This is really an re. loads of other people post, but I wanted to pull them together for my sake anyway.
There have been a few experiments recently in taking open content and putting it in a blog. Not mindbendingly innovative and yet very powerful when you see it.
I remember Tony showing me something like this around the early 19th century which he had knocked together using a penny farthing, carrots and a chimney sweep (Update: it was Nov 06), and he comments on the recent stuff. Then recently David Wiley took some of his open education course and republished it in WordPress. It looks really neat, enticing, well structured. Looks a damn site more inviting than, say, a Blackboard version of the course might.
Brian Lamb (who easily has the best titles for blog posts around) sums it all up nicely and points to a session Jim Groom and D’Arcy Norman are doing at Northern Voice entitled ‘Don’t call it a blog, call it an educational publishing platform’. Which sums it up really.
There are several things of interest here for us ed techies. The first is that presentation matters. I like the look of these blog courses, and that would make me more inclined to participate in them, make me feel well disposed towards them and make me feel as though the people running them were vaguely modern and knew what they were doing. The aesthetics of the interface is something we pay scant attention to in education.
The second thing is that you may be thinking it’s just a blog, it doesn’t have tool X or Y that my VLE might have. Well maybe, but I think we’re in disruptive technology territory here. Disruptive technology doesn’t do the same things better for the same audience, it is often worse on some things, but it offers some new features for a different audience. The new features I would argue here are:
- Ease of publishing – whether it’s your own content or others, getting in to blogs is fairly straightforward
- Ease of extendability – adding widgets and tools to blogs is just a click away, since blogs have become the universal platform across the web.
- Openness – you can pull content and tools in from anywhere
- Ease of navigation – blogs come with an inbuilt navigational structure that is easily co-opted for course structure.
I wonder if this isn’t another example of how we in education create complex solutions to complex problems, whereas simple solutions often work better.