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October 08, 2003



Can you be more specific about what's apalling? Do you think there are too many, too few, or something else? I'm assuming it's too few.

Shouldn't surprise you given how much teachers make vs. movie stars or how much screenwriters make compared to, gee, movie stars?

The more interesting question, I believe, is why people are willing to invest scads of money in frivolity and escapism and little to none on their own and other's growth.

Crawford Kilian

Thanks for your note. What appalls me is that so many educators (including me) are scrambling around trying to find uses for blogs in education...and so many writers (including me) are putting their energy into their blogs at the expense of their writing projects.

It may be that for both groups, blogs are a passing fancy and we'll return to the serious meat and potatoes of our professions. Or someone may actually find a genuine application that makes teachers and writers more effective. I hope so.


Seems like an awfully anti-blog attitude for a blogger, Crawford!

Seriously, what do you see as the problem with using blogs in education, and why do you not view the writing done in blogs as "serious meat and potatoes"?

Crawford Kilian

Maybe I was just being bloody-minded and perverse when I wrote that...or maybe not. I've spent a glorious 15 or 16 years fooling with computers in education, and much of that effort was wasted. It mostly taught me that computers at their present stage of development are no substitute for a real teacher and real students in the same room.

When I got into blogs, I immediately thought of possible educational applications, and I've just finished several weeks of exploration with some colleagues, looking into how blogs might be used. The proverbial jury is still out. Blogs may eventually offer some real benefits to teachers and students, and I'll keep exploring them, but I won't pin my hopes on finding just the right configuration that makes blogging enhance and enrich the classroom experience.

As for the meat and potatoes...there I'm thinking about actual print-on-paper books. Some people in the blogging world are doing interesting experiments in what amounts to a new/old fiction genre--the epistolary novel. Others are using their blogs to post their novels (a bit awkward, since the last chapter is usually at the top of the column).

Still, for many writers who blog, it's time taken from the "real" writing. Maybe it helps get such writing done--my "Writing Fiction" blog does let me think out loud about what I'm doing in my novels--but scribbling in a looseleaf binder should produce the same effect.

So while I'm fond of, and fascinated by, the blogging phenomenon, I'm also skeptical of it.

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