Great article in the New York Times magzine today on the burgeoning use of blogs and wikis by government intelligence agencies to capture and connect information and turn it into knowledge. Now read this:
Indeed, throughout the intelligence community, spies are beginning to wonder why their technology has fallen so far behind â€” and talk among themselves about how to catch up. Some of the countryâ€™s most senior intelligence thinkers have joined the discussion, and surprisingly, many of them believe the answer may lie in the interactive tools the worldâ€™s teenagers are using to pass around YouTube videos and bicker online about their favorite bands. Billions of dollarsâ€™ worth of ultrasecret data networks couldnâ€™t help spies piece together the clues to the worst terrorist plot ever. So perhaps, they argue, itâ€™ s time to try something radically different. Could blogs and wikis prevent the next 9/11?
OMG! There it is! Forget the ways in which the tools enhance learning, communication skills, literacty skills and all that educational stuff. Our students need to learn blogs and wikis FOR THE SAKE OF NATIONAL SECURITY! What principal, what school board, I dare say what community could argue against that?
And by the way, if this quote is any indication of a larger movement out there toward “getting it,” we really could be at a tipping point of some type:
“Once the intelligence community has a robust and mature wiki and blog knowledge-sharing Web space,â€ Andrus concluded in his essay, â€œthe nature of intelligence will change forever.”
Now that’s enough to perk up my ears…
Mike Curtin says
Here’s the part where I really saw the connection to schools:
“Back in 2003, a Department of Defense agency decided to train its analysts in the use of blog software, in the hopes that they would begin posting about their work, read one another’s blogs, and engage in productive conversations. But the agency’s officials trained only small groups of perhaps five analysts a month. After they finished their training, those analysts would go online, excited, and start their blogs. But they’d quickly realize no one else was reading their posts aside from the four other people they’d gone through the training with. They’d get bored and quit blogging, just as the next trainees came online.”
Substitute “teachers” for “analysts” and “countless potentially useful technology innovations” for blogs, and that describes what happens all too frequently in schools. How do we go from voices in the wilderness to cultural sea change?
Dave LaMorte says
I think podcasts can bridge that tech gap. If someone isn’t interested in reading blogs, podcast aggregators can be set up or CDs could be given out to faculty and administrators. Baby Steps.
Melissa Brumsted says
I blogged about this on our Simmons College ALA student chapter blog just before reading Will’s comments on my bloglines account:
It’s challenging to build communities, and to communicate effectively with blogs, you have to have a vision behind it, a purpose and an audience in mind. I think blogs will still come in and out of fashion; but for class purposes a project can be sustained for enough time to be meaningful to those involved.
Melissa Brumsted says
Oops-that’s the trackback address. Here’s the link to our blog: http://gslis.simmons.edu/blogs/alasc/2006/12/can_libraries_help_national_in.html