January 7, 2008

My blog as a book…why it’s not that great

I posted about printing my blog as a book but wanted to expand some ideas.

As I show people the printed version, most seemed quite impressed; mostly with the quality of the print, the quantity of my work and the concept of being able to publish to a traditional, familiar format.  It’s fairly novel (but it’s no novel) and could perhaps help those who aren’t engaged in digital learning to see the depth of work that is done via blogging. These people expressed that sentiment well.

I’m also wondering if producing your blog into a book might be good for those who don’t get the amount of learning, communicating, etc. that we get from working in these ways. For example, it would be great for administraotr’s, etc. that I work with to see this volume of print as a way of justifying the time that I spend learning on my blog. Online it is hard to see the volume that is produced, in a book, the learning is more “weighty” and easier to show. Clarence Fisher

Wow Dean, just recently a friend (Diane Cordell) was lamenting that her district would not accept her blog as time spent in professional development. I wonder if they would have denied it had she produced a book like this. WOW! Cathy Nelson

But as I peruse it’s contents, it’s strikingly obvious how it lacks power. Without the comments, hyperlinks, and multimedia, it’s just my thoughts and work. It clearly doesn’t capture my true learning. Blogging isn’t just about me. It’s about my learning, my network and resources. It’s about me being able to express ideas in a variety of ways, engage in conversations, and take me to all sorts of new places and spaces. Even without those aspects, how many people would read this if I published it a  book? How about zero. Instead, I’ve had over 100,000 eyeballs look at my stuff. I realize eyeballs aren’t everything but still, how many people have published their dissertation and had that type of response? This print version cost me about $50 and misses so much. I could blog for free and include all that multimedia as well.

So here’s where it hits me even more clearly. If you are a teacher and have the ability to choose how your students will demonstrate their learning, why would you choose analog text over blogging? How can it compete? Is there even one reason that analog text is better than digital? I can’t think of one advantage other than access and while in some cases that may be important, for most schools and situations, it’s not.  When you watch Michael Wesch’s first video, it’s clear how digital text changes everything. You haven’t seen it yet? That’s easy, I’ll just embed here: (By the way, if you’re reading the text version of this blog, you won’t be able to see this or click on the links or read the comments)

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