I read blogs. I read constantly. I read while I am watching TV at night and before I go to sleep. I read in the morning while I am drinking that first cup of coffee and getting ready to start the day. There is so much to read and every day it seems like I find a new resource on the internet. I search, I check out other blogger’s blogrolls, I create google alerts to help keep up.
It seems to me that while the points of view are varied, the themes are similar and so much work is being duplicated. It takes passion and reflection for the amount of writing that gets done and while I love blogging, I can’t help but wonder if this is just a step in a process that will at some point make all these little sparks of light come together in a more cohesive manner.
The majority of blogs that I read are written by educators but when I step back, the picture looks more like a great, spread out class of students, all trying to move ahead but because of the size and distance and time – the direction is unclear and the pieces are hard to put together.
It’s wonderful that we have so many choices for web 2.0 tools but paradoxically those same choices seem to slow the journey. As soon as I think I’m getting the feel for a new tool there is another one to learn. I’m grateful that there are voices out there willing to share what they are learning but I can’t help but think it is all part of a transition and that we aren’t quite “there” yet. I’m not even sure what “there” is.
The collaboration that goes into wikis is a step and the blogs that have guest bloggers or are written by several people is a step. The conversations that grow with the comments and links back to other posts on other blogs are a step. Online conferences are another piece. It just seems like we should be moving towards something that gathers these pieces into a less unwieldy unit.
RSS has taken us to a new level where we can pick and choose what information comes to us and because of it, the information gets there so much faster and easily than it used to. Tags are also a part of the process. I can’t help but think that at some point we will have a more efficient system of grouping the information as it comes to us in a way that allows us to see where work has already been done or is being done simultaneously so that we can quickly see what needs to be built on or tweaked to fit our particular school or situation.
How many of the new web 2.0 tools will be around in a year? Five years? Ten? Look back five years and try to remember where your school was on the technology adoption timeline. We’ve come a long way kids and we are moving forward faster all the time. How can we share more efficiently? If we are heading somewhere – where will that be? What will information literacy look like in the near future? What will happen to primary sources if the writing that takes place is mainly on the internet? Do you as a blogger keep hard copies of posts?
Lots of great questions here. I find that having so many new tools arising all the time causes teachers who are trying to be a part of this a lot of stress.
How do you know which ones to invest your time in and which ones not to? How do you feel “informed” if you feel like you’ve missed some great opportunity?
My perspective though is the tools that are tossed out into the web 2.0 world create an opportunity for creative “play”. When we can “play” with them, we can find new ways of working with information and seeing the world. Some of them will transform how we do things, and some will remain just toys to play with.
Those of us who work with training or supporting teachers have the opportunity (and responsibility) to play with the tools, help sort out which ones have some use for our campus, and share them.
In thinking about your comment about the conversations we are having sprawling all over the internet, it reminded me of a Time podcastI heard about Joost tv yesterday. They estimate they may have up to as many as 50,000 tv channels running there in the next 3 years. We are in this environment where we will have so much user generated content, that how will we find it? Will the common conversations happen anymore?
I tend to believe that some things will rise to the top just as they always have. Perhaps there might even be more of a consistent global conversation, because some things may rise to the top all over the world simultaneously. I like to think of it as a large happy noisy village.
On the other hand, there will be so many voices, and so much chatter, how will things be heard? I think your concerns are valid ones.