So thanks to everyone for their podcast suggestions for the drive up here to Harvard. (Now I need five hours more for the trip back…) And thanks especially to Bud for the pointer to Open Source by Chris Lydon whose interview with Doc Searles, Dave Weinberger and Dave Winer got me thinking more than any other.
Especially the first Dave who spoke briefly about how Web 2.0 is changing his kids’ education and learning habits. Basically, they are practicing social knowledge acquisition, sharing answers and ideas over IM, yet getting graded primarily by how much they can regurgitate as individuals. We’re ignoring the social side of what the Internet is doing. Kids, he said, know the way to be smart is to have smart friends, kind of that “know-where” learning idea of George Siemens that I’ve written about here before.
But here’s what I’m struggling with, and to be honest, I’m not sure why it’s sticking in my brain to the extent it is. There is, I’m feeling, some shift here that we’re going to have to work through regarding our expectations of originality, some redefinition of plagiarism or what our expectations are. If knowledge gets constructed socially, if we and our students are learning by remixing (and yes, I listened to Lessig on the way up as well,) then I guess the question is do our teacherly ideas about original ideas have to be rethought? I hate how muddled this is, but I’m hoping maybe I can corner one of the iLaw gang today or tomorrow to see what they think.
The other interesting idea in the Open Source show was when Weinberger talked about how even our conception of a document has to change, how for hundreds of years we’ve thought of a report or a story as a container of information. But now, with hypertext, a document’s value comes not so much from what it holds but from where it points out of itself to others. I think the reality is that we’re going to have to start teaching students to give research back to us in a web-ified form, complete with links. In five years when we’ve moved beyond paper, hypertext writing (read “blogging”) is going to be a basic literacy. The final mile will be to publish all of that writing in a public blog/portfolio space. Then we’ll be cranking…
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