Ok, so I’m on a bit of a CCC (collaborative content creation) bender in my brain lately, and Tom links to a pretty interesting article that talks about reputation systems and their growing importance in understanding information literacy.
The process of filtering information to distill a smaller yet more refined set of usable, verified, trustworthy judgments is not easy. But it is doable. And it is both more feasible and more necessary now than ever before, due to information proliferation, technological advances, and pressing socio–economic problems.
It’s not something that I’ve written a lot about, but it’s amazing to me how much I have come to rely on these types of tools to frame my thinking about people, products and places that I read about on the Web.
A quick for instance: we’re quickly putting together a camping trip up to Acadia National Forest in Maine and, since we’re so late in planning, all the park campsites are reserved. So, I’m trying to find a public campground that’s woodsy enough for our tastes, and the first thing I want is an e-pinions for family campgrounds near Bar Harbor. I don’t want to have to go down the list of 30 or so, I just want previous campers to collectively tell me where I should try first, second, etc. I can’t tell you how often I go to epinions or read reader reviews at Amazon before making a purchase. And most often, I’ve been very happy.
In these cases, I don’t really care who the opinion makers are. It’s the collective response that I want. I figure truth about a product eventually rises from the biased opinions of many. And this is a similar description that I used time and again when talking about Wikipedia. Accuracy and truth float from the contributions and edits of many.
I like this description of the conversations that blogs create:
Just as with the time–honored traditions of books and academic articles which form a constructive discourse spanning generations, readers of a Web page or blog can easily feel in direct contact with other minds, and reshape their ideas into new messages which in turn affect others — even continents or centuries away.
I’m wondering where this all fits in our curriculum when it comes to teaching kids how to effectively use and participate in what is not doubt an important collaborative piece of the Internet. They already use reputation in many ways, music especially. It goes back a bit to the idea that teachers need to be able to model effective use of the collaborative and management sides of the Web, and right now I don’t think there are too many effective models out there. But I guess the bigger question is which of these tools are really important to model…