Category Archives: Web 2.0

Education Democratically

To me the read/write web displays the best (and worst!) of the true meaning of democracy. People vote with their keyboards on what is the best/worst, hot/not, good/bad.

A couple of good things have happened recently. One, a middle school student from Falls Church entered a video contest on C-Span that not only one him a prize, but improved upon a situation that needed to recieve attention.

The 13-year old Wilson of Luther Jackson Middle School won first prize among middle school entries in “StudentCam,” C-SPAN’s National Video Documentary Contest for his documentary “When the Boys Come Home: The Controversy at Walter Reed.” Wilson took home $1,000 in prize money, and his video will be played at 6:50 a.m. on C-SPAN on June 14.

Wilson’s video, which runs just under 10 minutes long, highlights the controversy surrounding the cleanliness and medical care provided at Walter Reed Hospital, which takes care of wounded American soldiers returning from battle. Wilson relates the issue to his own family, as his brother Sgt. Gordon “Gordy” Hamm is currently serving in Iraq.

“What would happen to my brother should he be injured in Iraq?” Wilson asks during the narration of his documentary.

You can see him on Fox News and others or read the article in the Falls Church newspaper here. You don’t have to be a big Hollywood producer to get your story out there anymore!

Another great thing is a new section that has been added to the iTunes store called iTunes U. You can read more about it on the Apple website but basically what it entails is different universities have some of their classes on podcast and videocast and you can subscribe. Now you can go to M.I.T. and Berkeley and never leave your living room!

How To Learn

A while back I posted on David Warlick’s article “Of Course I Think It Matters” about teachers needing to be lifelong learners. I found this quote in a later post ” Knowing how to do it — is not literacy! Knowing how to learn to do it — is literacy!”

Then I ran across this presentation by Stephen Downes and it resonated with a discussion we had this morning. You can see the presentation here. Some quotes that seemed to get to the heart of things were:

” 3 principles of effective e-learning
interaction – in a learning community (aka a community of practice)
usability – simplicity and consistancy
relevance (aka salience, that is, learning that is relevant to you , now)”

“place yourself, not the content at the center””Elements of usability :

Consistency…I know what to expect…

Simplicity…I understand how it works…”

“Don’t worry about remembering, worry about repeated exposure to good information”

“Information is a flow, not a collection of objects”

“To gain from self-directed learning you must be self-directed

If we can make staff-development into self-directed learning and essentially self-development we will not have won a battle, we will have created change.

We need to change the perception through exposure to new ideas, look at it through a different perspective and pass that on, if we want to create a new paradigm and I think that is essentially what we are doing. It just seems slow sometimes.

Is Everything Miscellaneous Or A Soap Opera?

A couple of random things rolling around in my brain this morning. I have been trying to nail down the meaning of Web 2.0 to give a definition to others and it is like nailing jello to the wall. As I research I keep in mind other related pieces and I read an article on tagging and folksonomy on David Weinberger’s site Joho.

I should have known that tagging things would appeal to me. I have always liked playing with and arranging things. When I was little I had one of those metal doll houses with the little furniture and plastic people. This was of course back when we could have swallowed the furniture and died or cut ourselves on the metal corners of the dollhouse. I liked taking furniture and putting it in the “wrong” room. Before people were putting making media rooms complete with little refrigerators and microwaves I knew it would be conventient to have the ability to drink and eat in the same room in which you watch tv.

The first time I saw a chessboard I of course had to spend hours arranging the pretty pieces in what I thought were interesting patterns that had nothing to do with the actual game.

Tagging appeals to me because I can “arrange” information, websites, pictures, media – anything you can save; into patterns that mean something to me. Some of my tags may be at least similar to how you would categorize something and some would have absolutely no meaning to you because they reflect a reference that is personal.

You would not understand why I might scan a photo and upload it to flickr and have it tagged pipeline unless you know that I took that picture when we were traveling along with a pipeline crew. At the same time I would probably add tags that would tell you it was a related to Arizona, 1980, and Grand Canyon. With tagging I have a dollhouse with unlimited furniture so I can have my refrigerator in the kitchen, living room and bedroom if I wish and all at the same time!

Now if I could just tag that pair of sunglasses I lost….

I’d like to hear some opinions about Twitter. I have read come comments about it and even though I have a tendency to sign up for every new thing that appears on the internet I have resisted Twitter so far. I used to watch soap operas (yes I know – confession time) but I don’t anymore.

I do however, get attached to characters in tv shows and like to read books by authors who create multiple novels using the same main characters. I get upset when a favorite character gets killed off a show or has a catastrophe befall them in a book. Is Twitter the new version of the soap opera? I don’t think my life in interesting enough that anyone would care what “I’m doing right now” but I can see how I would get the nosy curious side of me fed by peeking in at what others are doing. If you use Twitter and see some use for it for collaboration or education I would like to hear about it. Have I been missing out?

Great Graphing And Blogging Lesson

Dan Meyer has a great post with downloads for teaching x-y graphs. He went out and videoed ten ten second events – running up two flights of stairs, driving his car, etc. He gave his students graph handouts and then played the videos asking questions like where was I at this point on the graph. As he asked the questions he had added chapter markers to the video so he could play sections in slow motion. He went around the room stamping the graphs he liked. After they had completed their graph and they had talked about it he would finish playing the video and the event would be graphed out on the screen.

A quote from Mr. Meyer’s article:

The total effect only intensified and grew more exciting with each new event. With scaffolding that precise and a visual connection that strong, even my weakest students were drawing eerily accurate graphs.They grew fanatical about accuracy, asking me to replay the footage five times for one particular event. Some became ornery when I couldn’t come and check out their productions.

Mr. Meyer is not only a talented teacher but a talented video and graphics creator and he shares! All the materials including the videos are available for download on his site at the end of the blog. You gotta love this guy! Not just for his hard work and willingness to share, but for the enthusiasm he brings to the profession and is able to sustain even at this time of year when many of us are feeling well, less than enthusiastic?

Head on over and grab some goodies and while you’re there you might want to check out some of his other posts. In the top right corner of the page you will see a group of links. One is just for the lessons he has published on his blog. I have referred a few teachers to this site before but I just can’t say enough about this blog! It’s such a great example of what we can do and share. I will be sharing this site next fall when teachers are learning about blogging.

You get a big thumbs up from me Dan – hear the applause? Wow!

Can information Be Owned? (or DIGG part II)

I grew up amid protests against the Viet Nam war in a part of the country where labor unions were strong. I have always believed that the heart of democracy is personal responsibility and personal sacrifice when it benefits society as a whole.
It may be the perspective of age but it seems that for the most part we gather up like a bunch of guinea hens running from one cause to the next with no thought of the long term consequences or who will pay the price.
While the guinea hens are running on to that next cause, who gets stuck footing the bill?

I say some old sayings still hold true – if you are going to talk the talk you better be willing to walk the walk.

It will be interesting to see how the landscape of the entertainment industry changes when the business end of it stops flailing it’s hands and stomping it’s feet and finds a way to change to adapt to the openness that is our new reality. The entertainment business and everything else!

I read a news article yesterday about someone in a lab “accidently” discovering that she had killed some cancer cells because she had done something wrong in an experiment. I immediately thought about how not too long ago this information would not have been made public – and we may not hear anymore about it. In the past, pharmaceutical companies would have held that information very close to the vest hoping to be the first to discover and patent(and profit from) the miracle medicine.

The article was pretty open about what she did and what she used. The competition for funding and grants is fierce so if this information starts a race in multiple labs for the same medicine will patients get it sooner? Will the effect of that information becoming public result in another company getting the prize and maybe knocking some promising researcher out of a position that might have resulted in a future discovery even more important to society?

I remember reading the book “And The Band Played On” which was about the progression of AIDS from the parts played by the CDC, the Red Cross and others. The Red Cross after being told about the risk to the blood supply at first ignored the information and because of that, people were transfused with infected blood and the disease spread especially to hemopheliacs. I was outraged in my naivete` that people could be harmed by the very system they looked to for survival. Could that have happened today? I think it would have spread through every blog, forum, and news site like wildfire. I hope it would have saved countless lives.

Another possible scenario is that it would have been brushed off because there is a perception out there that blogs and forums are mostly gossip and personal agenda and the information that might have saved lives would have been ignored all the same.

If there is no thought or integrity in what we say whether it be on DIGG, in forums, or on our own personal blogs then we do ourselves and the media a disservice. What difference will it make what we say if we are dismissed as being irresponsible? Will some changes that should happen NOT happen because the source is us? We all complain about the media putting it’s slant on the news depending on their agenda. Guess what folks – we ARE the media. What is our agenda?
Just my rambling for what it’s worth.

DIGG this

A site that I read fairly regularly has had an interesting thing happen. There were multiple posts on DIGG of an HD-DVD decryption number, There were multiple attempts to remove those posts after the movie industry threatened legal action. According to Forbes magazine:

The Web 2.0 movement is based, in theory, on the idea that everyone on the Internet gets to have his or her say. But what happens when visitors to Web 2.0 sites start pushing the legal limits of free speech?In the case of the social news portal, a meltdown.

DIGG is a news site that allows users to post news items and then other users vote and the votes move the stories either to the front page or towards the back. It’s content is constantly changing and users can comment. The commenting allows personal discussion about the news items and while I don’t share a lot of the views it can make for some interesting reading.

What is unusual about today, is that the users basically revolted against the articles about the decryption number being taken off and flooded the site with articles faster than the site administrators could remove them. The site administrators finally just gave in and said that if DIGG went down at least it would go down fighting.

Will this set a precident for web 2.0 sites that host user generated content? And does a community have the right to determine policy for a website? Should DIGG have banned users who refused to comply? I won’t get into a debate about right or wrong as far as the encryption, but I do wonder how removing the posts will accomplish anything. It’s like locking the asylum after the inmates have escaped. The damage is done and what was on DIGG is already on email and other newsites.

I also feel that having the freedom to voice your opinions on the internet carries with it some responsibility at the very least to whomever is hosting the website. If you want to say something that puts that person or persons in a position of legal liability then my feeling is you should host your own website and take responsibility yourself.

I do think the entertainment industry is going to have to rethink how it does business. The playing field has changed and maybe in some ways that is good. I believe that an artist has the right to make a living from their creation whatever the medium. I hope that the changes to come will see more of the actual artists reaping the benefits instead of huge corporations making the money and having the power.

I’m just not sure that this is the way to do it.

Video on Rss In Plain English and News Reading Feast Link

I’ve been busy with real life this week and trying to catch up on some rest at the same time. I am working on some things I plan to post on in the future but I had to share this great video with you.

Once again I can’t embed the video without the whole page going wonky so I will give you the link. If you have had any desire to gain a general knowledge of how RSS works take a look!

Rss in Plain English

I also wanted to share a link a friend showed me – PopUrls. If you like to read the news and find yourself wandering through several sites to do so check this site out. DIGG, Reddit, Flickr,, flickr, Wired, and so much more all on one shiny page!

Web 2.0 In Nine Weeks

The Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County has set up a blog called Learning 2.0. This blog contains a list of links containing 23 learning 2.0 things. The list is spread over a nine week period and contains links and tutorials to help you learn about blogging, Flickr, rss feeds and feedreaders, online image generators, library blogs, tagging and, technorati, wikis, online productivity sites, YouTube, and some sites for finding podcasts. The blog targets librarians but anyone who would like to get a “big picture” kind of tour, would find this a great starting place. If you follow the list of 23 things the way it is presented you will start your own blog and as you go through the rest of the list you will post on what you are learning.

If you go to their site make sure you check out the 7 and 1/2 Habits of Lifelong Learners presentation – it’s a wonderful presentation and the mission statement of the website is “Expanding Minds, Empowering Individuals, and Enriching the Community. You don’t have to take nine weeks to go through the list, but it is a great way to break down the pieces and give yourself a little time to reflect and play with what you learn. I love the way it is broken down and plan to learn from their example when I take some of these tools to my own campus. Thanks to them for doing such a great job! Thanks to Off The Shelf blog for point me to this great resource.
If you are confused about all this talk about web 2.0 or just want to let out your “inner geek” click over to this website and join in the fun.

Second Life Discussion and Resources

I have tried to like Second Life and it is interesting in that a lot of time and money goes into the different creations. The complexity of the design is fascinating to me but to be honest I get bored very quickly. I would rather chat or visit a forum if talking to people is the goal and it seems to use a lot of resources on my MacBook. That said I can see how students might enjoy it as a learning interface just because they are the avatar, chat, video gaming generation. I’m afraid that students would get caught up more in creating and dressing their avatars more than they would spend the time learning.

I keep coming back to technology should make things easier and it seems to me like this is more an example of making things more time consuming. I also have some reservations about the amount of money that changes hands. I will continue to check it out from time to time just in case I am absolutely wrong.

In the meantime there are some resources if you want to try things out yourself. The first is a forum for educators. You can sign up and receive emails about educational activities and places to go in Second Life.

There is a video tutorial on how to build things in Second Life that can be found here. Second Life educators have created a wiki.

There is an area strictly for teens on Second Life – the only adults that are allowed on there must be able to prove they are teachers. When a youth turns 18 they leave the teen area forever and are moved to the main “grid” There is a blog article and video here about a popular youth and her last day in teen life. The participants were on actually crying on skype and at the end the sunsets and the girl just disappears. Very dramatic video and shows how involved the kids are in this virtual world. The video actually ends like a funeral and the last frame has the girls name and dates like a memorial.

There is a video overview by the New media Consortium here and a blog (SecondLifeInsider) with article about the financial aspect as well as everything Second Life.
I found a comment response on a blog asking about Teen Second Life responses to the Virginia Tech shooting and felt that this was a positive way to utilize Second Life – as an outlet and empowering experience for the participants. The suggestions ranged from a workshop on teen violence to an area set aside for kids to place their creations like pictures, letters, and cards and even a suggestion of a t-shirt creation contest where they could purchase the t-shirts for their avatars and the money would go to a Virginia Tech charity. This was on the blog for the Global Kids Media Initiative.

I ran across a new word machinima which is actually a blend of machine and cinema and pertains to machine animation or productions created from using computer generated imagery usually on PCs. The video of the youth leaving teen life for the main grid is an example of machinima.

Some educational applications include:

“The ability to build 3-D objects collaboratively and in real time with others in the same world has enormous potential for teaching building, design, and art principles. Because Second Life is a rough simulation of the natural world, with meteorological and gravitational systems, the possibilities of experimenting with natural and physical sciences are endless. Meanwhile, the ability to interact with people from all over the globe enables political and cultural exchange and research in a safe and controlled environment.”

(from the School of Second Life Blog)Moodle and Second Life have mashed together an online learning system that incorporates both of them called sloodle which allows students to post to a blog directly from within Second Life. There seem to be courses you can enroll in but you have to sign in to see them.

I have rambled in this post and tried to give a balanced list of places you can go to learn about Second Life and education for yourself. It will be interesting to see what happens with Second Life in the future but for the time being I say it’s a nice place for a short visit but I don’t think I’d want to live there. I have enough trouble trying to balance everything in RL which is real life in SL speak.

Wikimapia – Let’s Describe The Whole World!

Wikimapia is a fun site that lets you easily annotate google maps by marking off a specific site, adding a title, some facts, and even a picture. According to their FAQ:

“WikiMapia is a Web 2.0 project to describe the whole planet Earth. It was created by Alexandre Koriakine and Evgeniy Saveliev, inspired by Google maps and Wikipedia.”

The actual process is pretty straightforward.

  • click view and choose maps, satellite, or hybrid
  • Click in the search box on the right side of the page and type the name of the place
  • You will see a list of possible matching sites – click the one that best fits your search
  • When you find a place that you want to add a description to click “add place”
  • You will see a transparent resizeable, box with squares at the corners – move it and resize it to cover your site then click save
  • This brings up a box that allows you to type in a title, a short description, choose tags, and add a Wikipedia link if one exists.
  • When you are finished click save
  • You can now click menu and if you have a photograph of the site that you would like to share click edit and choose add/manage photos
  • You can click browse and navigate to the location of your photo and click upload. You will get a message telling you if you were successful. Click on the X to exit from this menu.

Now if you hover your cursor over the site a small box appears with the title you added. If you click that box it will show your description and the photo you added!

Our tech director told us about a class project where the students were formed into groups. They had iPods with clues to lead them to geographic places, GPS to help them get there, and digital cameras to take pictures at the destination. They also had the Tunetalk piece that would allow the students to record voice as they searched for their site. I think that you could take this a step farther and have them go online and put their information on the map using Wikimapia. You might want to add a collaboration piece by working with a class in another part of the world and letting the students exchange data on their respective sites.
If you have Google Earth installed you can click on the link in the FAQ for the Wikimapia data layer and you will be able to download the file to allow you to see the Wikimapia data in Google Earth.

Google Presentations are Unofficially Officially On Their Way

According to the Official Google Blog they are going to be releasing their presentation piece soon. I haven’t seen a date yet but knowing Google if the word is out then it really shouldn’t be long. According to a blog on ZDnet by Garret Rogers there will now be more compatibility between Google Docs and Microsoft products due to a new company Google has acquired called Tonic.

While Google claims to not be in competition with Microsoft these pieces together make a nice substitute for students who don’t have access to pricey office suites and make it much easier to collaborate.

Google has also acquired JotSpot – a wiki application, though as far as I can find, it is not out to use yet.  It would be great if it would integrate easily with Google Notebook.  Sounds like some interesting new tools this summer!

Pageflakes for Reading Online

I am reading about web 2.0 in education and want to thank the comment contributors that gave me suggestions for places to look. As usual, when I start searching I end up going down rabbit trails and this one led me to check out page flakes. I have tried several feed readers and ended up using my Google personalized home page as a place to read my favorites. After I discovered that you could add tagged pages I was hooked. I like the visual layout of having the feeds I read all the time showing all over the page so I can just quickly skim down through the headlines and read the ones that catch my attention. Last night I may have found a new way to get all my reading goodness,

I checked out Pageflakes and after playing with it for a few minutes, signed up for an account and started creating pages and adding feeds. The layout looks very similar to the way the feeds display on my Google page but right away I found I could create more pages to help me organize my feeds by category. I was able to find feeds through their website and also copy and paste the urls for the sites I wanted and have it discover the feed and add it to my page. I was able drag and drop feeds into different tags and arrange them on the page.

Another reason to love Pageflakes is that once you have the feed on your page you can click on edit and choose export and Pageflakes creates the html file that will allow you to insert the “flake” onto another webpage. There is an example of my work blog on my footer. I tried to embed it in this post but it made the page go all wonky so I will need to work on that.

Web 2.0 Staff Development

I have some questions. If you were going to learn about three web 2.0 tools to use in education, what would your top three choices be? My choices were blogging, wikis, and podcasting.
What staff development or technology class or presentation have you attended that stuck in your mind the most and what made it special? I am especially looking for ways it was FUN!
What motivates you to attend this type of class? Does your district require so many hours? What is the payoff if any?

This is a short post but I know there are some incredible teachers and learners out there and I hope to pick your brains!

I’m Watching TV….

On my laptop! I have visited several sites where you can watch videos on the web but tonight I am watching a video on “Beginning Excel in the Classroom” on Pyro TV You don’t have to sign up for an account, but if you do you can save your favorite channels. The channels can be searched by Featured, Popular, Genre, and People. The one I am watching is by TILT (Teachers Improving Learning with Technology). The link will take you to the blog but you can also view the video by going to Pyro.TV and searching by genre, education and clicking on TILT. You will see a list of all their videocasts including Episode 2 – Digital Pictures in the Classroom and TILT Episode 7 – Multimedia Animation Using PowerPoint and more! I also like GeekBrief and Photoshop Tips. There is also a channel for comedy, Kids and Family (Digikid has movies that have moved over into the public domain category like The Three Stooges in Order in the Court) , Arts, News and Politics and more.
Since we are rapidly approaching the season of summer reruns this might be a great time to turn to the internet and be entertained and maybe feed your brain too! Be aware that not everything is kid-rated and when I signed up for an account there was no question about age.

If you prefer all educational videos produced by students and educators check out the channels on TeacherTube. The site is growing everyday with more to choose from. The videos are groups by subject (with a brand new category for Student Products) and there is a contest going on right now – sign up for an account for a chance to win a laptop and get another entry for each friend you invite that signs up! Maybe they will throw in a chance for me since I’m blogging about them. You can also join groups that focus on specific interests. You can embed their videos and link to them. You could save the link in your lesson plan and have access to the video without your district having to host it on the server. When you sign up for an account you are asked to certify that you are over 18 and you must agree to their terms of use and privacy policy. I’m in awe of the talent out there!

You may already be watching TV on your computer and if you have a link to a great resource I’d love to hear about it!

I am working on a tutorial for setting up blogs on our district server and I started it in PowerPoint but was recently told by a friend that you can open a PowerPoint in KeyNote on the Mac, export it as a Quicktime Video and even add audio using GarageBand. I am going to give it a whirl and I will blog about the outcome later.

Friday is Stop Cyberbullying Day

“Let me propose a radical notion: The weblog’s greatest strength — its uncensored, unmediated, uncontrolled voice — is also its greatest weakness” Rebecca Blood

For resources and activities join StopCyberBullying.

I did some searching on ethics and blogging and found some things I really liked. At Rebecca’s Pocket I found a post that expounds on a list of blogging “dos” and the above quote. Worth a read. Rebecca Blood is the author of The Weblog Handbook.

1. Publish as fact only that which you believe to be true.

2. If material exists online, link to it when you reference it.

3. Publicly correct any misinformation.

4. Write each entry as if it could not be changed; add to, but do not rewrite or delete, any entry.

5. Disclose any conflict of interest.

6. Note questionable and biased sources.

The LibraryJournal has an article by Karen Schneider called The Ethical blogger. The article advises us to be transparent about the things we feel strongly about that might bias our posts, to cite our sources, and to admit our mistakes.

The next site I looked at was the CyberJournalist which had a detailed Blogger’s Code of Ethics. The main section headings begin with “Be honest and fair”. My favorite under this heading and one I think would be a great to build a lesson for our students around is to “distinguish between advocacy, commentary, and factual information”. The next section header is “Minimize Harm”. My favorite entry in this section was “Show compassion for those who may be affected adversely by Weblog content”. The last section deals with “Be accountable”. My best choice here is “Abide by the same high standards to which they hold others”.

I hope you will go read the original articles and use this material to start discussions with your students. Your students could use this as a starting point to creating their own code of blogging ethics.

As Sarge on Hill Street Blues used to say “Let’s be careful out there.”


Follow-up On Kathy Sierra

In response to what happened to Kathy Sierra, a social networking site has been started by Andy Carvin at CyberbullyingHurtsLearning Now for discussion and resources to help educate everyone on Cyber-bullying. If you would like to add your voice or find out more you can go to Stop Cyberbullying and join in. Friday March 30 has been designated as Stop Cyber-bullying Day. This is a good time to talk with your children or students about the subject and maybe incorporate some ideas into your lesson plan. Bullying only works if the victim is alone –
Stephanie Sandifer has a great post on giving each other grace at Change Agency that I think is timely, well…anytime.

A great resource is the Center for safe and Responsible Internet Use.

If you blog with students there are some great discussion starters found on Andrew Pass’s blog and one in particular called Death threats is about the situation that prompted Stop Cyber-bullying. The discussion starters are linked to current events with thoughtful questions.

If you wish to place a picture on your blog like the one I have on this post there are some at Dangerously Irrelevant.

Kathy Sierra

One of my favorite bloggers canceled a speaking engagement and is unable to leave her home today because of death threats and sick comments on her blog and some posts on some other blogs that also referred to her.

She is not in education and yet she has taught me a lot. I wish I had some sage advice to offer her but I would be terrified myself.

As I read her post describing what is going on I couldn’t help but think it could happen to anyone. While she has the added public exposure of speaking to large groups (including SXSW) it just underscores that we really have no idea of who is out there reading what we write. I don’t think we should stop writing, and blogging is not responsible for a stalker. This kind of thing could happen to anyone at any time. We do need to be aware of our surroundings online though, just as we should be mindful of our surroundings in any public area.
We talk about teaching our students how to post online with a positive image and there is so much controversy about what should be blocked and how we should protect our students, but there really isn’t any such thing as truly protecting them. We can take measures to the best of our ability, to make sure that their educational experience online and off, is safe – but what it comes down to is no one is ever safe in this world. We just have to prepare them as best we can and hope it’s enough.

My prayers are with Kathy tonight as they are every night with the kids in our community. Sometimes when you have done everything else you know to do, that’s all that’s left but it’s no small thing. So stay safe Kathy and I hope the person is caught soon.

Reflecting on Web 2.0 and where We Are going

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?