Who needs them?
I recently attended a conference where I learned of a very impressive, and
apparently successful, educational program that ran entirely on a blog. The program
didn't function in a "traditional" bloglike manner. From the outset
the program wasn't envisioned as something that needed the framework of a blog,
and many of the possibilities that blogs offer weren't put to use. But the blog
was a very cheap (make that "free") platform that was very easily adapted
to meet the needs of the program. No expert knowledge was necessary to get it
going, or to edit the posts. It got the job done - in a simple and workable manner.
the past decade schools have become a lucrative market for numerous start-ups
who have developed relatively simple (but sometimes, perhaps even more often than
not, unnecessarily complicated) content management systems. Some of these allow
the school to put a teacher in charge of the school's web site and do everything
without outside aid, but many others demand frequent phone calls for support.
And they aren't cheap. On the other hand, though blogs usually don't come with
the support that a school might like, the learning curve isn't steep, and they're
able to do most of what a (much) more expensive solution offers. Many people noticed
this quality of blogs. A full four years ago, one start-up CEO referred to it
as Disruptive Tech. (Four years is a long time, and perhaps the technology
was even more disruptive than he then assumed.)
I may raise more eyebrows than I even have at many of the attempts at using blogs
in an educational framework, I certainly can't complain when educators take control
of their projects instead of turning toward the big companies that seemingly offer
solutions that often don't meet their needs. If "professional" content
management systems are really on the way out, I'll be the last one to shed a tear.
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