Saturday, July 07, 2007

Wiki for Thought

I put it down about a month ago and hadn't had a chance to pick it up until this weekend. That said, I just finished Wikinomics by Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams. A chunk of the information was not new and had been encountered in Henry Jenkins' Convergence Culture and other readings, but there is something to be said for ingesting these ideas on the heels of finishing Pink's A Whole New Mind.
As per usual, I read pen-in-hand marking the margins as I went. Though the book touches only briefly on education (and even then only to speak of university research), it's implications for education are far-reaching.
More importantly, it's expectations and assumptions of education are universal and flawed. Tapscott and Williams make statements about the Net Generation that leave out variables like access and experience, claiming Net Genners are entering the workforce with expectations based upon their time using and exploring the tools and tactics allowed to learners through web 2.0 access. Unfortunately this is not the reality for many.
At the risk of sounding as though he's the only blogger I read, I point to David Warlick's comment that "[c]hildren without personal and unfiltered access to contemporary technology are alone — and there is no power in that."
While the truth of this statement is a sad one, that sadness is only compounded farther down the road for those children.
They will not have the tools to connect to the world Tapscott and Williams describe without serious effort and a presumably monumental learning curve.
In describing the "perfect storm" leading to a collaborave world, the authors count "a generation that grew up collaborating" as one of the contributing factors. What of the members of that generation who did not grow up collaborating or who were part of an educational system that was not yet plugged in to the flattening world?
I realize I'm making the case for the need for expanded collaborative efforts. Before that case can be made in full, educators must be mindful of those students standing at the edge of the digital divide.
More later.

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