

Last week I had an interesting exchange of email with Joe Dale who, at that point, did not have a blog to converse there. What was interesting is that even Joe, an experienced user of the web in his Modern Languages classes, took a lot of thinking through to see how blogs and podcasts might be useful in his classroom environment. With his permission I’d like to show the dialogue that took place, as it helps formalise some of the misnomers and misconceptions of blogging and podcasting in the classroom:

Dear Ewan,
Do you think that podcasts should be more about discussion and not include references to say websites or resources? I would imagine that a blog would be easier for website information as readers would just have to click on a link rather than writing it down from a podcast. Do you think that a podcast is really like a radio broadcast giving the podcaster a medium to convey his or her thoughts?

Hi Joe,
A podcast can be whatever the person or people doing it want it to be: a personal rant, a discussion of useful websites, a debate, a seminar recording, an essay, an imaginative piece of writing (audio book). Anything that benefits from being part of a series of information, as a podcast's power lies in the fact that it is 'pushed' into the iTunes intray of its listeners on a regular basis. It's not so much the tool that is important as the added value having an audience for one's work might bring. Normally, also, podcasts are hosted online in a blog entry, so adding show notes with links is easy.

Dear Ewan,
In your experience, how do you find teachers are using podcasts? Do you find they are using them for personal rants as you say or for information. Your blog is very information rich whereas other blogs I've come across are much more of a personal diary. I remember you saying at the Language Show that a blog shouldn't be this type of thing. Clearly it is up to the author, but I wondered what you've found personally.

Dear Joe,
An educational blog (one that is to help learn) is unlikely to be a personal rant as it's a place to store information we may want to retrieve. For podcasts and blog entries I always ask if this is someting I would want to find again. If it is of interest to others then that is an added bonus. Schools in the UK are not using blogs or podcasts enough, in my opinion, and are missing out on a great tool and their students missing out on a superb learning experience. There's a lot of proud ludditism out there that I don't get. I'd be happy to see some personal rants against this technology even, just if it meant that more people were using it to share their views. ;-)

You see, this email exchange is the kind of thing I would like to blog. It's interesting and you and I are not the only people who could take part in it. Would you mind if I used excerpts to create a blog post?

And since this email exchange Joe has got himself the gig blogging over at the Times Ed Supplement. Selling his soul to the corporate blogging behemoth of UK education as his first blogging step?! It'll be interesting to see how a new blogger blogs, especially when editorial control lies with a national newspaper. Pre-moderation, editing and cutting to shape of a blog by a national paper? Is that not an oxymoron?


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I've just posted some ideas about blogging in the teaching of English Critical Essay work over on blethers and would welcome comment.

'Selling your blogging soul', sounds good from a teacher's point of view, I'd love to augment my salary by being paid for blogging;-)
Might convert more teachers to web 2.0ß1 if you paid 'em.

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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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