Harnessing the New Shape of Information
I am sitting in a presentation by David Warlick for TRLD 2007 in San Francisco. I’ve heard him talk about millennial children, and now I’m here to learn more about Web 2.0… I’ve been blogging for a few months now, but I’m still trying to figure out the 2-way aspects of it – mainly because I haven’t really pushed my blog much. It’s still been my private playground of sorts, while I try to internalize the possibilities and challenges of choosing what to blog about and how to organize it. Now I’m ready to open the gate to my playground, and I want to learn how. (A thought after the presentation: I’m now thinking RSS is one of the keys to speeding up the communication piece…)
David isn’t going to start before he spends some time debunking myths – about sexual predators (NOT 1 in 5), about MySpace (it’s NOT a blog!), about cell phones (NOT dangerous), children on the internet (it’s not ruining them), etc.
And some roughly quoted nuggets:
- We can best serve our children by understanding them, supporting them and not overreacting to them. We’ll protect our children by engaging in conversations about their online experiences.
- Since 1992, information has become: increasingly networked, digital, overwhelming and borderless. The key is to understand how this applies to literacy skills / information literacy.
- Kids are doing stuff with technology that parents and teachers didn’t teach – they’re the ones who are connected and tapping into this new shape of information.
Buckle up as we board the Blogosphere…
Blogs allow people to publish all over the world, without any mediators…
Giving students this ability makes us nervous! But there are services that help provide filters and protections:
- epals.com – email and blogging for students (fee-based)
- gaggle.net – similar, also fee based
- imbee.com – another free blogging tool for educators and students
- classblogmeister.com – David’s blogging tool for teachers and their students; when the student writes a blog entry and submits it, it arrives as an email to the teacher, who must approve it before it goes live. It’s his own and he’s not a professional programmer, so he’s offering some caveats.
What do you blog? Something you believe, something you found, something you want to know – then it becomes a conversation!
Blogging as a Literacy Engine…What teachers say…
- Even when teachers are out sick, their students work on their blogs
- In 15 years of teaching, nothing else has come close to motivating students to write the way blogging does.
- It stops being writing and starts being communication
What’s the Best Place to Find Blogs?
Technorati.com is THE place to go to find blogs, to learn what people think, what they want to know, what they’re talking about.
What People are Doing on the Read/Write Web?
Innocentive.com is a brokering place for problem-solving – companies post requests for solutions and payments for it; if they use your solution, you get paid, even if it’s not your formal area of expertise (which research shows, it usually isn’t!)
How do we evaluate the digital content?
There is no gate keeper — there’s no walls to go with the gate! So kids need to learn to evaluate information and its source, e.g. sending 5th graders to Wikipedia: 1) Learn what Wikipedia says and 2) Prove that it’s true.
Most people over 35 were taught to assume the authority of what they read and start teaching them how to prove the authority of what they say.
The Web as a Platform –
The web now offers tools and environments that people can use to collaborate, e.g. Google Docs lets several people edit the same doc at the same time.
What’s a Mashup?
e.g. Hitchhikr lets people who can’t be there still participate… If you use the suggested tags, then your blog will automatically appear at Hitchhikr; likewise, Flickr photos with suggested tags will also appear
What about Social Bookmarking?
e.g. del.icio.us/dwarlick are David’s bookmarks
Content that Changes Based on the Behavior of its Readers
e.g. – RSS / Aggregator like bloglines “Training the Information to Find Us”
Google -> “search news” -> sort by date
- 57% of students have produced and published digital content. How do we restructure our classrooms into learning engines?
- We’reNotAfraid.com (gotta check that URL!) – a photo blog as a response to the London Bombings – 2500 posted in the first day. What a form of expresssion – what an opportunity – what a challenge for us educators to learn to harness…