I’m having a go. I’m still signing up for everything I don’t know about. That is, I know it exists; I just don’t know how it works. Today I decided that I’d been signed up to Twitter long enough without doing anything about it. It was time to try a tweet (I think). Since twittering revolves around people, I thought I’d get me some (sic). I had a couple of people – literally – in my Twitterverse; I needed more. Many, many more. Like all the other Twitterers. It felt strange – browsing through people’s bios on other Twitterers’ sites. A bit like stealing friends. I followed anyone I’d ever heard of and those with whom I shared interests in education. Funny thing is that a few people were following Barack Obama, so I thought I’d give him a go too. Meanwhile, I need to practise what to say. Seems there’s a twitter language and grammar. Terse, obviously. And an intimacy that is expressed through digs and smart comments, I noticed. But how do I begin to use this tone with people I don’t even know? And just my luck, as soon as I master the twittering, the rest will all fly off and join a new social network with its own foreign language and customs.
Tag Archives: communities
Found this video on Education Innovation and it prompted reflection. How quickly things have changed in the world of technology in the last few years. Well, ‘last few’ to a person of my generation could mean anything from 5-20. The theme of the video is crowdsourcing. The basic message – we used to have to be physically together to create a crowd, but suddenly, with the internet, we’re able to create a virtual crowd. That is, virtual communities can just form themselves on the basis of shared interests. Fascinating, also, to acknowledge how technology has changed possibilties with photography. Three things have changed what photography can do forever: the development of affordable digital cameras; photo-editing software; and the internet. People are sharing photos, and more and more applications are popping up for creative use of images. Stock photos which used to be expensive are now abundant and therefore cheap because of amateurs’ communities. Think Flickr, think Picasa. Think about photo sharing on Facebook and MySpace. Think about the combination of photos and Google Earth.
Interesting, too, is the blurring of lines between amateur and professional, company and customers. Crowds, or groups, can change a business dramatically, or so the video says. And the most interesting thing, in my opinion, is that online communities organise themselves – what used to take corporate managers to achieve. Could the same be said for schools? How could we free up the system to allow for self-organising groups to form on the basis of shared interest and passion?
Originally uploaded by David Warlick
I haven’t slept well for the last few nights. I’ll tell you why. I haven’t been able to let go of a significant stuff-up in a job interview for the position of teacher librarian in a secondary school. It still astounds me that, when asked how I would engage students in reading if money were no object, I completely forgot to resource the collection! No mention of buying books! My library would somehow engage young readers bypassing a collection altogether.
I blame my present conversion to all things Web 2.0. Seriously, it’s almost as if a vibrant collection of resources is taken for granted. But, to be fair, when I analyse my giant faux pas, I would have to say that we all know, and have known for some time, that school libraries need a fantastic variety of all things readable, countless copies of every author, genre and style. But it’s not enough! One of the other questions that challenged me during the interview (an excellent question) was ‘how we get to know adolescents’ at our school. I think this is one of the most important questions, because if we don’t think about how we are going to understand young people in our schools, then we’re buying books for ourselves, then our programs are for a mismatched audience, our money is spent in vain.
During the course of this Web 2.0 journey, we’ve had a taste of the world that our students more authentically inhabit than we do, a world we have to force our way into perhaps, so as to have an insight into the question ‘how do we engage young people in reading?’ After crawling into Facebook and MySpace, feeling our way through Flickr photosharing, and other Web 2.0 applications, it’s impossible to ignore the fact that we’re living in a new information landscape, one where interacting and sharing understandings, views and knowledge is the purpose behind everything we do. David Warlick noted a graduate student’s comments about school in his blog,
“There’s not really an avenue at school for me to share, or publish my own stuff, or especially get feedback from people all over — That’s really the only reason I rush home to do MySpace so much.”
I think the reason I omitted to talk about the provision of books and concentrated on Web 2.0 applications, is that, like Will Richardson, I see this generation as a read/write generation. It’s not just about reading – it’s about reading and sharing opinions and ideas about what we’ve read with our friends. If we provide books, then we should provide the opportunity for socialnetworking amongst students. Teachers should not be the sole audience. Young people care about what other young people think. This is what Library 2.0 is about – innovation, people and community building.