Can two examples equal a trend? Probably not. But if you type ‘learning log blog’ into google.co.uk, the first two entries that appear are the respective blogs of my good friends, Don Ledingham and Laurie O’Donnell. Neither of them any longer writes just a simple blog. Don started the ‘trend’ by calling his blog, Don’s Learning Log. Now Laurie, persuaded by Don’s compelling argument on the subject, has changed his blog title to Laurie’s Learning Log. And good on them both. Both are immersed in education, and both, like many of us, are passionate about the power of learning to change lives — and their ‘learning logs’ reflect this.
However, I think I will just stick with the simple ‘blog’ nomenclature. On the one hand, I suppose I do use the blog for my own learning — I read, I discuss, I think, I argue and, occasionally, I write something of what I learn on these web pages. On the other hand, my blog is also simply a channel for the odd musing or comment that really does nothing to add to my store of learning, or to anyone else’s for that matter. I enjoy, certainly, feeling that I am part of a broad community of people who are willing to share their thoughts by this particular means, willing to open themselves up to comment and criticism and to hustle and tussle with the ebb and flow of ideas that swirls around in the blogosphere. But, taking one of Don’s arguments for using the ‘learning log’ title, I do not feel that I bring any particular sense of discipline to my blogging, nor, for that matter, do I consider my blog an educational blog (or ‘edublog’, to use that slightly ungainly, but much liked, term).
Indeed, I have been taken to task (kindly, I should say) on more than one occasion for not sticking to my ‘core competencies’ of education and ICT in my blogging — but frankly, my dear (as someone once said) I don’t give a damn I enjoy hugely having this simple outlet to write about pretty much anything that comes to mind, anything that strikes me as interesting and worth sharing. So I write about education and technology (still the staples, I guess), but I also like to write about the media, the Web, politics, philosophy, economics, business, globalization, science, logic, sport, humour, books, religion, and so on. And, of course, I have my little travel blog to store the occasional thoughts and images from my sojourns in various airts and pairts around the globe. My blogging, like me, I guess, is a little messy, a little unsophisticated and highly undisciplined!
So, I wish Don and Laurie well, and I am sure that Don’s term will be picked up and used by others as well to describe their efforts, but I will continue to be boring and stick to this lowly, cluttered, indisciplined, mongrel of a critter that I’m happy to continue to call a blog.
I am looking forward to attending and speaking at the Global Knowledge Partnership Conference, being held in Kuala Lumpur from the 11th to the 13th December. The event offers me a number of wonderful opportunities: first, to meet up once again with Clotilde Fonseca, with whom I will be sharing a platform at the event, and Eduardo Monge, both of the Omar Dengo Foundation in Costa Rica; secondly, to see Kuala Lumpur itself — an amazing city I am told by anyone who has been there; and thirdly, of course, to attend the rich seam of sessions at the conference. The event offers a great choice of subjects for discussion, covering Emerging People, Emerging Technologies and Emerging Markets, as well as some special cross-cutting sessions — and the range of speakers is simply mind-boggling!
I delight, occasionally, when the spirit takes me, in listening to Bobby McFerrin. He is such an unusual musical talent, quite uncategorizable, and unique, in my experience, in his range of vocal abilities.
With close to 700,000 views, I can appreciate the popularity of this extraordinary piece of video from YouTube, where he ‘plays’ Bach’s Prelude No. 1 and has the audience sing Gounod’s associated descant of Ave Maria over it.
One of the genuine strengths of Scottish education is its willingness to work, where it can, through consensus rather than through legislation. With the advent of Glow and with the burgeoning role for the collaborative possibilities of Web 2.0, one of the thorny issues needing to be discussed nationally, I believe, is that of Web safety and its associated issues of filtering, security and domain-blocking. A recent post by Gordon McKinlay, which spurred me to respond, has got me wondering if my friends at Learning and Teaching Scotland might be persuaded to organise a national conference on the issue?
Open and honest discussion of the very difficult questions that arise in this debate would be an opportunity for the various perspectives to come together, hear each other out and, just maybe, come to some kind of agreement on a way forward. At the very least, everyone might be able to leave such an event with a better understanding of others’ standpoints — never a bad thing!
It is an issue that requires discussion by all the interests concerned — teachers, headteachers, local authority advisers and administrators, network managers, parents, pupils and government — and it needs an honest broker to sponsor and manage the event. LT Scotland fits the bill, I believe.