Well, not quite ended yet but blogging opportunities may get thin on the ground later. Bebo White gave a wise and thoughtful keynote on Web 2.0 this morning, with lots of sensible ideas and useful resources. I was struck though by his slightly last-century desire for automation. He wants one right answer to each of his questions, but I think this is wrong. He wants science, I want art. We need to informate, not automate, to have help making decisions, not to have those decisions made for us. I see it as a strength of Google that a query about the weather in Vancouver returns thousands of results (though in fact this example that he used was a little out of date, as Google now shows the weather forecast at the top of the list of results, so you don’t have to delve further if you don’t want to). I think this vagueness is particularly useful in education, where we don’t want information but the means of integrating new knowledge with old. One answer is seldom as useful as multiple perspectives and representations. It is good to have recommendations and signposts to useful information, but not useful to hide the stuff that some automated arbiter decides is less useful.
I sat in the large auditorium behind a woman who was nodding and even vocalising her agreement with things Bebo was saying. I wonder whether she does the same when reading things online. My suspicion is that she doesn’t. Interesting that, from the perspective of at least some of the audience, even a lecture to a big crowd seems to be a conversation. Some lessons for virtual learning design, perhaps.
By: Jon Dron
Posted: June 29, 2007, 11:26 am