Sunday, January 28, 2007

Why Even Talk About Blogs, Wikis, Web 2.0?

I am preparing for a presentation week after next at TCEA, Texas Computer Educators' Association. I will be touting exciting Web 2.0 sites and other great online resources. While I look forward to talking about all these great services, I am suffering from a sense of futility. Why talk about this topic? So many attendees and even more of their unrepresented colleagues who cannot get support to attend the conference have no access to anything that offers Web 2.0 features. In a recent district where I presented, I could not even use my university's online databases. Getting to any blog was out of the question. I know all the well that this is the norm, not the exception. I would love comments from people who have experience in overcoming the roadblocks to creative teaching with technology that are so common in the restrictive environments existing in so many schools. If you have been able to make progress and gain access that has improved your ability to access online resources, I would love to hear your stories. What suggestions can I offer to attendees regarding ways to make things better at their schools?
PS If anyone is attending TCEA, my presentation will be Wednesday morning, February 8, at
10:30 AM and is called "Fun, New & Free Ideas and Services Via the Internet."


  1. Glad to see you're blogging, Dr. Bell. I'm looking forward to reading your posts and seeing you at TCEA. Your ideas are always thought-provoking and are presented with a sense of humor...a great combination!

  2. I too look forward to reading your posts, but when I read your message, I could only sigh. Not only are districts blocking a lot of websites, there is no time in most librarian's day to try blogging or wiki's. I actually got permission to do it, but it is just one more thing on the back burner. What do I give up doing in order to make time for the Web 2.0 activities? I still have 30 classes a week, I still have books to order/catalog/process, I still have volunteers to train and oversee, I still have 6 reading programs to run...and the list goes on. I have always been an "early adopter" and also have a MA in ED. Tech. but this time around, I just feel like I cannot keep up! I know technology is a wonderful tool but it can also create more work, not save it.

  3. I am starting an online book club through School Web. The district attempted the blogging feature, but disabled it, so I plan to "cheat" and allow students to post their comments as assignments. We'll see how it goes. I set up a blog for a teacher's classes in my old district through the Landmark Project's blogmeister, which I loved.

  4. won't be at TCEA this year but am looking forward to reactions from any of the team that does go and ends up in your session. Our district is particularly interested in 2.0 discussions, etc. so I will be following the development of your blog particularly along these lines. We are working very hard to be active participants in 21st century education trends and not let more tradtional methods become roadblocks!

  5. One solution our district came up with--

    We tried out some different blogging sites, and then settled on one to use as our "standard"--that also helps if we are trying to train staff or students, because the format will be the same, and it allows the district to unfilter one site, instead of all blogs, if that is an issue.

    We chose edublogs/learnerblogs.

    I think sometimes people aren't aware of all the educational material available via blogs.

    I shared some--such as the Washington Post Supreme Court Blog--to give some examples of what great content there is for students.

    I agree with your comment in the post above about joining tech committees in your district!

    As for time--we are incorporating wikis into research projects. I can create a pbwiki site and post the teacher's assignment and links on the site. It's an easy way to create a webpage, and pbwiki allows you to password the site, so you can allow it to be edited, or you can retain permission to edit it.

    So that one tool has gotten sort of naturally incorporated to what I'm doing with classes, and I'd definitely recommend it!