Thursday, November 03, 2005

Wikis, Podcasting, etc

My answers to Robert's questions...

What, if any, experience do you have with blogs, wikis, or podcasting as a consumer that suggests these technologies are successful and "here to stay"?

I don't think it's all "here to stay" -- it's the current state of things in the ever-changing evolution of technology and the internet. Blogging and Wikis are specialized forms of content managment, and I expect that new forms of content management will emerge that are ready for instructors to use with little time investment required.

What, if any, experience do you have with blogs, wikis, or podcasting as a teacher or technical support staff that suggests these tools might successfully be incorporated into teaching, learning, or research activities.

The main obstacles include lack of campus IT support for various technologies. Relying on commercial offerings limits your ability to adapt the system to meet YOUR needs, and might not measure up with respect to privacy or copyright considerations. If some podcasting or wiki or blog outfit wants to make money by running ads next to your blog/wiki/podcast, is it right for those companies to profit from your student's work? I'd like to see more on-campus support for these tools.

I used flickr.com this semester, and I was a little annoyed at their attempts to get us to "upgrade" our flickr accounts to pay accounts.

Commercial offerings might not be stable enough (in terms of features, appearance, etc) for your course. Suppose you created a course with instructions on how to accomplish some task (like set up a blog in blogger), and just as the semester starts, Blogger decides to roll out their "new look" with new functionality. The more integrated (and thus meaningful) these technologies are in your course, the more disruptions like this will mess you up.

I've used wikis in a number of circumstances, mostly in collaborating with colleagues rather than with students. I've used other services like flickr.com in my teaching. All things being equal, I prefer to run my own software rather than rely on a commercial "free" service.

Which begs the question: why do "blogs, wikis, and podcasting" form some sort of unit or topic with respect to instructional technology? There must be a million services/software apps like flickr.com, del.icio.us, my.yahoo.com that are also obviously applicable...

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