Friday, 4 March 2011


While I was thinking about things which are challenging me - which seem to be about putting my views out there for all to see - this Tweet from iOPT popped up on my screen...
"The Internet requires us to adopt norms of open sharing & participation - publishing has become the new literacy" - Clay Shirky
This fits so nicely both with my current struggles about publishing a podcast and sharing posts in a forum (and the internal debates and doubts I had about starting a blog way back at the beginning of the MA ODE), and with the wider themes of sharing and participation which have emerged through our discussions of the definition of innovation in elearning.

Warning: unanswered questions ahead. Cognitive dissonance in progress.

If it is the Internet which is requiring us to adopt these norms, can we chose to go another way, to ignore 'the Internet'? It seems unlikely - that genie is well and truly out of the bottle - except, perhaps this isn't the case, as we've also seen that individuals and, in particular, institutions, are struggling to cope with new methods of openness, sharing and collaboration.

Could it be that the is Internet requiring this of us because actually it's designed/developed/emerged from the way people actually think - another Tweet from iOPT:
The Internet is not changing people's way of thinking but rather it is adapting to the way people think - Steven Pinker
So which is the innovator and which the adopter here - the Internet, or the people who use it? Is it the Internet pushing (or pulling) us and our students... or is it us who are responsible for shaping what it has become? And what are the implications for education? We know norms are shifting, and expectations and opportunities are changing, but how much control can the individual have over the effects on them and their personal learning or teaching? Where does choice end and societal pressure begin?

Whatever the case, the concept that publishing is a new required literacy is very real. We now need to learn, not only to use language to communicate, but to understand what it means to publish it, to identify and evaluate sources, to understand how we credit original work, and to have an eye on the social and cultural effects of publishing, and being part of a community of publishers.

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