I decided to write another post with comments to the comments we got to the Beyond blogs and wikis: I want better tools for dialogical teaching, learning and research -post. Thank you all!
Leigh: Web feeds (RSS etc.) are good, whatever you are interested in to follow blogs, wikis, discussion forums, image/video sharing sites, etc. Still they do not scaffold or help you to have such dialogue I am looking for. I am not sure if any computer tool of software will do this, but I am dreaming. CSILE, Knowledge Forum, Fle3 and CMapTools are the best candidates of tools to full-fill this need. They are not very good, but at least they are designed for this. Blogs and the culture of blogging do not make very high on this list. Wikis are definitely better than blogs: the wiki talk page is much better discussion forum than blogs and blog comments. Threaded discussion boards and listservs are good but do not scaffold.
Summer: I like your “blog”, too and I am sure it is a good tool for language learning. Actually your “blog” is much more a website / web page than a “blog”. However, I do not see much dialogue in there.
Wilfred: I am claiming that we should understand for what blogs are good for (and also for what they are not good for) in education. We already know for what kind of teaching and learning videos and beamers are good for. Non of these technologies are very good for teaching football, neither for knowledge building. To teach football you, first at all, need a ball. Right?
“Contribute to knowledge building from personal space” is a bit like saying that someone is “contributing to the world peace from their own territory”. With missiles? I am shooting you now from our Flosse Posse space and you may shoot me then in your own blog. 🙂
I fully agree with your third point. If you check my post again I actually wrote: “blogs and wikis are not (very) good tools for knowledge building, progressive inquiry learning or other sophisticated social constructivist learning methods and models.” This doesn’t mean that blogs wouldn’t be useful for some other kind of teaching and learning, just like videos and beamers are good for some things in teaching and learning process. As a handyman you know that you need different tools for different tasks: hammer for making a joint with nails and screwdriver for doing it with screws. So, you need a toolbox with many tools. If you are then asked to make join with nails and you only have a screwdriver in your toolbox, whom do you blame? Not the screwdriver but the one that is providing you with a toolbox without a hammer (after you have tried to do the hammering with the screwdriver). Right?
Gary Knight: I agree threaded discussion boards and listservs are good tools, but could there be even better tools for dialogue? Something that is scaffolding participants to inquiry process, are offering tools to raise new topics for further dialogue, helping participants to pull different threads together, etc.? If you ask me, Moodle forum is probably the best tool for learning discussions, but still it is just a threaded discussion board. I want more!
Chris Harvey: I didn’t claim that Wikipedia is not about conversation. It is. But the conversation is focusing on a very specific task: the aim is to create an encyclopedia, to write encyclopedia articles. The clear vision, focus and the policies based on these are the reasons why Wikipedia is so great. Wikipedia is a not a space for inquiry or original research. Still students (or anyone) are free to discuss about the articles in the talk page and contribute in them.
Konrad: Interesting discussion you are having there. Thank you for sharing this. I actually think that with blogs (inter-linked together) you may get much stronger sense of community than in CSILE or some other closed online community. The fact that you are in a public space (Internet) with your “group” (sorry for calling it group :-), makes the feeling of belonging much stronger.
Like Konrad, I do not claim that blogging doesn’t support learning. We just must understand for what it is good for and use it for that. I am sure Konrad’s PhD thesis will explain this for us.
All I am asking for is that if we have different methods of teaching and learning, we should have different kind of tools. And at the moment we are still missing a good tool for knowledge building.