Seth Godin writes, “Today, an internet video or an investment philosophy or a political moment might last for weeks or even a few days. It’s not unusual for a movie or a book or even a TV series to come and go before most people notice it. Neophilia has fundamentally changed the culture.” This “neophilia” or craving for new things is a ping pong game that never ends. The fact in education is that there are strategies that have worked for a long time that we can use in the classroom. Not everything has to be new — all the time — my classroom has been doing the Flat Classroom project every year once a year for the last 5 years since Julie Lindsay and I first invented it. Sure, we’ve added new things and elements like a Diigo bookmarking group — we’re always trying to improve it — but you don’t have to always have all new things all the time. Neither can we have a static classroom of “filing cabinet” lesson plans. I once heard a veteran teacher say “may it never be said that I taught the same year 30 times, but instead that I taught for 30 years – always reinventing and improving.” We must reinvent and improve. I find myself tired and exhausted of the addiction to new — and now there is a name I can use for this — “neophilia.” The question about anything new is “does it improve upon what we already know to be true” and also, in the case of services and apps – I ALWAYS ask myself now, “does it have a sustainable business model” — if not — it won’t be here in 5 years. This is part of why we had to start charging for Flat Classroom because we HAD to start hiring some people to run projects and set up structures so that it can continue — to expect everyone to devote hours a week to keep something running for free isn’t sustainable because people have to pay their bills. It is time that Web 2 grew up to be “Web Do” — what does it do? Will it continue to do and improve? Instead, some people are just stuck in “Web New.” While new and novel can keep us interested, it should never be everything. “Make new friends but keep the old, one is silver, the other’s gold.” — I use this in my keynote “12 Habits of the Top 21st century teacher” — talking about new technologies — keep what works and improve what doesn’t. Let’s move from Web 2 to “Web Do” and avoid getting so addicted to “Web New” that we throw out what works.
Can one school publish 1000 books? Students can be publishers. Of course, I would ask and question if these books are being done well, but does it have to be done well? In the end, I guess ratings, etc. will help some rise to the top — sort of like YouTube but I wonder if the ratings system in place in iBooks or Amazon will allow such things to really happen as not everyone really writes reviews. I think writing reviews of book should be as simple as it is to write a review of an app — but one thing is for sure, the person should be confirmed to own a book before writing a review — that can be done with ebooks. Interesting idea and one for composition and writing teachers to consider (and this can be in tandem with art courses as a cross curricular.)
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