Irony: Blogs/Expert-Centric Views to Learning/Teacher-Centric Views

I told myself I would stop my critical writing mode kick, but am not listening.

The RSS readers this morning brought in a Radiant Marketing link with interviews from the three of the Cluetrain dudes on the “future of blogging”.

Normally I would pass on something from a “Marketing Group” where the tag line is “Internet Marketing Ideas for the Rest of Us”. My first thought (which can be wrong) is that it reeks of “get-rich-by-selling-crap-on-eBay” or “bulk-email-will-let-you-retire-in-the-Caribbean”. I have not spent much time poking around this blog, so consider it a knee jerk reaction… but actually the interviews from this site have some decent quotes, such as this one from Doc Searles:

By conceiving the Net as a place, a commons, something you go “on” rather than “through,” we can save it from draconian regulation and preserve it as an environment where speech and markets are equally free.

So if blogging isn’t a medium, what is it?

A practice. Specifically, a personal practice of journalism in the literal sense of that word. Every blog is a journal. The number of blogs, which keeps going up (now in the millions), is redefining journalism rapidly, and unavoidably.

Blogs are real voices of real people. Applied by business, they leave the marketers of the world out of a job. You can’t job out your own voice. You can’t leave it up to some department.

This was second of a three piece blog intervoew, the first with “internet marketeers” (skip, yawn, gag) and a third with some business and PR type consultants.

Okay, so what was my point? Most of these “expert” comments suggest platitudes about how anyone with a blog has a voice, breaking down traditional power structures, rah rah rah for the little guy or gal. But to understand this, do we go out and find out what they think is the future of blogging? why it is important? Dp we find out what motivates teen diaries, obscure movie fan blogs, obscure software developers from Burma, etc? No, we fall back into the same rut, and try and find out what “experts” say. Then we echo blog it across the net.

I am not saying what the experts have to say is important, but more so that we are missing the voices of the majority of the blog space, all those of us way out on the right fringes of the Technorati curves, those with small/no readership/ I just as or more interested in what motivates them. This is what Stephen did so well to highlight “obscure” educational bloggers in his June 20 Special OLDailey.

Okay, but what is my next leap?

This is all to common but never labeled teacher centric view of learning. I was reading a draft of a new, comprehensive paper on some future technology predictions, and it was based completely on interviews/surveys with teachers. It was very interesting, thorough, but I found myself thinking- this is what the teachers think is important, but what about the students?

And it filtered then into some reflections on readings about “hybrid” or “blended” courses. It occurred that the decision, the design to create these were completely teacher/institution initiated based on… what? It seems that learners have no influence, input, on the creation of blended learning, that it is all presented to them like a buffet lunch with 1 item to choose from.

I am just trying to advocate that we think broadly in terms of audience and participation in what we do. We need experts, we need great teachers, but they do not speak or represent the entire enchilada.

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Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. I think you’ll find very little “crap” on my blog. My focus is on helping small-small business find ways to establish and enhance their online presence using credible, proven methods like opt-in email marketing, user-friendly website design, and newer technologies like RSS and blogs.

    If I knew how to “get rich quick” you might find something mentioned there, but considering the state of my bank account, it’s obvious I don’t. Hence, no references to get rich quick, thank you very much. eBay, on the other hand. . .:-)

  2. Paul- excuse my hasty writing, trying to blog a quarter-baked idea trying to get out of my house on time to be late for work…. I should not have written it to insinuate your marketing blog has the “reek”, and massaged my wording a bit (ugh,. the slap of post blog revisionism, oh well).

    I have a quick reflex to people I perceive who cannot look at a thioing such as the internet without seeing it only as a way to make a buck, much the same as I see real estate developers who cannot look at a mountain and see it as a place to bull doze, pave, and cover with strip malls.

    Again, I am not saying you are in any camp.

    However, my main point is the pitfall of promoting blogs as a “power to the people” thiing, and then resorting to the blog experts to characterize it.

    But wow, does Trackback work fast!

  3. You wrote: It occurred that the decision, the design to create these were completely teacher/institution initiated based on… what? It seems that learners have no influence, input …

    To me this is a symptom of a much greater issue. In my discussions with “learners” (used in the most general form) I’m finding more and more that they don’t want institutions, courses and “teachers” at all. They just want to learn what they need and to the job done. Only the iron grip of qualifications and their certification bodies drags learners back to institutions.

    Maybe my experience is disheartening, but virtually none of the students I encounter at educational institutions are there for the learning. It’s always just the qualifications. Real, broad, pervasive learning happens elsewhere.

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