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.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Blogging and culture

On the Work Literacy Ning, the group is looking at blogs this week. Because I am so busy, I decided to kill two birds with one stone and do a blog post and the "assignment" for the course this week.

I have been participating in the French speaking section of the course as well as the "mainstream". The issue that I brought up was seconded by the participants. In many cases, the Web 2.o tools might have a cultural bias in which some societies and cultures might not readily accept these tools for anything but "pleasure". However, I feel blogging is an exception to this. Blogging, I look at, as a just in time learning tool.

Blogging allows the student to write out their thoughts, in a public place, as it forms. The expectation for blogging is NOT that it be perfect, but rather that it communicates ideas and reflections. EduBlogs are spaces for students to work out their learning and receive feedback (sometimes instantly, sometimes months later). This record of learning allows both the student and the teacher to revisit themes and document the thought and learning process.

The problem with web 2.0 tools is that they might be too "informal" for societies in which learning is expected to take place in a formal structure. Written French, for example, is expected to conform to the rules set out by the Acadamie Francaise. Blogs tend to have a more formal written structure (and those who use it educationally often require a formal tone to the writing) and is much less socially bound (such as a social network like Facebook). On the other hand, it allows for person reflection and opinions which social bookmarking limits.


Blogger In Middle-earth said...

Kia ora Virginia.

I wonder if we are really looking at posturing here.

I know and am aware that posturing is used a lot by educators. It's used for a number of different reasons, the general use of which is setting a tone.

Sometimes the tone is convincing but still false. Sometimes it can be seen as false when it is genuine. The wrong tone (posturing) in the wrong environment rarely does what it's intended to.

The analogy I'm trying to bring here is of the informality of some social networking sites where "casual dress" and colloquialisms are acceptable.

Who of us has turned up at a function to find that their attire doesn't fit the dress code of the occasion? I have. Both ways. I felt as much a dill in one situation as in the other.

So it is with social networking spaces. Sometimes, just sometimes, personalities can get away with being out of place. It takes a lot of skill and confidence to do this, whether socialising online or at a garden party.

Ka kite

V Yonkers said...

Actually, I think it goes deeper than that. Written French is dictated by a central organization (as is Spanish and German). The Academie Francaise has fined businesses, for example, for using words that may have crept into mainstream conversational usage, but has not been approved by the Academie.

The French educational and political system is highly centralized and socializes the French to conform to these structures in a formal setting, which (I believe) creates a culture that is highly individualized in non-formal settings (such as facebook, etc...). As a result, using tools that are perceived of as being "individual" in a formal setting in French is almost anarchic as it crosses over the boundary the political, social, and culture structures have created.

Most cultures (societal and organizational) are resistant to those types of extreme boundary changes. Therefore, using social network tools in a formal environment like education, would be perceived as too disruptive.

I wonder, likewise, if there are other cultures which might be more conducive to Web 2.0 tools (such as Latin American, where group work is promoted)?