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.

Over 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 Blogs as Disruptive Tech. (Four years is a long time, and perhaps the technology was even more disruptive than he then assumed.)

Though 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.

Go to: A magic strand?