In the second third of Weller’s 25 years of Ed Tech (2020) the blog versus learning management system (LMS) debate was particularly compelling. This is relevant as, in my school district, our neighboring brick-and-mortar high school teachers are using a blog format to deliver courses online. Across the way, DL teachers on Moodle are watching closely. Below, I consider this choice within my current practice.
The lesson that aligns with my practice is that control an LMS provides is desirable for many reasons. While Weller’s focus is on higher education, the control within LMS is more relevant for school aged students who are still learning skills for finding and evaluating resources. Another key difference is that the school I work at tends to draw highly anxious students. The protection afforded by the LMS structure adds a sense of security. They feel more comfortable nested in a familiar environment that is consistent between teachers, courses, and grades.
The lesson that conflicts with my current practice is Weller’s understanding of the degree of control being a pedagogical choice. This is true to some degree and in higher education it makes sense to allow students more freedoms. More so, the amount of control is a question of the student, content provider, and teaching load. Our LMS is used by students from grade six to twelve. Having a consistent layout helps our students in their transition from middle school to secondary. The other determining factor, other than pedagogy, is that our content provider uses Moodle. With teachers teaching between 15 to 20 courses, there is currently no time allowed to transition away from this. This is where the sedimentation Weller refers to lies.
This blog format at the brick-and-mortar school is potentially more feasible due to fewer courses the teachers need to prepare. I expect though that it will be used to varying degrees of sophistication, much like Weller’s criticism of LMS’s early use. I will continue to explore this choice as it is so important to continually evaluate our practice and the tools within it.
Weller, M. (2020). 25 Years of Ed Tech. Athabasca University Press.