I’m sitting on the tarmac of the Philadelphia airport. They’ve finally brought us to the gate, but there is apparently some kind of security breech in the airport, and they will not let us leave the plane until it is solved. So, I’m going to take the opportunity to do a little writing.
Monday night’s keynote speaker will be Dave Weinberger. I do not know a lot about him, except that he was one of the authors of The Cluetrain Manifesto. Cluetrain was an extraordinary book that, although it was a business work, presented insights that apply to what, how, and why we teach.
One of the uniquenesses of this book was that it was first available over the Internet, before it went into print. I puchased the book as an audio file from Audible, and listened to it while driving to a workshop in eastern North Carolina. The other thing that was extraordinary about Cluetrain, was that it took a relatively new technology, the world wide web, and completely turned around how we think about it.
Their over-arching theme was that the web is not about publishing or online brochures as much as it is about conversations, that the true value of the Net is in people talking with other people.
Today, this has never been so true. The emerging blogsphere is where people are talking and listening. But today, our messages are being cast out into an information environment with new laws of nature, were messages are automatically linked logically, and form themselves into new and larger messages or information constructs.
For instance, go to http://technorati.com/tag/necc. Here you will find a range of blog messages that all have in common the word necc as a tag. In addition, there are pictures taken by people associated with NECC, as well as web links from del.icio.us and Furl. A construct of information that has value as much from how it assembles as it does from the individual authors, and photographers.
What does this have to do with teaching and learning. Well, that has yet to be determined, and perhaps we’ll explore and discover some implications at the conference. But the implications are there and I think they will be exciting. I certainly look forward to hearing Dave Weinberger speak.
Also, consider Small Things Loosely Joined, Weinberger’s latest book. I haven’t read it yet, but I hear it quoted very often.