First Monday is out with a collection of essays that might be of interest in terms of contextualizing where the whole 2.0 thing is at. From the introduction:
The rhetoric surrounding Web 2.0 infrastructures presents certain cultural claims about media, identity, and technology. It suggests that everyone can and should use new Internet technologies to organize and share information, to interact within communities, and to express oneself. It promises to empower creativity, to democratize media production, and to celebrate the individual while also relishing the power of collaboration and social networks.
But Web 2.0 also embodies a set of unintended consequences, including the increased flow of personal information across networks, the diffusion of oneâ€™s identity across fractured spaces, the emergence of powerful tools for peer surveillance, the exploitation of free labor for commercial gain, and the fear of increased corporatization of online social and collaborative spaces and outputs.
I’ve added a bunch of these to my “To Read” list (which just keeps getting longer), but I settled into one by David Silver titled “History, Hype and Hope: An Afterword.” Here is a part from the “Hope” section:
This is the writeable generation, a generation of young people who think of media as something they read and something they write â€“ often simultaneously. This is a generation of content creators, a generation of young people who with the help of Web 2.0 tools know how to create content, how to share content, and how to converse about content. This is the generation for whom broadcast media â€“ and its silent, obedient audiences â€“ is rapidly fading and for whom conversations make more sense than lectures. This is a new generation with new writeable behaviors and itâ€™s hard not to be hopeful about that.
I’ve got a post brewing about what our students really know and can do in this Web 2.0 world, and I think I’m slowly coming to understand that this type of rhetoric (of which I have been guilty of kind of dreamily espousing myself) is really still hope, not reality. Kids have the potential to do this in ways that no other generation ever has, but not so many are doing a great job of creating content and coversations and exhibiting “writeable behaviors” to the extent that most would like to think.
At any rate, just offering up the link for those that might be interested…
Suzanne Wargo says
State mandated testing et al are still in paper & pencil mode. Kids have a difficult time making the switch back and forth between the mediums “they” are used to and the ones “we” the educational community are used to. So while schools have NCLB hanging over their proverbial head, working in new media will not be as big as a priority as hiring aides to tutor kids for the traditional “test.”
Bill Ferriter says
I love the quote from the Hope section of the book you’re reading, Will—because it describes what I hope my students will be:
“This is the generation for whom broadcast media â€“ and its silent, obedient audiences â€“ is rapidly fading and for whom conversations make more sense than lectures. This is a new generation with new writeable behaviors and itâ€™s hard not to be hopeful about that.”
And I think writeable behaviors and participatory media—“conversing about content”—is something that can be taught pretty easily. While my students don’t come to me naturally knowing how to carry on meaningful conversations around content, with a few modeling examples, they hit the ground running because they do come with the expectation of being able to interact.
Check out this Voicethread on hate that a shared group of eighth graders and sixth graders I know are creating together. In it, I see glimpses of students articulating their own thinking, rethinking their positions, and challenging the thought of others:
Hopefully, those are the kinds of skills that will become more common in our kids—whether they’re using digital tools to communicate or not!
And BTW: Keep “dreamily espousing!” Your dreams make me continually question what I’m doing with my kids each day. I’m still pushing “connective writing” in our student blog after a post of yours a few months back!
david silver says
Hello Will – admit it, you selected mine because it’s the shortest! just kidding.
thanks for flagging my essay and for linking to the first monday special issue excellently edited by michael zimmer.
my brief notes about “hope” were generated by observing my current students – undergraduate college students, mostly media studies majors, at the university of san francisco. i’m well aware of the hyperactive hype that often surrounds new media in general and new media in education in particular, and my intention is not to contribute to that. put another way, there is so much about the intersections between US education and new media that i find hopeless. at the same time, my students’ social learning behaviors – content creation, content conversation, content collaboration – are unlike anything i’ve witnessed in my 13+ years of teaching college students. this generation of (college) students feels different, and i find some of that difference to be hopeful.
Will, i’ll be eager to read your brewing post about what students know and don’t know about this web 2.0 world and thanks again for the link to the special issue.
Will Richardson says
Thanks for the response, David. I always think it’s cool when the authors of the stuff I’m reading respond. Much appreciated. I’m glad you have that sense of your students, despite all that hopeless territory. And I do hope that you are right. I wonder what brought your students to this place, whether good teaching had anything to do with it, and, if not, how much farther they could be if they’d had it before they arrived in your classroom. Or, if they did it on their own, maybe they don’t need us. ;0)
Dennis Richards says
Wil, I posted my comment on my blog. See Pygmalion Project: April 3, 2008 at http://tinyurl.com/39y3b4
david silver says
Will, i’d like to think that good teaching had something to do with it (heh heh) and it does, but the digital environments young people are growing up in has a lot to do with it, too. for example, when i talk about some of the basic components of web 2.0, some younger students seem confused. but the moment i use already existing examples, they catch my drift. i can talk about user-generated content but it’s only when i talk about the concept in relation to, say, yelp or wikipedia do they get it. perhaps as educators one of our greatest contributions is to provide context to the things our students do and use on a daily basis.