Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything
Topic: Emerging Technologies
We're spending part of the holidays in Southern California visiting family and friends. In the last 2 days, I've had two conversations that I really need to think about.
The first was with a friend who teaches at a nearby college. He observed that increasing numbers of his students are citing Wikipedia in their papers along with other online sources that they haven't vetted very carefully. "I'm thinking about banning all online resources in student bibliographies," he said. I asked him if he really thought that would be doing the students a service and if maybe this could be an opportunity to teach them some 21st century literacy skills. He looked at me as though I had developed a third eyeball in my forehead.
The second happened this morning when I ran into an old high school friend. He's running a drop-in center at a local church and mentioned that he needed some software for algebra tutorials. I asked him if he'd gone online to look for a Web-based tutorial (that might even be free) and suggested checking out Dr. Math on Math Forum. I said I didn't have the URL, but a quick Google search should give him the link to that and other math resources. Once again, I got that glazed look in response.
At first crack, I think I've hit just another couple of examples of Digital Immigrants who don't have a clue. What a waste for them and for the kids they're working with! This generational Digital Divide seems to be widening by the second.
Coincidentally, while waiting for our flight last Wednesday, I read a review in the Vancouver Sun that mentioned Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams new book, Wikinomics. I think I'll be blogging about this as I read to help me sort out how the text relates to the growing chasm between adults of a certain age (or attitude) and kids. Here's one quote early on that resonated with me:
"The Web is no longer about idly surfing and passively reading, listening, or watching. It's about peering: sharing, socializing, collaborating, and most of all, creating within loosely connected communities. As Socialtext (a provider of enterprise wiki software) founder Ross Mayfield Likes to say, 'The new Web is about verbs, not nouns.'"
How does this relate to the conversations mentioned earlier? The folks I was talking with aren't even comfortable with the first manifestation of the Web, let alone the changes that have transpired in the last couple of years. How do I (we) help the people in leadership roles in education grasp the need for major change in our schools when they have little or no clue about what's happening? That's basically a rhetorical question, but any comments would be appreciated.
Technorati tags: Wikinomics, school.administrators, 21st.century.work.skills, Susan Brooks-Young
Posted by sjbrooks_young
at 5:30 PM PST
Updated: Saturday, 30 December 2006 5:32 PM PST