Pondering Pedagoo

I’ve been meaning to post about this for a while, but while I’m lying here in a hospital bed listening to Kenny & Neil being interviewed by John for Radio eduTALK at the ACTS Conference, I thought I’d give it a go just now.

Download: pedagoo.mp3

My favourite question from John was “is there a plan?” which I think Neil & Kenny answered brilliantly, especially considering there isn’t one particularly. John also raised the interesting issue which could arise if Pedagoo grows to such an extent that the volume is so high it becomes overwhelming. Questions such as these have been occupying my mind for months now as Pedagoo’s growth has become exponential.

In the short term, we’ve already taken some steps to address some of these issues. All new posts now need to be approved by a member of the admin team. This is allowing us to stagger the posts out a bit (preventing the boom and bust approach we often had before) but it’s also allowing us to give authors a bit of feedback before their post is published.

If the site continues to grow though, we’re still likely to encounter problems. In many ways, I already feel that the site could be moved to more of a magazine style format. This would allow for easier categorisation of posts on the homepage and allow users to more easily scan over a greater variety of content and choose what is most relevant to them. But whilst I can see the advantages of this sort of approach, it worries me deeply also for two main reasons.

  • Managing the site would take a lot more time: it’s already at the point were it’s a fair bit of effort to keep the site ticking over, most magazine themes require much more effort due to the need to include images etc.
  • It would discourage people from posting: many teachers already feel too threatened by what’s on the site to post themselves, I’d be worried a more professional appearing layout might make this worse. I like to think of Pedagoo as a community, but I worry this is decreasing as a smaller and smaller proportion of our readership also write posts themselves.

Perhaps we need to make our core purpose clearer on the site so readers understand why it has the format it has. It hasn’t got a magazine format because it’s not a magazine, it’s a learning community.

It’s not just the site though that I’m constantly pondering, it’s the nature of Pedagoo itself. At the minute it’s a domain name, some goodwill hosting, a bunch of teachers and buckets of positivity and creativity. There is no funding involved. We don’t even have a bank account. I often wonder if Pedagoo would be better if we turned it into a charity or social enterprise. Then we might be able to try and access funding and enhance the things we’re trying to do. But, like with the blog theme, the danger is we’d ruin the very essence of what makes Pedagoo so good. It’d have to be a lot more ‘formal’ which could well be a total disaster…?

So, I suppose the question is, how do we walk the tightrope of improving Pedagoo whilst keeping true to its origins and original purpose? Answers on a postcard. Or as a comment would probably be easier…or even better, as a post on Pedagoo.org!