What PEW and Berners-Lee say about his 2.0 baby

Today, I want to share with you my thoughts on the recent comments from Tim Berners-Lee about the need for better source citation and the need for scientific collaboration to “steer” the Internet into its future. I give a few suggestions that I “wish” would be included in the new Internet direction and ask you for yours.

I share with you tagging standards that were proposed from our recent k12wiki project and thoughts about how we've allowed the walled gardens of students wall us from meaningful collaboration with one another. I also share how the amazing K12 math project aligned Google and Youtube videos with NCTM math standards cannot be accessed by many educators.

Finally, I've taken a look at the new Pew memorandum released today about Web 2.0 that is a must read to anyone using the “buzzword.”

I'd like you to contribute your comments about where you think the Internet should go in the future and how educators should be involved.

Tim Berners-Lee has concerns about Internet growth and blogs

Internet pioneer Tim Berners Lee has been in the news with his recent comments about the direction that the Internet is going:

The scientist who created the World Wide Web said Thursday that if trends continue, the Internet could become an “undemocratic” virtual space riddled with “misinformation” and “untruths”.

In an interview with the BBC, Tim Berners-Lee, who founded the Internet in the early 1990s, said blogs are particularly to blame in the propagating of false or misguided information on the web.

“The blogging world works by people reading blogs and linking to them. You're taking suggestions of what you should read from people you trust.”

Update – Tim Berners-Lee has posted a clarification on his blog about these quotes that he believes are taken out of context. He concludes aptly:

And, fortunately, we have blogs. We can publish what we actually think, even when misreported.

The Baby is Monster?
I've been perplexed by recent statements from Tim Berners-Lee who seems to be acting as if his baby has grown into a monster. Now that non academicians and non-industries have access to the Read/Write web there is growing concern on his part of the information that is proliferating around the Internet. I do think he has several good points that should spur educators further to teach this new blogging medium. (Perhaps I have been perplexed because as he says, he has been taken out of context, nonetheless many quotes from him have pervaded the media. Maybe he should resort to no interviews and just being quoted through his blog!)

Teaching Blogging is Essential to our Future
I believe profoundly that blogging and techno-personal skills are vitally important in our emerging global collaborative society. For educators to pretend that students can just “teach themselves” ethical Internet behavior is like expecting kids to just “teach themselves” how to behave in public. It doesn't happen!

So, what are the main points of his contentions with the blogosphere:

#1 Establish Sources

“underlined a need for bloggers to more consistently establish original sources.”

Creative commons licensing has certainly thrown many citation purists for a loop. I find people all of the time who cite from my blog without linking to my blog. There is a real need for educators to wrestle with this and to propose some standards of ethical blogging behavior. There is not a lot of information in this area and the rubrics I've developed are my own.

Several of my rules concerning this are that:

A) If you cite it, link to it.
B) If you quote it, cite it.

I believe we will need a blog version of turnitin.com that could scan student blogs for plagiarism. With information becoming the primary product of America and other leading societies, information integrity and ethics are vital to our future! Educators must wake up to this very important fact.

#2 We must cooperate to engineer the future of the Internet

The professor also sees a need to bring together scientists from a variety of disciplines into a kind of think tank dedicated to analyzing the web and its future.

“People with all kinds of skills and knowledge are going to need to work together in order to understand the web and in order to build a web which is going to be even better,” he said.

It's not just scientists any more

I agree and disagree with this statement. First of all, the Internet has moved far past the initial scientific realm. Pure scientists (those involved in basic research) tend to have an idealism and natural proclivity for perfection that doesn't stick in our “quick and dirty world.”

It is about planning the future of the Internet

Yes, I agree that people with all kids of skills and knowledge need to work together to improve it and make it better, but just as the Internet is a mosaic of a diverse group of people, so should its future be molded.

So, if I had my wish list about the future of the Internet, here is what I'd wish for:

  • Automatic spell checkers in every text box — it would automatically highlight incorrectly spelled words. Blogging posts and comment boxes are rife with typos — not because we don't care but because we are humans.
  • Automatic citation builders — When I highlight and put a hyperlink in a post, I'd like my blog (and wiki) to put the full citation at the end. If we had a standard for saving citation information on a web page, this would be a cinch on the programming side of things.
  • Automatic citation builders – part 2 – When I copy and paste more than a certain portion of text from another source, I'd like my blog (and wiki) to build the citation for me as well. This should be an automatic for school-based applications.
  • MLA Standards for the Internet – I have been so disappointed at the perceived weak response of the Modern Language Association to the need for meaningful Internet citations. I know some educators who have switched to APA for this reason. (I'd love to hear from someone who is more “in the know” on this topic.)
  • Plagiarism Checkers for Student Blogs – We have turnitin.com for papers, we need the same for blogs and wikis. (We will need the same for audio in podcasts and video as well. If you can cite it, we need it.)
  • Privacy Protection Measures for Children under a certain age – Parents need easy ways to monitor their children. They also need guidance as to when privacy issues occur with their children's accounts. There is need for discussion to occur in this area.

    Additionally, children doing mandatory assignments should not be allowed to publish under their real names. How many of you want your opinion as a 16 year old to haunt you for the rest of your life? We are allowing students to create virtual tattoos that no amount of electronic skin removal will take off. We should protect and teach those who are most vulnerable — our children.

  • Standards for Educational material – The move towards tagging is great, however the non-standardization of tagging is beyond frustrating. I was particularly pleased with the proposal that came from our Tagging To Help Teachers group on the K12wiki project.

    This presentation included an amazingly insightful proposal for tag standards. It is a good starting point. I keep wondering, why are national associations who are so big on standardization not creating easy ways to standardize tagging? It is vital to the finding of meaningful information on the Internet for educators. Here is what they proposed:


    There should be at least 3 tags used for tagging bookmarks, photos, websites, and blog entries.

    One tag must have the grade level. Tags should be either Kindergarten, 1stGrade, 2ndGrade, 3rdGrade, 4thGrade……12thGrade. If it is all grades, use k12.

    Another tag must contain the subject, but make it broad. Examples include Math, English, Science, SocialStudies, Technology, PhysicalEd, and Music.
    High School teachers who are teaching Math, Science, Social Studies, or another specific class must add another tag. Examples include Algebra, Geometry, Chemistry, Biology, WorldHistory, USHistory, and Geography.

    Then you need to add at least one tag that is specific. For example, you are tagging a website about adding fractions. You can either tag it as Addition and/or Fractions.

    Here is an example of this tagging standard: 11thGrade Math Algebra Addition Fractions
    Note that this has 5 different tags.

    To find resources that are tagged with all 5 tags you would use

    Regardless of what is established, technology leaders should be setting the path for the future with tagging. If we can set some standards, then the tags created later can be understood by all.

A note on K12 wiki projects
I must express here my pleasure in many of the k12wiki projects. I will be blogging and highlighting more about these in the future (and am sorry I haven't done it yet, I think I have k12onlineconferenceitis and am having trouble getting finished with my skypecast editing.)

Standards Discussions

Educators, it is time to have our part in this discussion. We have allowed the walled gardens created for student use wall us off from each other!

I get emails daily from teachers who complain that they have to go home to read my blog! Many cannot view and see our amazing math wiki project that took NCTM math strands and categorized an amazing group of videos for use in the math classroom. (I used the Exponent review for my SAT review last week — it is a great video.)

Where should the Internet go from here? It is time to engage in meaningful discussion about where this is going.

Pew Studies Web 2.0 – Released today

Today a new Pew memorandum was released about Web 2.0. They have studied the phrase and analyzed the facts to see what they bear out.

Interestingly, 34% have used the Internet for photo retrieval or sharing while only around 8% for personal blogging and 13% for professional or group blogs. Also interesting, social networking accounts for 11% of people surveyed.

Interestingly, they have a chart comparing Wikipedia and Encarta aptly subtitled Wikipedia Soars as Encarta Dwindles.” Twenty four (24%) per cent of users on Wikipedia in the sample week were younger than eighteen. Compare that to the other chart entitled Myspace dominates as Geocities crumble.” (Subtitle: Social 2.0)

Despite all the hype, the analysis reminds us that asynchronous e-mail is still the predominant use of the Internet. (Reminding educators to not forget Internet etiquette and e-mail use as of top importance.)

Their conclusion is hauntingly prophetic:

The Geocities vs. MySpace comparison not only demonstrates the commonalities between the Internet of 1996 and 2006, but it also provides a point of departure for understanding concepts of on line presence in the Web 2.0 era. While the Geocities model relied on the metaphors of a place (cities, neighborhoods, homepages), MySpace anchors presence through metaphors of a person (profiles, blogs, links to videos, etc.). Geocities encouraged us to create our own cities and neighborhoods as points of entry to our personal worlds; MySpace cuts to the chase and enables direct access to the person, as well as access to his or her social world. And whether we call the current world 2.0 or 10.0, there’s no question that the Internet of today will look positively beta to future generations.

To ignore Web 2.0 is to miss the opportunity to introduce children of today to the technological infant that will become the giant of their future. Additionally, we have an increased opportunity to connect to students on a personal level.

What do you think?

What should the “future Internet” look like and how should educators be involved?

Never miss an episode

Get the 10-minute Teacher Show delivered to your inbox.

Powered by ConvertKit
Picture of Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

All Posts »


WBishop November 6, 2006 - 6:43 am

I am a newbie so bear with me. With my limited knowledge, I think you make some fine points about the new wave and web 2.0.

The issue may be that for many blogging and the internet create a platform and provide information for the masses. Unfortunately, some may not want the masses to have free information or free services.

Think about it, wikis and blogging may soon replace blackboard and other giants. At least, this is what James Farmer of http://blogsavvy.net/ suggests. I know that I am doing my best to use my wiki and blog like blackboard.

Thus, maybe the question is dollars and cents! Who got to Tim Berners-Lee or is he legitimately concerned about misinformation?

Anyway, keep up the great blogging and I will drop by from time to time.


W. Bishop

Alfred Thompson November 6, 2006 - 7:04 am

Sir Tim talks about that quote, which he says was taken out of context, at his own blog – http://dig.csail.mit.edu/breadcrumbs/node/170
Interesting reading.

Neil Winton November 6, 2006 - 9:05 am

Hi Vicki,
Just a quick update (which I’m sure you’ll already know about).
TBL has already posted a respone to the article on the BBC (and Guardian) which points out how he thinks “Blogging is Great”.

He also talks about the importance of hyperlinks as a means of establishing authenticity.

Neil W

Rowland Gallop November 6, 2006 - 9:39 am

Hi Vicki

There is a plug-in for Wordpress which automatically works out academic citations for blog posts. It is at http://www.academicsandbox.com/academic_citations.html

I don’t know if there is a blogger equivalent but perhaps something like this might be useful to encourage people to cite blog posts.

Robert Jones November 6, 2006 - 3:30 pm

Firefox 2 has built-in spellchecking for text boxes – that’s one ticked :)

David Warlick November 8, 2006 - 11:59 am


A great post, and I agree with your suggestions, though I scanned them quickly — time to get ready for today’s work.

However, I think that the most essential element is a realization among educators that information has changed and that our sense of being literate must also change. We realize how important and how precious information is now. We live on the information flow, and, as a result, the quality of our lives rests on the dependability of that information. This is why the ethical use of information must be such an integral part of any notion we have of literacy.

This includes many things, but among the most important is our responsibility to assure that the information we use is accurate, reliable, valid, and appropriate to what we are trying to accomplish; and that we are responsible for assuring and validating that the information we share or produce is accurate, reliable, valid, and appropriate to the tasks it was produced for. It all happens in the conversations of teaching and learning.

Comments are closed.

The Cool Cat Teacher Blog
Vicki Davis writes The Cool Cat Teacher Blog for classroom teachers everywhere