About Me

Education, the knowledge society, the global market all connected through technology and cross-cultural communication skills are I am all about. I hope through this blog to both guide others and travel myself across disciplines, borders, theories, languages, and cultures in order to create connections to knowledge around the world. I teach at the University level in the areas of Business, Language, Communication, and Technology.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

How did I get here (blogging)

Karyn Romeis posed the question for her dissertation, "how did you get here?" in the use of Web 2.0 tools. Interestingly enough, I am not an early adaptor when it comes to technology. I will try out tools, however, if I feel that it will help in my teaching.

I don't think that I have really come into being a "blogger" as much as a reader of blogs. I do blog as a way to keep track of some of my thoughts. However, I don't think that blogging has really accomplished what I had expected of it: creating a space to dialog about ideas. I feel that I can accomplish that better as a commenter of others blogs. For whatever reason, I have had few people actually comment on my blogs (I received the first comment on my blog after a year of blogging, and most recently have had two more people commenting, one regularly!).

By August of 2007, I decided that I could use the blogging to try out the various aspects I read about on the edublogs. For this Vicki Davis's blog has been very helpful in trying different things out. It seems to me that there is so much tacit knowledge gained in blogging. I read about something, then I try it out on my own blog. Just in the process of trying it out, I then can come up with new ways to use it in my teaching and my own learning.

I don't like facebook, although I have found Ning groups that seem much more accessible. For me, the advantage of these programs is they allow for the two way dialog I rarely see in blogs (Tony Karrer's blog is the only one where I actually see "dialog" as opposed to a one way posting/comment). I tried facebook because I had heard of its power on the new generation of workers and students and was curious as to how it worked. At the time I signed up, I signed up as a student so I could play around with it. From facebook, I was invited into a Ning group, which I preferred. I find (as did many of my graduate students) that Ning is a much more rich environment as you can choose the way to participate depending on your preferences. You may just read blogs, you may blog, you can podcast, you can participate in discussion forums (my preference), you can be a lurker, or you can be an active participant. In fact, this is an environment I want to try out more for my teaching and learning for next year.

Finally, my favorite tool for teaching and learning is a wiki. What is surprising is that I almost gave up on the use of wiki after last summer. I was teaching a course on computer supported writing and found the wiki software we were using as not very intuitive. I was part of a pilot program, so out university was just as inexperienced as I was. My first attempt did not work out, which I found disappointing as I am a great believer in collaborative writing as a learning tool. That fall, the university decided that they needed to present some "best practices" workshops, demonstrating how wikis could be used. As I was part of the pilot program, the professional development instructor came to see how I had used the wiki. While I had a contextual idea of how a collaborative writing tool could be used, I could not seem to fit the wiki into that model. After speaking with the workshop instructor, I had a better idea of how the wiki could be used and it has really changed my idea of what happens in collaborative writing (to the point that my ideas for my dissertation on workplace writing for distributed groups has been impacted). It has really made me more open to seeing the impact the wiki can have on both group and individual knowledge creation despite having a poor finished product. Even now, I think of how the use of a wiki can be used in research, in group projects, in team development, in knowledge management, etc...However, I have also learned that the wiki is a tool that can be designed and manipulated in many forms to provide different learning environments (i.e. creating community, creating permanent records and group memory, sharing information, creating processes and procedures) that goes beyond a given time, place, and group of authors.

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