(Cross posted on ETI) Lately, I’ve been doing more worrying about the TMI syndrome. Too Much Information. It’s great phrase to use when someone tells you just a bit too much about their hygiene habits, but it’s also something that I think all of us in education and technology are grappling with these days. Anne’s post a couple of days ago regarding the new info lit test being put out by ETS gets to some of the TMI problem, the part that says we need to teach kids how to separate the wheat from the chaff. But my problem is a bit different.
I have this weird gene that makes me love research, and I’ve been figuring out ways to find good information for a long time. The problem is that with the explosion of information in general out there on the Internet these days, there has also come an explosion of good information. You can take the ETI blog as a perfect example. The people who write there are all smart, dedicated educators (well, most of them) who are adding good information to the database that is the Internet. Just a couple of years ago, they couldn’t do that. Add to that another few hundred equally information rich new blogs and wikis and the like and you get the idea. There’s lots of good stuff out there, there’s more coming online every day, and I want to consume it all.
So here’s my issue. I’m peddling about as fast as I can to keep up with all of it. I’ve got my own blog where I hold forth on what I think is the most important stuff. I’ve got a Furl and a del.icio.us account where I store links and pages. I’ve got about a half dozen Webnotes where I dump random thoughts and snippets. I’ve got a Bloglines account where I store ideas for future writing. And the list goes on.
And it’s not working.
It’s not working because a) there’s too much good stuff and, b) while all of the tools are great, they’re not integrated the way I need them to be. I need one space to put my stuff. (I wonder if George Carlin has thought about this?) I can almost visualize it, the look and feel…drag and dropability, searchable, smooth jazz playing in the background. I need it to be on the Web since I use two or three different computers in my day. And I need it fast.
Now I know we need to focus on teaching people how to find the good stuff. But if there isn’t a way to manage all that stuff once they find it, we’re only winning half the battle.
Bill Kerr says
I’ve just joined, I’m a teacher in Australia. Not blogging yet but your enthusiasm might be contagious 🙂
With regard to a product that might bring it all together I’m keeping my eye on Chandler
it’s still developing but the vision looks great and the track record of the leading developer, Mitch Kapor likewise – check out his weblog:
I’m using delicious and bloglines like you, but didn’t know about webnotes – just used it then, it’s great, thanks!
– Bill Kerr,
Woodville High School,
Will R. says
Hey Bill…thanks for commenting. And thanks for the links. Chandler
looks interesting. But I have to tell you, I’m not giving much time to
anything that isn’t Web based these days. I just really want to be able
to access my stuff from whatever computer I’m on. Let me know if you’d
like to have our students hook up in some way…could be fun.
Bill Kerr says
my students aren’t blogging yet, that’s something I’m planning to get into this year – might be best to leave the hookup until then, but thanks for the offer
from reading about Chandler its clear I think that it has a through the web functionality as well as organising information on your local computer – the vision statement says for example –
“End users can create highly customized views of the universe of data that they have access to, intermixing local and remote data with sophisticated sharing policies for intimate control over access. They can customize the look and feel of the application, changing colors, images, etc., as well as add new buttons and menu items and other widgets to perform custom tasks using easy graphical scripting. Finally, end users can instruct agents to perform complex actions which take place over a span of time automatically”
however, from looking at the time line on their site it will be at least a another year before something that non developers can use is released – but it still looks to me like the product you are looking for and me too