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Digital Natives

Rather says it all… 

Possibilities –

  • Daily project, each student has to blog “here’s what I learned today”.
  • Allows teachers to see what’s grabbing the little ones’ attention
  • Forces Mum and Dad to become more tech-aware and tech-using
  • Allows for a sneak preview of the dinner table conversation
  • Gets kids writing
  • Provides an archive that can be used to track evolution of thought over time
  • Constructive comments can be used as a form of feedback

What a really good idea.


The value in blogs

Earlier this week I attended some student presentations.  As one particular group was speaking I found myself idly wondering about the source of their knowledge. Something just didn’t fit and I wasn’t entirely sure what the either the something or the fit was. The content seemed too casual. I flicked to the reference list – aha!

I noticed a in the reference list.  I already had impressed several times on this particular class the need for formal academic references and that amateur-written non-peer-reviewed blogs are so far to the bottom of possible sources they are off the accepted list. They are at the other end of the spectrum from formal peer-reviewed academic journals.

What’s the problem? I blog and I enjoy reading other blogs. The fact that blogs don’t have the delay factor associated with peer-review (or any other review) means their publishing time is very short indeed. Comments can be posted in as much time as it takes the commenter to type them. The author can reply to comments in whatever tone and with whatever content they like. They can even change their original blog posting on the fly. In essence, immediacy and ease of editing are strong plus points.

The big questions –

  1. To what extent does the immediacy and ease of editing make blogs superior to peer-reviewed formally published journals?
  2. Should blogs be subject to a review process?

Question 1 – Content in even lower ranked academic journal articles have a considerable amount of thought and research on show. They are the product of extensive research which simply cannot be done in a hurry. Opinions and conclusions therein have to be justified with concrete proof and argumentation. A given blog posting will not have this level of research on show.  Surely, the mere fact that a typical blog posting takes the author minutes to write is not a reason to prefer its content to the more formal and time-extended efforts by authors of journal article – at least not for academic writing and research pruposes.

Question 2 – In “Time to rise above the blog standard” in the Sunday Business Post of 3rd May suggests there is a need for a “professional membership body with a code of conduct”, that “could come under the remit of a watchdog for blogs that would have a role similar to an ombudsman”. This is based on the author’s suggestion that “the majority of bloggers couldn’t have cared less whether the details they’d printed were accurate or not”.  The reader isn’t told who these particular bloggers are. Blogs are predominantly opinions. Opinions are neither right nor wrong in any absolute way, they are merely more or less informed. It is up to the reader to decide for themselves the value of such opinions. If self-respecting readers spot factual errors in a blog, newspaper, book, etc, they are unlikely to return to that source. An ombudsman is not needed.

Long live the blogosphere with its freedom of expression and opnion!

This type of business is not supposed to work

A significant feature of online business and marketing emphasises the need to interact with the customer, engage the customer, build a relationship with the customer. At the very very very least, don’t antagonise the customer unnecessarily. Yet Ryanair do so on a regular basis and somehow it doesn’t seem to matter.

The latest concerns the “lunatic” (the words of Ryanair) blogger who discovered a glitch in the Ryanair booking system. Read it here from the source. He got a hefty 400+ comments. The more in-your-face comments, however, came from Ryanair themselves. Read about it here and here.

I find it hard to believe that there can a single school of business anywhere promoting the direct labeling of a customer as an idiot, a liar, stupid, a bragger, having a pathetic life. Yet, Ryanair have done exactly this.

Even more bizarre is that this dreadful example of customer service isn’t likely to make one jot of difference. Customers will continue to flock to Ryanair’s planes, even if they no longer use the bathroom facilities (!). In a recession, cheap flights are a cheap price to pay for lack of courtesy.

Can you think of any other product, organisation or industry where this might work?

Three cheers for the Gaelscoil in Newcastlewest

If this isn’t joining the Bebo generation in their own world, what is? Having a Bebo page for your school really makes a lot of sense. We know that Irish youth are heavy Bebo users, and so the pupils will be heading in there. This is a great way to show off your school and its ethos and achievements via a channel that the pupils can relate to.

Only downside is that the blog is not being kept up. I wonder could they organise something like have a particular class responsible for the blog on a weekly basis. At the end of each week, the nominated class for the week could blog about what they’ve done, found interesting, learned, are planning for the near future, etc.

Interesting that there doesn’t seem to be a word as ghaeilge for “downloads”.

Being nosy, I’ve gone and had a look at the schools non-Bebo homepage. (How interesting that I find the bebo page before the more ‘official’ page).  Have a look at the virtual tour or the slideshow – in terms of space, they have a lot going on.  They seem to have a positive and progressive attitude to technology in learning. They reach out into the community. They encourage artistic expression.

The alumni seem to be doing well. Three cheers for Elizabeth.  Three cheers for Gaelscoil Ó Doghair!!