Blog canary in ed tech coal mine

It’s an odd reflection on the bubble the tech industry lives in — and simultaneously a sobering commentary on tech adoption in the education market — that there is still discussion of blogs being “new” in 2009.

But inside the education industry, even among the largest players, there are debates about whether or when to blog. Pros and cons were dutifully outlined for an article I wrote for the Software and Information Industry Association’s new book, The Expert’s Guide to the K-12 School Market, Second Edition. You can find an excerpt that succinctly outlines the pros and cons of companies blogging on the Selling to Schools site.

The full article in the book also includes a nine-step checklist to follow before starting a company or product blog. And, as you’ll note, the pros and cons and checklist apply to any business — not just those in the education market.

So why is this article curious? Because it, like almost nothing else, illustrates the gap between the leading edge and the trailing edge of technology.

Technologists today would be stunned that anyone would even think to ask about whether a company should blog; after all, blogging is a decade old. Not only is everyone blogging now, they’d say in wide-eyed disbelief, but anyone who knows anything has moved on to Twitter or something less, well, ancient.

Yet educators and education companies — a combination of a system developed for a mostly agrarian America and an industry still largely more comfortable with paper than pixels — are just starting, in broad measures, to come to terms with technology tools used in their classrooms and industry.

That’s not to say either extreme of the adoption curve is right or wrong. It sometimes helps to wait a reasonable interval so the pros and cons of any new development are clear, as my article outlines for blogging.

But, in my mind, there is also no better example of the disconnect between those who develop cool new stuff, and those who have to figure out how to use it in a practical manner in existing settings.