Interview zum „Educational Technology and Change Journal“

20.01.2010: Stefanie Panke im Gespräch mit Herausgeber Jim Shimabukuro

„DasEducation Technology and Change Journal“ ist ein kooperativ betriebenes Weblog, in dem Forscher/innen, Lehrende und Industrievertreter neue Trends und fortlaufende Diskussionen zu Bildungstechnologien führen. Das Edublog ist ein Nachfolger der Blogging-Komponente des E-Journals Innovate. Das internationale Autorenteam verbindet persönliche Standpunkte mit akademischen Debatten.
Im Interview gibt Initiator Jim Shimabukuro von der Universität Hawaii Auskunft, wie Blogging seinen Lehr- und Forschungsalltag verändert hat.

1. Please describe the purpose of your blog and how it reflects your personal as well as your academic background!
Educational Technology & Change (ETC) is actually a journal that's published in a WordPress blog. I've been using blogs for my online classes, and in the process I've discovered their tremendous potential as publishing platforms with crossovers into social networking. My academic background combines Literature, education, and writing. I've been teaching freshman and advanced composition for over thirty years, and completely online classes since 1997. I've also been involved in writing, editing, and publishing throughout my career. Finally, I've been into computers since the early 1980s when I bought and got under the hood of my first computer, the Kaypro 2. I was involved in the early use of listservs as a social networking medium on the internet, and I've seen this trend mushroom into Web 2.0. From my perspective, change has been the one constant in the use of computers, and the trend is always toward expanding the global networking potential of individuals.

2. How did you get started with blogging? Do you remember a specific moment when you decided I should start a blog?
A couple years ago, a colleague, Lisa Kanae, showed me her blog. From the moment she explained how she was using it to supplement her hybrid approach to teaching, I was hooked. I saw, immediately, how I could use blogs for my online writing classes. I could also see their potential for students and asked them to create their own blogs to share drafts with me and their classmates. Blogs are the next-generation webpage, and they can be designed to serve both personal as well as group or organizational objectives.

3. Which infrastructure do you use for maintaining your blog? What design features (e.g. twitterfeed, tagcloud, trackback, polling, etc.) are most important to you?
For ETC, I'm using the standard free services and hosting provided by WordPress. Thus, it's totally independent of my college's systems. One of the purposes for this choice of infrastructure is the belief that all the tools for publishing a first rate, cutting edge professional journal are available on the web at little or no cost.

4. Has the character of your blog evolved over time? Do you have plans to implement something new in the future?
Yes, ETC is constantly evolving as we, the editors and writers, explore and discover possibilities. The goal is always to increase ETC's visibility and level of participation in the global professional community. The ongoing question is, How to take advantage of the blog's capabilities to develop a journal that's an integral part of the virtual life of educators? Thus far, we've learned that the blog format allows us to be topical, current, dynamic, and interactive -- qualities that are not usually associated with academic journals. Eventually, I'd like to see multimedia articles as well as live reports from conferences, both F2F and online.

5. How does blogging fit into your everyday working routine? Please describe a typical situation where one could find you blogging!
For me, blogging and my professional life are synonymous. I use blogs for all my completely online classes as well as for ETC and other college-related professional activities. As soon as I turn on the computer in the morning, I'm connected to my blogs, our college's Sakai site, email, and other websites. I move in and out of these virtual spaces throughout the day.

6. Can you reflect a little on your writing process? How do you choose your topics? Do you blend personal and professional content?
I rely on writing to share my thoughts, concerns, views, etc. A piece of writing usually begins as a response to an experience or observation, usually something I've read online, but the prompt could also be a conversation, a development at the college, etc. I guess I have a set of open-ended questions in my subconscious, and my attention is automatically drawn to anything that resembles an answer to these questions. I can pause at any moment, usually over a cup of coffee at Starbucks, to list possible article ideas, and the list seems nearly infinite. I gravitate toward articles that clarify, for me, ideas that are new to me, that are only vaguely sensed yet exciting because they seem to offer a glimpse into the unknown, into the future. I feel most alive when I'm pursuing an exciting but elusive thought in writing. The idea gradually forms with the words I type, and the process of birth or revelation is both fascinating and energizing. I lose track of time and don't feel any fatigue even after many hours. I write continuously until it's done, then return to the draft after a break to review and revise. Re personal and professional content -- yes, I try to blend the two. I believe the personal gives life and credibility to a piece of writing.

 7. In how far do you write for a specific audience? What kind of reader do you have in mind when you write a posting? What do you do to foster interaction with your readers?
For ETC, the audience is always my colleagues in the field of education.

8. Do you evaluate your viewer shares? How do you define a weblogs success?
I do, informally, by glancing at the number of page loads, which is reported in the blog (bottom of the left sidebar). The counter is provided by StatCounter, and I log in to the stats for my blogs at least once a week to get a general idea of traffic. WordPress also provides stats on the dashboard page, and I've only recently begun to pay attention to it. With no base line info, however, I have no way of knowing exactly how well ETC is doing against other similar journals. However, I can get a sense of growth by simply viewing the weekly and monthly graphs.

9. When you look back on your experiences in the blogosphere, what are your personal lessons learned?
I guess the most important lesson is that blogs and the web, in general, are made up of individuals, of my fellow human beings. Thus, a post is always more than just a post. It's a person, with feelings, deserving of respect.

10. How has blogging changed your approach to teaching and/or research?
Blogging has changed my attitude toward being a professional, underscoring the fact that communications is at the heart of my role as an educator and that blogs, in conjunction with other web media, are an extremely effective way to communicate with students and peers.

Gepostet von: mschmidt

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