Brian Alger has been doing some nice reflecting on the concepts of our NMC 2004 “Small Piecess Loosely Joined” idea- recently writing about “Weblogs: Which Pieces and How Should They Joined? (NMC 2004)”…
I would have written, but Brian’s blog lacks a comment function (I find that a gaping large piece, but understand that people have to take drastic steps about blog spam roaches– as a side bar and likely a self jinx but since our last battle we have been actually spam free. I am guessing, hoping that changing the default comments script name, removing embedded references to the comment posting full URL has done the trick.. but the war is never won).
I thinking I should try to focus on improving my writing so that the entries that comprise what it is I am trying to say take on the character of big pieces tightly joined. It seems that we think of software as small pieces, but I would like to believe that what we are trying to do in our mutual explorations is to develop big pieces of thinking – big in the sense of the meaning they have to each of us, not in terms of their scope.
I think there are no singular answers, Brian. I started blogging because I saw it as a viable web publishing tool for teachers and learners, but I do not probe technology well by reading about it or looking through academic journals– I am only able to get may arms around it… when I jump in. You are correct that there are manby layers of “small pieces” we often try, and like you said, often discard. Just today I toyed with QuickSub for the RSS links, but it may not stick.
I see the blog as my living laboratory, my workbench. a 1950s Ford pickup slowly being restored in the driveway.. it is honing the craft by doing the technology integration ourselves, or in informal networks. It is the polar opposite of putting all of your trust and hope into large, expensive commercial systems, where you bend and make concessions due to their limitations.
In the end, I had to change my perception of what a piece was. I had been thinking technological tools, instead of mental tools. This helped me to remember what it is I am trying to join.
I would add the joining that happens between people and far flung places that otherwise could not have happened— that is the payoff, making connections.