Friday, July 07, 2006

My Love Affair with the Internet

Just realized that I have had my blog up for almost a year (it will be 1 year exactly on the 31st). Who knew it would last so long? It was meant primarily to be a way of keeping in touch with my friends in the US after I left, but it has evolved into so much more. Or so I’d like to think (ha!).

The rise in the popularity of blogging reminds me of a period around the late 1990s to early 2000s when it felt like everyone had a website. The availability of free web hosts and easy-to-use tools like those on Tripod and Geocities meant that everyone and their grandmother could have a web presence. Many people did, though not a lot of the websites (IMHO) were much good. Still it was a lot of fun to read peoples’ stories and see photos of their friends and families. I linked-up with a few long-lost friends through these personal sites. I got my own personal home internet connection for the first time in 2000 when I moved to Boston and I went totally crazy. Most of my time (outside of school and work) was spent physically in my bedroom, but in reality miles away somewhere in cyberspace.

I devoured all the personal websites I found, eagerly scoured their favourite links and gobbled those up too. I start frequenting discussion boards (perhaps my social downfall?). My favourite was on a website called ChickClick and it was really my home away from home. It was a sad day when they closed down. I stayed up late so many nights, not because I couldn't sleep but because I could not tear myself away from my computer. I kept saying "I'll check just one more page." Before I knew it, I had been up almost all night with just a few hours before I had to get to work. When my friend Y told me that her sister was going through the same thing, I TOTALLY understood.

Over time though, after the initial excitement had long died down, many of these sites fell into a gradual state of stasis and eventually disappeared altogether. I suspect the same thing will happen with many of the blogs around. Blogging is also, of course, evolving. I know many people think of it as a frivolous waste of time, but they perhaps aren’t thinking about how it can be adapted for use in a myriad of collaborative learning experiences. In some Western countries, teachers use blogs to discuss homework or classroom teachings with students. Blogs are also used by teachers to keep parents updated on what is being taught in the class. I’m pretty excited about the possibilities that the future will bring, not just for blogging but also for online collaborative learning.


Kaunda said...

I so excited too about how blogs can be used for collaborative learning. It's not just in schools either, although that's a very good thing. It funny what blogs strike an interests and ones that don't. I'm not sure I've figured out the pattern. Some of the ones that interest me the most are on topics I know little about.

Christian Long's Think:Lab has opened the world of edu-bloggers to me. I love the blog and you might be interested to check it out.

Something about edu-blogs is they tend to have one foot planted right on the ground--maybe that's a thread in the blogs I find most interesting.

In school what students often need is individual attention. Knowledge isn't something that can be bottle-fed to a person. Information must be presented in a way which is digestible. The real effect of individual attention often comes from simply letting a student know they're okay. "You can do this!"

In the Internet world we all become life-long learners. And the possibility that learners can get the attention they need is something to take seriously.

Thanks for your posts. Your blog indeed has become something much more than a way to keep in touch with your friends.

Vixen said...

Blogging does evolve on a continual basis. Just the other day, I got contacted to blog not just for fun, but for education as well. It's so fluid and dynamic that I think bloggin will be around for a long time. Hopefully the good blogs stay as well.

Ore said...

Congrats, Vixen! Hope you enjoy your new blogging gig.

Kaunda, I'll check out the Think Lab blog. I check Andy Carvin's blog, - from time to time.