Spent an interesting few hours in Greenwood, SC today presenting to and talking with the faculty and the deans of Piedmont Technical College about the wonders of the Read/Write Web. I got a tour of some of the classrooms and a rundown of what they are doing with distance learning, and I have to say it was probably one of the most impressive technology buildouts I’ve seen. They have a number of rooms that have video uplinks with satellite campuses from throughout the region, and they are in the process of really ramping up their online course offerings in some major ways.

And now they are trying to turn their attention to the pedagogies that go along with all of that technology. And I’ve been trying to figure out a good way of showing the potential power of RSS and social bookmarking in an hour long presentation that could just as easily be three hours long with everything there is to show and talk about. I think today I actually came close to getting them to the power of the socail aspect of all these tools. In about five minutes, here’s what I did:

  • Framed the whole RSS concept by telling them how I would subscribe to all of their blogs (assuming they all had one.
  • Framed the whole social bookmarking piece by deconstructing my list of links in del.icio.us (including touching on the distinction between taxonomies and folksonomies.)
  • Clicked on the plagiarism tag in my account (which was relevant because we’d been having a number of questions about IP, copyright, plagiarism, etc.)
  • Clicked on the link to see what other people had saved the recent article from USA Today on “Authorship Gets Lost on the Web”
  • Clicked on the link to the plagiarism folder for the user “Senioritis.”
  • Talked about how, after reviewing the list of plagiarism links that Senioritis had saved and finding them to be pretty relevant and substantive, I could “subcribe” to all future links that Senioritis might save to his/her plagiarism folder.
  • Talked about how if a could find 5-10 such “deliciousers” that it could be a powerful way of finding out new and useful information (and how finding 25-50 could be mind-numbing.)

Right there, in that small chunk, is where I think most people’s brains start to whir. Especially when you talk about it from the professional practice standpoint. And the questions were great. “Do those people know you are doing that?” “Can they take your stuff too?” “If other people are going to take it, why would you want to put your stuff up there?” “Do you credit those people with doing the research?” It felt like a good way to just encapsulate the way things are shifting.

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