…and gosh he was good!
His talk was gentle and rational, belying the fact that the ideas he was promoting were deeply subversive, when followed to their logical conclusion. The VLE is dead in the water, the PLE is the new kid on the block. Or rather, the old one. Because the things that we used to find difficult are now easy. We once needed a means to allow technophobes to publish content and interact online. What we got were the e-learning monoliths, epitomised (and patented) by BlackCT. Now, the new technologies are pervasive and connected, and develop emergent forms from the bottom up. Anyone can publish content, anyone can engage with others, and we have great tools to link and mash technologies together.
Terry used the fact that Time Magazine made You the person of the year last year, but actually I think that they got it wrong: We are the person (not the people) of the year. The group mind has gained a voice and a vote. What does this mean for the teacher? For me, this was the central dynamic of the talk. Helping people to learn in this environment means shaking off our preconceptions and habits, to unlearn, not just what we were taught, but how we were taught. This is unsettling.
I have followed and been influenced by Terry’s work for years. At last year’s ICALT we both had papers that, from slightly different angles, covered the same kind of ideas about social software. I hadn’t realised how close our ideas had become, however! The only significant difference now is that Terry does it better. Much better. A true guru, a great scholar and a charming man.
By: Jon Dron
Posted: March 20, 2007, 11:48 am