Anyone have a Web elf to spare? November 17, 2013Posted by IaninSheffield in Musings.
Tags: blogging, commenting, writing
I’m not sure precisely when I responded to Julia’s (Julia Skinner, @TheHeadsOffice) request for volunteers for Team 100WC; I guess it’ll soon be a year? Which means that I’ll have posted in excess of five hundred comments on blog posts made by pupils undertaking the 100 Word Challenge. But in turn, that got me thinking about the comments I’ve added to posts and articles from other educators; how many of them have I made … and where are they?
As a blogger, all my words are right here (or in one of my other blogs) which means that at any time I can refer back to them, either to use the information to illustrate a point I’m currently making, or to reflect on what I wrote a while ago. Is the opinion I held then still valid? Have things moved on since that previous reflection and if so how? But the comments I’ve made on other blogs have all gone … or to be more accurate, I have no idea where they are. Now that seems like an awful shame.
When I feel moved to reply to a blog post, it’s because I’ve been prompted to think; to consider a point someone’s made and respond, either to extend their assertion, or to disagree and offer an alternative view. The evidence of the personal learning and potential readjustment of my beliefs or standpoint, important though they may be, unfortunately become lost in the ether. Now I’m sure it wouldn’t take a great deal of effort for me to bookmark those contributions, but wouldn’t it be so much better if there was an automagic way of doing it? (If Tony and Darrel (The Edtech Crew) are reading, guys this is what I think we need1.) Not so much for trawling the Web for my meagre offerings, but for those of others … in particular our students. Many of the pupils who contribute to 100WC also provide feedback to each other by commenting on posts. Although they’re for the most part early in their development of this particular skill, as they get older and more sophisticated in what they post, how do we/they track and reveal their progression? How do we find their contributions so we can offer feedback and guidance on what they’re writing? How can they add the comments or observations of which they’re particularly proud into their eportfolio? Well they can I suppose, but like me, it would take more effort than we would perhaps prefer.
So what I think we need is an application capable of trawling the Web for posts made from a particular profile and aggregating those contributions into a readable form. Or maybe you know of one already?
1When the guys have a guest on their podcast, one of the regular questions they close with is to ask “what tool or application that’s not currently available would you like to have built and why?”