Thursday, July 29, 2004

Not for Everyone

Even the most optimistic educational bloggers are frustrated with the slow uptake of blogs within schools, and Alan observes that blogs in his post-secondary institution are taking off like lead balloons. I thought Stephen's response was appropriate, if a bit gruff:
"But we don't need everybody blogging, no more than we need everybody writing books or producing movies. Let people settle to their own comfort zone, and don't try to force it."
I'm interested in this because I hear many of the same sorts of things in the e-portfolio realm. There seems to be this belief that if only people understood the value of e-portfolios or blogging in schools, they'd all flock to the nearest computer and start recording every aspect of their professional and personal lives. I'm only being partly facetious, because it's true that a few of those new converts actually will embrace the concept and make it work for themselves. But most won't.

Something as reflective, time-consuming, information-intensive and personally revealing as blogs and e-portfolios will only ever appeal to a certain subset of people who discover the benefits of the process. The education system tends to look at these successes and tries to force everyone to "enjoy" the same benefits, but it won't work. Even if you "converted" all of the administrators and teachers, most of the students are just going to be jumping through the hoops, particularly if the new tools just rehash all the old ways of doing things ("read Chapter 1 and answer the questions on p.211 in your blog").

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