Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Second-order tool use

As I sit at the BlogTalk 2.0 conference, it occurred to me that there are first level and second level uses of software tools. The first level/order use of a tool is the most obvious and fulfills the purpose for which it was initially created; i.e., word processing for writing papers, letters; data bases for maintaining lists; spreadsheets for crunching numbers; blogs for posting online journals.

But I have seen the evolution of these tools to accomplish tasks not in the original design. In the context of electronic portfolios, the tools are used within the context of building a story of learning. Hypertext linking within the Office toolset allows a variety of applications for creating links to artifacts and creating the portfolio structure. I see the same potential for blog-type activities in e-portfolio development. As a reflective journal, I think blogging can be very useful. If we can figure out how to create an inventory list of the attachments (artifacts) in the blog, and can figure out how to use those artifacts in another context, then it would be a powerful tool. But since I am not a programmer, I don't know how to make it work.

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