Way back when … revisiting my blogging past #waybackwhen

Whilst I’ve written a fair few words about my reflective journey of being (and growing) a Learning Technologist, I’ve not actually revisited my writing in any detail. Which is why this post from Sheila MacNeill and Martin Weller piqued my interest.

“Here’s a fun thing to try if you’ve been blogging for a while (Warning: may not actually be fun). Get a random date from when you started blogging until present (e.g. using this random date generator), find the post nearest that date and revisit it.”

With this date you then need to revist the nearest blog post to it (no cheating now) and ask yourself the following four questions:

  1. What, if anything, is still relevant?
  2. What has changed?
  3. Does this reveal anything more generally about my discipline?
  4. What is my personal reaction to it?

My date, chosen from my first blog post in October 2008 and today (22nd August 2016) is 14th April, 2013. Well, the nearest was published on the 14th April 2013 and is … Learning through a ‘dressed up’ YouTube channel? So, here goes.

YouTube is still growing, and the kind of videos being uploaded are still evolving and changing. Since I wrote the original piece we’ve seen the rise of the YouTube stars, we’ve seen 360 degree video, augmented reality (again) and virtual reality (again) but this time as part of what’s on offer from YouTube.

The Khan Academy is bigger than ever but is so much more than just a YouTube channel now. The videos on offer have grown and diversified into new subject areas and take advantage of the new (and old) features available on YouTube like playlists, captions, annotations, (Google) hangouts, filters, etc.

To be honest the Khan Academy hasn’t crossed my timeline for quite a while now, and I’ve not really paid it any thought until now. Yes, it’s still going. Yes, Salman Khan is delivering top quality TED talks. Yes, YouTube is still growing, from 26 hours of video uploaded every 60 seconds in 2014 to a reported 400 hours of video uploaded every 60 seconds in 2016 (accurate figures are very difficult to find).

What has not changed since I wrote the post is that we still need to be critical of something new and shiny (MOOCs anyone?) and reported to be the disruptive edge that learning/education needs. YouTube and the Khan Academy are still needed, in their own way by some people. Not everyone needs or wants it – fine, don’t use them. For others it’s both valid and needed. Both still have a reason and use. Is either a valid learning ‘portal’? Yes, if used for a purpose and you know what you’re looking for. You will, of course, get a wide variety of quality materials to choose from. it’s then that you need to use your head and think if it’s worth it.

“… I’m not an uncritical fan, either, and we need to look at carefully at Khan Academy before we adopt it, whole-cloth, as the future of education.” (Talbert, 2012)

This is true in 2016 as it was in 2016, and can be applied to any new tool, technique, theory, etc. It’s as I’ve said before … we need to have a considered approach to any new tool or technique and to implement it appropriately into the teaching/learning so it has purpose, not a purpose written around it.

I’ve enjoyed this process,and might even revisit a few more posts from year(s) ago, see what I can see has changed about my work, my attitude, and the industry we work in. Thanks Sheila & Martin!

Image source: keico taguchi (CC BY 2.0)