Serendipitous collaboration

Blogging Thoughts…Again. Will Richardson, whose excellent blog I haven’t visited in many months, mostly due to not having the leisure, refers me to an older post of his, what he calls his little hierarchy. Where are you on the hierarchy? Where am I? And how much deeper (higher?) can we go?

He writes

the two things that I think make Weblogs such an interesting teaching tool: an easy platform for constructivist learning and instruction, and the potential of a greatly expanded interested audience against which to test ideas and learning.

and continues

And that’s what my brain keeps coming back to over and over and over again, how much MORE blogging potentially offers our students over the traditional idea-draft-revise-done model that we give our kids. I’ve always hated that idea that writing ENDS. It doesn’t. This post, the last post, the first post are all done FOR NOW, and when you blog, the ideas and the feelings usually end up rearing their heads down the road in some new, hopefully more evolved form. They don’t get put into some dust-collecting folder (or should I say folder icon) never to be heard from again. They stay alive, Google-able, and out there for people to read and respond to a week, a month, or a year from now. (It always amazes me when I get a comment on something I wrote long ago. But it usually reminds me of something important, which then becomes a new post…)

But our kids need this, almost as much (if not more) than they need to write those phony essays about abortion, gun control and lowering the drinking age (which, by the way, I have read hundreds (if not thousands) of each.) They need to be analytical and engaged in topics that mean something to them. I’ve seen it happen. So has Peter, and Anne and many others. That’s what makes this all so cool….Peter Ford, who has been blogging in schools longer than most of us, reposts an essay from his “early” days on the effects of Weblogs in schools that is certainly must reading for any educator users. He highlights the effects of serendipitous collaboration, the evolution of online community, and the effects of audience, among many other topics.

…serendipitous collaboration. Isnt’t that great? Yesterday I spent quite a long time blogging and reading blogs that I hadn’t read in a long time. I went thru my bloglines blogroll and cut out a lot of things that I hadn’t been reading. All of it fascinating, but I just ain’t got the time for all of it. When I first set up my blogroll, I was interested in blogging technology, the theory and practice of social software, as well as computer-based learning, education and technology, grass-roots journalism, and EFL (and IT and EFL), but now my interests are focussing more on teaching, education and EFL, with a few misellaneous ones thrown in.
And it was the serendipitity and the interweaving of threads on various blogs that I really got a kick out of. It reminded me of why I blog. Professional development sounds more, well, professional, but serendipitous collaboration gets the feel of it.

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