August 5, 2006

International educational blogging: Differences outside the US?

I love the international idea exchanges that are empowered by the edublogosphere and more broadly by read/write web tools. Not only is it amazing to have the chance to learn from and even collaborate with other educators in other nations, but it is also interesting to observe differences in speech, behavior, and perspectives.

A few weeks ago I participated in an international skypecast about blogging tools, which involved around 25 people (not all educators, incidentally) from different parts of the world. We had North American participants from the US and Canada, and even a couple Australian voices in the dialog.

One issue which came up during our skypecast conversations was whether there are international differences in the ways blogging is being used in the classroom, and which tools are therefore most appropriate for teachers and students to use. In the United States, I perceive we have comparatively more litigation and liability fears/issues in society in general, including in education. I think this can and does have a significant chilling effect on educational innovation in some contexts, and specifically with blogging causes some (or many) administrators to not even consider letting teachers and students under their authority engage in classroom blogging.

Have you observed international differences in the ways web 2.0 tools are used in classrooms, and specifically differences in the uses of blog tools? What are those differences, and what impact do you think they have for student learning and engagement? What should we be learning from other educators in other countries, where the context and environment for education may be different than our own?