Saturday, June 16, 2007

Smart or just looking smart?

An interesting quote from an article which was entitled 'Blogging makes you smarter'...

Infinite Thinking Machine

People blog for different reasons, and all of those reasons have value. In the past, people were much more limited in their abilities to publish and share their ideas with a global audience. That has changed dramatically in the 21st century, however, as ANYONE with access to a computer and the Internet has access to "the global stage." Whether writing on the "global stage" or a private, personal paper-based letter, writing can stimulate thoughts, and many of those can be "higher order" thoughts involving analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. Writing (not simply copying and pasting information with a web browser and word processor) is inherently a CREATIVE act. That process therefore has inherent, creative and ideological value. (Ideological in terms of helping people further develop ideas.) Is the greatest value I personally derive from blogging this process of clarifying thoughts, literally "getting smarter" via writing? I'm not sure. I know that aspect holds great value, but I think the CONNECTIONS which are fostered via blogging as well as the CONVERSATIONS are at least of equal value, if not more. The more we blog, the more we reflect, the more we think and write about learning and our practices as professional educators, the smarter we're all going to get!

Well... obviously... big yay for that! But aside from the initial self-congratulatory stuff, there's another point which is significant and that is that blogging can help with the process of reflective writing. It helps you a) reflect on what you're reading / experiencing / seeing in the world around you but it then translates that into b) which is that you communicate that reflection to a third party, regardless of whether or not anyone reads your blog. There's inherent value in doing that in education, regardless of the topic someone's chosen to blog about.

However, I think there is a risk of information overload and 'Attention crash' from elearnspace highlights this as an issue to bear in mind. Information spewing out... information gushing in... stopping and thinking about the real value of any of this stuff from time to time (yes, reflective thinking again!) is important and knowing when to say I need a breather is important. We might become smarter through the act of writing... but unless we quality control both information input and output I don't think we'll truly move away from just doing a good superficial impression of 'smart'.

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