Blogs: The Great Conversation 2.0

It’s late, but I need to tell these stories…

On March 9th I posted this post about MMORPGs in Educaiton, in which I cited Clark Aldrich’s Simulations and the Future of Learning. About a month later he must have stumbled across it, and he left this comment clarifying his position. I received an email alerting me it had been posted and was shocked to see a message from Clark Aldrich in my inbox. When I read the post, I learned of his blog, to which I have now subscribed. (He also plugged his new book, which I’ve now ordered.)

Then, on Friday (three days ago) this post showed up in my aggregator (thanks to an MSN search feed I wrote that simply scans for “Mark Wagner” and “Educational Technology”). It turns out that when writing last week, I had cited a paper Susan Mernit wrote in 1995. Within 24 hours of my post, she had seen what I wrote and responded to my writing on her own blog! By Sunday night, her writing (and encouragement) had come to my attention in my aggregator.

As a student and teacher of literature and philosophy I have often talked about “the great conversation” between authors of different ages. Unfortunately this conversation has often only been one way, since the response to an initial work often comes after the initial author can reply – or at least after they are able to publish another work in reply. With blogs though, this can happen over a matter of months, days, or even minutes. I am honored to be a part of the conversation… and no less so because I’ve yet to be “published” in the traditional sense.

To be sure I’m connecting the dots for you here… students can have this same experience, as Will Richardson’s students have, and as Sheri Bithell’s students have, just to name a few examples.

BTW, I really enjoyed sharing these stories with the cohort of principals I was training today in OUSD. And they didn’t even make fun of my hat. :)