So I know this is totally self-indulgent and egocentric, but I do have a point to make about the fact that out of over 2.7 billion results that you get when you search for “Will” on Google, this blog now comes up first. First of all, I find that fact just simply amazing in some warped way. I mean, I know it’s in no way a measure of my character or worth as a human being. There are probably at least 2.7 billion people out there without any Google rank who do much more than I to make the world a better place for others. (At least.)
But here’s the thing…the fact that I am “clickable” or find-able to this extent gives me tremendous opportunities to connect to other people, many of whom may have much to teach me. I am truly humbled by the powerful learning that I have done within the network of people that I’ve become a part of, and it would not have happened had I not had a way to engage in these conversations. I’ve said this many times…blogging has transformed my learning. Our students who are not “clickable,” whose content is not being shared and distributed using the tools of the Read/Write Web, who are not engaging in potentially global conversations about the ideas and topics in which they take an interest, who are not learning how to build their own networks of trusted sources and teachers are, I think, missing a huge opportunity. Without question, I come to this because of what has transpired in my own life, and I recognize full well that what’s happened to me in this blog will not happen to everyone who decides to participate. But not taking part, not sharing in this way leaves little opportunity to find the deeply personal learning experiences that have transformed so many of us in this community, regardless of where their names land on a Google search.
Which is why, more and more, I think that educators have to understand and use these tools. As teachers, I don’t think it’s enough to simply repackage old stuff and “publish” it in a new way. Unless we experience the learning that comes with being a part of the network, unless we are willing to take the time to embrace and use these technologies in our own practice, I’m not sure we can adequately teach our students how to leverage these tools for their own learning.
Now back to our regularly scheduled blogging…
AJ Cann says
Reminds me of zefrank at TED last year asking the audience what their “GoogleScore” was. It took a while for the penny to drop. Well worth watching:
leigh wolf says
I notice that you have personalized search turned on…which may be why you come up first. When I search for Will, you come up #3…so you are still “clickable” (or “findable” as Peter Morville eloquently talks about in Ambient Findability) but not #1. I’m not trying to burst your bubble! This brings up a very interesting conversation on perception and how we “advanced” users may not see what a “typical” user sees when they perform a Google search sans a google account…this has huge implications for education/training scenarios. There are so many customizations available on our user interfaces that we have to be aware of how the ones we are working with can bend and shape them so we can successfully navigate our way to the same spot 🙂
Will Richardson says
Leigh…that is an interesting conversation. When I turn off personalized search, it comes up second. I wonder why you are seeing it third? It does have some interesting implications that I would love to read about on your blog ;0). The network teaches once again…
AJ…thanks for the link…I love the “I’ll just wait three minutes” line.
Karen Stearns says
Hi Will, looks like #2 when I google you. About to start semester II of computers and English–this time with undergraduates. Many of the students you met last semester are student teaching now and struggling w/the blocked sites, banned searches and absence of any support for using the apps they learned last semester. But they’ve got a good spirit and are very much devotees of the philosophy: you can whine, you can quit, or you can just innovate!
I’m looking forward to this new group of students. We’re using, uh, your book, of course. KS
leigh wolf says
In my haste, I counted incorrectly…you are #2! (working on a detailed blog response soon…)
You are number two when I look as well, however, I used to work at the television station listed right above you. An excellent PBS station… You are in good company!
Anne Reardon says
I’ve been reading your blog for a few weeks now, since reading your book…but I haven’t taken the plunge and posted anything until now. I’m just getting started with the whole blogging idea, but I am totally convinced that giving our students a real audience is one of its biggest selling points. Knowing that someone out there is reading their ideas and taking the time to think about them and even reply has to be more motivating than just handing in a paper that will never see anything but the inside of their classroom.
I’m going to be at the DEN preconference workshop at PETE&C in Hershey on February 11th and am looking forward to meeting you. Keep up the great work!
Scott Elias says
Excellent post, Will. I am working with a core group of educators in my building and the one hang-up that always seems to come up is the issue of “privacy” for our students. Doing a cost/benefit analysis, I think the risks are being blown way out of proportion while the benefits are being significantly underhyped. I’m forwarding your post along to them…
Stephen Downes says
You are number 2 on google.com from here (forget google.ca, it ain’t happening).
I know where you’re at though. I’ve been nip and tuck with a few famous Stephens over the years. You may have heard of them: King and Hawking.
Just this past year I passed Stephen Hawking on google.com and first place overall on google.ca (with personalized search turned off).
I commented when I saw that (I checked again today): Stephen King, what’s he done lately?
The internet is a cruel master.
Vicki Davis says
You’re number two on google for me. This is such a great example of how the conversations and comments that emerge from a post serve as powerful teachers — I didn’t know this!
Good on ya! That’s cool. Any time you can get first-page results with a common word like that you’re doing something right.
Dea Conrad-Curry says
Okay. I’m a new blogger and not having the best of luck today, and though no one probably cares, especially since I’m blogging to a dated entry, I am going to give myself credit for persistance, since self-credit seems to be the theme of Will’s blog.
Moving on…so I’m new and the reason I’m new is that blogging is a class requirement. I taught school for sixteen years and though I did communicate with students using IM and before that email, I don’t know if I would have thought of blogging.
However, I no longer teach. A life altering event (three years ago Sunday) forced me to leave the classroom for one year and at the end of that year, I chose to reinvent myself which took me back to school. Here’s my point. Over the last three years, I have had opportunities to second guess myself, separated from friends and colleagues, but recently I found myself on the web…I, too, am clickable and in that is a sense of validation, evidently holding true for more than just me.
Teachers don’t use blogging with students for two reasons: one, they don’t know how, but more importantly, they don’t understand why. They are already found and comfortable in their environment. They are safe and among colleagues with similar interests, educations, incomes, and the like.
On the other hand, many of our students feel uncomfortable in the school setting. They are unsettled–because of the nature of adolescence, or because of violence or bullying, or because they experience repeated failures, or come from home environments that compromise school achievement.
Most teachers simply do not need nor do they understand the voice, the presence, the empowerment and responsibility that blogging, podcasting, etc. offers to kids who otherwise go unheard.