Web 2.0 Is the Future of Education

This piece by at techLearning is getting quite a bit of attention amongst Ed bloggers. It’s a confident assessment of the importance of web2.0 in education and feels like the jigsaw pieces are fitting together. It’s great to read something that looks at both what is out there now and remains open to the wonders of what will come next.

I believe that we cannot even begin to imagine the changes that are going to take place as the two-way nature of the Internet begins to flower, and that even those of us who have spent time imagining this future will be astounded by what happens.

I love that this whole piece captures the dynamism of educational technology – it’s not about educating people about how to use what is there today. It’s about encouraging participation in whatever is there and whatever is to come. I’ve been reading up on knowledge management lately, in an attempt to finish a Masters and there seems to be a cross-over between some of that research and what has been seen in online communities and physical learning spaces. There is a common thread that access to people is key to sharing knowledge, and access to experts is the best of all. Steve Hargadon’s article has pointed me back towards John Seely Brown, whose work I have been aware of in the past but who seems to have some interesting things to say about social learning.

Blogging the election

The Oxford Internet Institute is running a series of Blogging roundtables. They are open to anyone, and I went along to the first one earlier this month.Kevin Anderson, blogs editor at The Guardian, was speaking on “Blogging the election”. A podcast of the talk is available here.Kevin referred to a number of studies to back up his claim that blogging increases participation in the political process, although it is not possible to tell which came first – are bloggers more likely to be political activists or are political activists more likely to be bloggers.More interesting to me were the ideas about how blogging and other forms of user-generated content are changing the political process, and making politicians and the press more accountable.Doggedly pursuing their own agendaPorkbusters, who aim to “blog the waste out of government”. They used crowdsourcing to track down a senator who was blocking legislation, by a process of elimination. Since the talk, there has been another similar case where The Superdelegate Transparency Project has been tracking down who the Superdelegates in the Democratic convention are going to vote for, and whether or not it reflects the votes from their state.Keeping stories runningThe news cycle in the USA is notoriously fickle. Some stories run and run. Some are a flash in the pan. And some just never make it into the mainstream. Blogs are being used to keep a story rumbling along in the background until something shifts and the mainstream media decide it is worthy of attention. An example of this is Talking Points Memo, which pursued a story about the Bush administration firing attorneys. This eventually broke in the mainstream press and led to the resignation of the Attorney General.In a similar vein, blogs follow up on what has been reported elsewhere, and challenge the facts and assertions. Pressthink was given as an example of this.If we are talking mass appeal, however, you can’t beat YouTube. This has been used extensively in the election by campaigns and enthusiasts. Speeches given by the candidates have been uploaded and some have been viewed hundreds of thousands of times. The music video style remixes – millions. Have a listen – it’s inspiring in a very non-specific way.How does this relate to technology, education and learning? Well, mostly it is just inspiring, but it also demonstrates some great use of collaborative technology and some exciting examples of where new creators of content and new activists are challenging the status quo.