A place where stories, thoughts and ideas come together

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Weblogs in education

John Robb points to an excellent article by Giles Turnbull for the BBC on weblogs in education.

This was a subject that came across at Blogwalk2 too. Oliver Wrede shared some stories from his experience of using weblogs in the academic environment. New insights arised from reading students'weblogs.

I also had the chance there to talk to Leif Pullich, from Hagen Distance University, about the idea of using weblogs as ePortfolios in Adult Education, which seems to become more and more popular. Some attention was also paid to this subject in a recent project meeting of PELLEA, one of my home-university international projects.

Then Martin Roell has his own experience in teaching students from the Dresden Fachhochschule how to use weblogs and wikis.

And Thomas Burg spoke at BW2 about his experience in the field and the counter-arguments for using weblogs in education, especially connected on how weblogs could be graded. The academic system imposes us constraints, and one of them is the obligation to give marks. I vividly remember the intervention of Sebastian Fiedler, who claimed that nobody is imposing us how to teach in the academic environment. Actually, we cannot talk about a teaching system. That's why there's enough space for innovation and change. And I think he's right, we can make the difference! His reflections on the use of weblogs in education are numerous and relevant.

Another idea discussed with Elmine at BW2 was the use of weblogs as byproducts of a master dissertation or PhD thesis. When editing the final text, a lot of interesting ideas are lost, just because they are not polished, not put into practice or do not have enough theoretical support. Lilia called them loose ends, and weblogs have the advantage of helping us keep a track on them. This would be a nice solution: hand in a thesis (as a product) with a weblog (as a record of the process that led you there). Just imagine how many opportunities this would open to people interested to better understand your ideas and maybe to continue your research!

My recent experience in using a group weblog as teaching aid and as interaction space was also fruitful.

The conclusion: maybe we should create a wiki page to describe this accumulated experience of ours. At Blogwalk2, the question was asked: should everyone have a weblog? Probably the answer is No, I know a lot of people who do not want to do it, would not like to do it, and will obviously never do it. But there are also a lot of people out there who would like to try using weblogs in education, who could benefit from our experience and who certainly would appreciate some knowledge sharing and guidance. What's your opinion about this?
|| Gabriela 1:45:00 PM
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Friday, June 04, 2004

Finally back online!

I am terribly frustrated because I was kept off line for the last 4 days!

Because of some bureaucratic problems, I couldn't get neither a computer, nor an Internet connection for my laptop after my arrival in Luxembourg.

And there were so many thing to tell about BlogWalk2!
I think it was a great event, and even if there are not yet any visible results, the seeds were planted...
As Sebastian said when we left the room in the evening to go to dinner, it is not done yet! The participants continue to digest deas, to strengthen links, to draw future plans together.

On my way back from Nürnberg to Kaiserslautern, I switched on my laptop and started to make notes for future posts. I couldn't wait till I got home. I was excited and enchanted at the same time. Unfortunately, immediately after my arrival, I had to start packing and to move. I hope I will find soon some time to develop and post those notes.
They were made on Saturday afternoon, immediately after a talk with Ton, Elmine, Lilia and Sebastian about not taking any notes during the BlogWalk. Even if I am a notes-addict, I felt that taking notes during BlogWalk could interrupt the flow of thoughts and talks. I was expressing my opinion that each of the participants will start publishing ideas and thoughts, and we will be able to recall the magic from this thoughts-web. And the response was: "What if all of them will wait for the others to start?!" More or less, this is what happens now. I think most of us are postponing the posting of our thoughts, because of some degree of fuzziness that persists. The meeting was so dense, so rewarding, so exciting that expressing all what happened in words is extremely difficult!

Yesterday, I read a message from my former colleague Eric, regarding his impressions. I hope he won't mind if I'll quote him here, since he doesn't have a public blog yet (even if he maintains an excellent blog on the Institute's Intranet!):
"I found BlogWalk2 amazing! This proves that people can meet informally and though have an enormous exchange of information. It was impossible to loosen your attention, because you were constantly animated and participating."

To conclude this post, I found BlogWalk2 a great event, because:
- I had the chance to meet very interesting people and to talk to some of them
- A lot of ideas on personal development and weblogs were issued
- Thomas served me a better name for the "Weblogging Model": "The Blogging Metaphor"
- I discovered the beautiful Nürnberg by walking and talking about blogs with bloggers, which made it unforgetable
- it was the most relaxing workday I've had in months!
Thank you, Sebastian, for organizing the event, and thank you, Ton, for moderating!
Thanks to everyone for being there and making it possible!

More to come...

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