Sunday, July 23, 2006

I like links

My Netscape browser has issues with me when it comes to translating the writing I do in the preview boxes provided by into the smart looking published entries you see on my blog page. I click on the "publish post" button, and up pops that cute little multi-colored pinwheel thing and it starts circling. And circling. And circling.

Much as I enjoy watching the gyrations of this little pinwheel-like thingy, I eventually ask my PowerBook G4 to perform a "force quit" from Netscape, and I'm off to join forces with my friend Sam Safari. He's not as capacious in his abilities as Nick Netscape, but I find his simplicity reassuring, matching as it does my own.

One of the most important things Sam Safari does not know how to do is "code" my links on my blog posts. For that service I have my mentor Todd (see my previous post) and my own patience. I get to the point in my writing where I want you to be able to link to another text, just like in the sentence you read above, and do the following: I type a sideways carrot facing left, then a space, then an 'a,' than a space, then the word 'href,' then an equals sign, and finally a double quote mark. Now I'm ready to go search for the 'authenticating' text. When I find the text I'm looking for, I copy its url, bringing this information with me as I return to my 'create post' window. I paste the url in the space right after the double quote mark I described above, follow the url with another double quote mark, and end this part of the operation with a sideways carrot facing right. I then add the highlightable words you see on the blog--the ones that link you to the text I've selected--and I end with a sideways carrot facing left, a forward slash, an 'a,' a sideways carrot facing right.

What sort of pay-off could possible be worth all this bother? In my mind, the answer relates to what I wrote about in my previous blog (you guessed it) where I argued that the public accessibility of blog postings serve as an helpful form of discipline, reminding us of the unrealized potential for public advocacy at the local level inherent in the practice of blogging.

But this potential for advocacy, particularly in the area of arguing for the reforming of specific public school environments, will simply not be realized unless bloggers act with the same sense of public accountability as mainstream journalists.

I take that back. The potential of bloggers and blog sites to successfully advocate for fundamental change in specific school settings must rest on an higher and more informed sense of public accountability than we presently see, or are likely to see, in mainstream journalism. Newspaper and television news journalists are required by the extended nature of their audiences and the economic dictates of their bottom lines to paint with a very broad brush. Journalists in these media have neither have the time nor the incentive to pinpoint and promote changes at the local school site level.

Teachers do. And they must. But they will only be taken seriously if they are guided by the same accountability practices as their colleagues in the mainstream media, citing their sources and carefully allowing their readers to check out the credibility of their observations and arguments. This is done in the wired world by making it as easy as possible for one to 'follow' a reference made by an author to the source of that reference.

I like links.

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