A Theory on Blogging


From Indiana University South Bend Professor Ken Smith, who blogs about weblogs in higher education:

A little theory of blogging. Here goes: somebody creates a new tool or technique, such as blogging. In time, some people realize that it is powerful, and they make it a way of life for themselves as individuals, then as members of a small community. As the community grows, a culture is created, which solidifies the power in the lives of many people, even if they are still a small portion of a wider society.

Some educators see the power, so they teach their students to use the tool or technique. But maybe they don’t teach it as a way of life, and so some students don’t notice the power. They think it’s just one more thing school wants them to do, and as soon as possible, they drop it. A few, however, catch on, and join the community and help it evolve.

The ones that get it think the tool or technique is utterly foundational and far-reaching, and the others think it’s one more game society plays, interesting for awhile, then not so interesting. Some of the educators struggle with their disappointment, not quite being able to put their finger on the problem, which is: their teaching methods are based on values contradictory to the values of the astounding new tool or technique.

When they figure that out, they are shocked by how much they themselves have to change.