Blogging in Education?

It’s popular to tout blogging as the magic panacea for everything. What about using it for education? Stephen Downes writes about the impact of blogging on education:

But perhaps the most telling motivation for blogging was offered by Mark Pilgrim in his response to and elaboration on ?The Weblog Manifesto?: ?Writers will write because they can?t not write. Repeat that over and over to yourself until you get it. Do you know someone like that? Someone who does what they do, not for money or glory or love or God or country, but simply because it?s who they are and you can?t imagine them being any other way??32

Pilgrim?s moving declaration should be read as a cautionary note. The warning is not about bosses who don?t want employees to write weblogs (though that danger exists), but this: writing weblogs is not for everybody. In particular, if you feel no empathy, no twinge of recognition, on reading Pilgrim?s words, then writing a weblog is probably not for you. This does not mean that you are not a part of the weblog world. It merely means that you participate in a different way.

And herein lies the dilemma for educators. What happens when a free-flowing medium such as blogging interacts with the more restrictive domains of the educational system? What happens when the necessary rules and boundaries of the system are imposed on students who are writing blogs, when grades are assigned in order to get students to write at all, and when posts are monitored to ensure that they don?t say the wrong things?

I’ve addressed this question before in my post on linking to friends. Despite the lack of obstacles, only a small segment of the population has any desire to blog. My friends (even those who know I have a weblog) rarely follow this weblog, much less write one for themselves.







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