The more I explore, the less I recognize where I am. The more I learn, the less I feel I know. The highway I thought I was flying down, has suddenly become an overgrown, hard to follow, dirt pathway.
I’m loving every minute of this journey. The following, I warn you, is an exploration. It’s unfinished, and way open to conversation…
So begins the headshift…
The last few days we’ve been kicking around the “blogging in the classroom” meme.Today,
after following a link from elearnspace to an article that I think I will describe as staggering, I found myself in an exciting, but completly strange new world. A world that I think we’ve been sort of bumping up against as we attempt to think about how blogs, and technology fit into the classroom.
I say bumping up against, because I think there is something in the way.
I have to laugh about this. On Friday I was beginning yet another post around blogging in the classroom. This one, as a result of a post by James Farmer over at Blogsavvy.
I was about to come out in favor of “purpose driven” blogging in the classroom. Was going to suggest that maybe true (See par. 10 onward.) blogging, read: independent, free flowing, subversive, and individualized, where the purpose of that blog is intrinsic, could really not survive in the curriculum driven classroom.
I was going to suggest that maybe there is another kind of blogging for the classroom. The kind Farmer spoke of, where the teacher and curriculum, along with the student, has a hand in its direction - but largely the curriculum and teacher would win out in this scenario don’t you think?
This has been my difficulty. Every time I think and post around classroom blogging, and every time I read someone else’s post around this topic, I feel tension. Tension between what real blogging is, and how most courses, classrooms, teachers, and schools function. Blogging vs. Curriculum. Can they really mix?
Then I followed the elearnspace link to Brian Alger’sExperience Designer Network blog. My previous post vaporized.
Opening Key Points as I broke through the highway’s guardrail and fell into the exciting jungle…
“Curriculum is the most basic technology for control and authority in education and is commonly backed by extensive legislation as well as generations of cultural conditioning. In the sense, then need for a curriculum has become an assumption - a presupposition.” (Alger, Nov. 2005. Par. 2)
- Have we been teaching under an assumption? Is curriculum based teaching, the way most everyone does it, really the way we should be doing this? Or is curriculum merely a thing taken for granted. Accepted as true because that’s the way school has been done for as long as we can remember? What if this idea of curriculum is….NOT the way learning should be managed and delivered?
According to Alger, the major assumption of curriculum is “the idea that a group of experts can and should predetermine the knowledge, skills and attitudes that people will acquire over long periods of time.” (Curriculum: The Design of the Prerequisite par.2)
The very thought that we should be sticking our hands into classroom blogging flies directly against Alger’s view on learning. “Further, learning cannot be developed “for” students but is by default always designed “by” them.” (Curriculum: The Design of the Prerequisite par.3) He then goes on to quickly point out a difference between learning and education that I have never really thought about before, having always somehow thought them to be the same.
Alger mentions some important characteristics of curriculum, and I include my humble thoughts on why it may not mix well with true blogging efforts.
“Curriculum is fundamentally a technology designed to control and impose authority.”
- A few bad words in there for true bloggers - control and authority. True blogging, from what I’ve seen so far, is in nature independent. Is free from outside author rule, and bucks imposed authority. It’s subversive in nature because it’s individual, while a curriculum “like television, is a form of mass communication.” (Alger, 2005) In my mind, curriculum is mass communication that broadcasts a message to a wide audience, forcing them to tune into the program to succeed. If you don’t follow the program, you don’t pass the grade, you don’t graduate, you fail.
Blogging, again if it’s real, has unlimited channels. It’s cable, not a local two or three station network. It’s cable because the broadcast varies by its source: the person. You’re not limited to just two or three local channels anymore. In blogging, the content of the “broadcast” is set by the broadcaster. It’s done for intrinsic purposes rather than explicit ones.
And: “Curriculum embraces education, but not necessarily learning.” (Alger, 2005)
Just because we’re following a curriculum doesn’t guarantee our students are learning. It just means we’re following a curriculum.
To be continued… The coversation is wide open.