Warlick's conversations

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This is what I love about the read/write web. The conversation that can not take place anywhere else, and a conversation that I get to be a part of even though I’m almost exactly half way around the world from the east coast of the U.S.A.

Dave Warlick started the conversation about 1:1 laptop programs and the conversation that it has stared is exciting to read. Especially for someone trying to move their school in that direction. Make sure you take the time to read the comments and Alex Ragone’s thoughts at the Learning Blog.

Two minutes after posting the 1:1? article, David comes back with Web 2.0-Bottom Line Concepts. Warlick lists the following as underlying concepts of web 2.0:

  • Valuable content is increasingly rising out of an ongoing and growing conversation.

This comes back to learning is conversations. Which I have found to be so true this last year. The conversation you have with and around these web 2.0 tools adds valuable content to the worldly community. I love having conversations and inevitably someone comes up with some great idea how to use the tool in a different way.

  • The organization and flow of information increasingly depends on the behavior of the people who use it.

I had this conversation just yesterday with a couple of teachers. We were discussing how the Internet has create a chaos of information and it is the user who organizes that information and makes it usefully to them. This is a huge concept that education needs to start implementing. Instead of the teacher organizing the flow of information the end user (the student) does it, allowing for the information to make sense to them.

  • People are beginning to dynamically connect with each other through their content.

A great point, just look at the blogrolls everyone posts to their sites. Each blogroll is different as people connect through content. I have not met face to face with any of the people in my bloglines account, but I am able to connect and share content with these people through the use of web 2.0 tools.

  • Traditionally, information flowed in one or two directions. Through the new Web, content flows in a variety of directions that depend on the behavior of those who produce the information and those who use it.

I like to use the analogy of a river and a delta.

A river is constantly flowing in one direction, slow and steady. One way information flowIf something blocks it, it will find a path of least resistance around it and continue on its way. Information in the 20th century and web 1.0 was much the same way information flowed in one direction. Sure you could paddle upstream, but for the most part we went with the current we read web sites but did not respond. We moved students through text books starting with page 1 and ending with the final chapter.

In a 21st century and web 2.0 environment information is more like a delta. Water flowing in all directions taking different paths and moving at different speeds depending on the rate of flow up stream. Even though the water takes a different path it all ends up in the same place…the ocean.Free flowing information

We need to allow students to be deltas with information. To allow them to choose their paths and connect and disconnect to information as they find a better path to follow. As educators we play the role of rocks, soft dirt, erosion, making sure that no matter what path the student takes they end up in the ocean, or meeting the standard. Only by adopting a connectivism theory and using web 2.0 tools can students act likes deltas.

  • Through Web 2.0 new information constructs are possible — interactive and community contributed documents that tie in with dynamic and independent digital libraries of web resources, and the more formally published ideas of thinkers and journalists in the field — and none of these people need know each other.

I believe this last point, points to things like wikipedia where people construct information in a community without needing to know each other. Web 2.0 allows anyone with knowledge about anything to add to the conversation.

Web 2.0 is revolutionizing the way information flows. Schools are slowly but surely adapting these tools. The problem remains though using these tools to “Do new things in new ways” as Marc Prensky puts it is not.

Just thinking out loud

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I started blogging in 2005 and found it such a powerful way to reflect and share my thinking about technology, this generation, and how we prepare students for their future not our past.


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