The Read/Write Web

Today, I've been spending some time on Web-logged and there are several things of note:

1 – Will Richardson has been writing about the Read/Write Web and quoted several things from Laurence Lessig‘s recent article in the Financial Times entitled “Creatives Face Closed Net.” (Lessig is a Stanford Law Professor)

Blogs, photo journals and sites such as Wikipedia and MySpace signal an extraordinary hunger in our culture for something beyond consumption. According to a recent Pew study, almost 60 per cent of US teenagers have created and shared content on the internet. That number will only grow next year. As it does, these creators will increasingly demand freedom to create, or more precisely, re-create, using as inputs the culture that they buy. In a sense, this re-creativity of the Read-Write internet is nothing new. Since the beginning of human society, individuals have remixed the culture around them, sharing with their friends the product of these remixes. You read a book and recount its plot over dinner. You see a movie and ridicule its naivete to friends at a bar. This is the way culture has always been used. The only difference now is that technology permits these remixes to be shared. And that capacity in turn will inspire an extraordinary range of new creativity.

2 – A virtual conference for Education Bloggers at the k-12 level has begun discussion this week. (Thank you Will for pointing this out also.)

  • Jon Peterson has created a website and a wiki.
  • The work is being done akin to that of the Higher Ed Blog Con for colleges.
  • If you're interested, bookmark or RSS that blog to keep up with it.

I think a virtual conference is important. We have a lot of blogs beginning to be used but to have the best minds come together. I want to talk to other teachers who are using wikis. When going on technorati — either they aren't there (I know they are), not blogging, not tagging, or not pinging. (What a mouthful!)

It is vital to create places of easy, efficient information exchange of ideas and best practices in these emerging technologies. I hope you listened to my student's talking about wikis in the podcast yesterday — it is very revealing.

Collaborating is what these kids do naturally (60% have already done it according to the Pew study listed above.) It is time to harness that for learning.

We as educators are going to have to learn to use the tools that our students use to communicate so quickly. They text one another so that by the time of the first showing of the first screening of a new movie — teens around the world know if the movie is good or not. Movies are suffering and benefiting from the text message phenomenon. Why can't educators have a way to communicate as quickly when we find new tools that really work and relate to the new generation? To test it in a variety of classrooms with a variety of students in a variety of subjects?

We have an unprecendented opportunity but we have to get with it and be unafraid. We risk becoming as irrelevant as a hardback comprehensive dictionary! (They just look up the word in google now!)

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