August 20, 2008

Info. Tech Smackdown!

Ok, just trying to make the title more exciting than "Readings in Informational Technology."

My first classes are on Sat. and since this is mostly what I'll be reading, I might as well blog about it and get your reactions. The first assignment was to read a paper by Dede (the second one down on this list) from 2000 and compare it to this page from Jenny Levine, The Shifted Librarian.

Talk about timely! The day I wrote up my notes on them, this appeared in the NYT on this New Foundation idea. It was a little gushy and Tim from Assorted Stuff had a good response. These readings also brought to mind some recent postings from Doug over at the Blue Skunk Blog here and of course here. He calls it a "post-literate" society, but I like the term "multi-literate society" one of his commenters came up with.

That same day this link from Kristin showed up in my feed reader. Get it? An ed. tech. issue of a journal only available online? Clever monkeys.

So anyway, Dede vs. Levine. The Dede was solid with hilarious images of dated screenshots. I loved everything he said (i.e., "...the real power of these media comes...from enabling students' collaborative, guided construction of meaning.") but was kind of flummoxed by his predictions. Why predict what's going to happen in technology in the next however many years? You just know you'll look like a rube. At one point he discusses the power of these new technologies to allow students to do scientific modelling which reminded me of this freaky/cool 2D physics game called Phun.

Our professor asks: What changes are reflected in the second reading that may or may not have been anticipated by Dr. Dede when he wrote his article?

He was pretty forward thinking at the time. I think he just didn't consider the rate of expansion and ubiquity of the open-source environment that makes it less difficult and expensive to "shift." I'm talking about things like wikis, Google Docs, free podcasts, etc. that now allow even students with dated equipment to collaborate in the same ways he discussed.

So okay, not much of a "smackdown," but amazingly timely.

Tomorrow: first impressions of Information Power.