Link to the best, don’t recreate the same old stuff

I followed a link on a tweet today to Jeff Jarvis’ blog post and I’m so glad I did.

Sometimes you come across some work that strikes a chord with your own work or beliefs. This was one of those moments. In his TEDxNYED video Jeff talks about using the best resources that are available and simply linking to them, instead of reproducing them. It does mean reassessing what education is, what format it takes, after all if you can access some of the best lectures in the world online, for free, (as I wrote about here and here) what is the value of sitting through someone else delivering the same topic without any interaction?

I remember something I wrote in the Social Media Co-Lab forums:

Posted on: Fri, 11/14/2008 – 07:29 Following on from Free

I think we should be tapping into what others are providing without having to repackage the material into the ‘corporate identity’ of an institution. Doing so simple seems a waste of time and effort, and doesn’t necessarily reward (not financially speaking; more citing and recognition) the original author. If we are working towards a vast educational community approach to resources, I feel we should be finding (and passing on) the best examples of material already produced, and not necessarily recreating them.

For example, I was recently passed a link to a site where someone was creating screencasts of how to use various software. The individual had won an award for this site. Fair enough, what he’s created is a good resource now, all very uniform. But it doesn’t really align with my own philosophy. Why not just create a wiki linking to the best you can find of other people’s screencasts of how to use software? It may look more different and dirty but I’d say possibly it gets learners thinking about a few things: they see that not everything useful has to come from a recognised, uniform resource; they as learners can go out and find material and they need to evaluate its credibility; they themselves can produce material to share; they can be part of the bigger community (for example, by editing the wiki linking to all these resources).

Which received a response from Will Richardson (yes that Will Richardson):

Posted on: Fri, 11/14/2008 – 12:49 Rolling Your Own as Opposed to Rolling Others

(Or something like that…)

Just picking up on what Mark said above in terms of choosing between making yet another how to screencast or collecting the best of what’s out there and spending time reading and thinking rather than creating, I agree. I like the effects he cites in terms of

“they see that not everything useful has to come from a recognised, uniform resource; they as learners can go out and find material and they need to evaluate its credibility; they themselves can produce material to share; they can be part of the bigger community (for example, by editing the wiki linking to all these resources).”

Not that it totally relates here, but a while back on my blog I posted about the need to take photos of beautiful places we visit when we can gets tons of photos of those places already on Flickr with a CC license that would let us remix and reuse them. Now I know that I want pictures of my kids while they are actually snorkling in the Barrier Reef, etc. but I wonder sometimes why some have so much trouble with using what is already out there instead of re-creating it in yet another way.

It’s Friday, and I’m tired, so I hope that made some sense. Yes, we want our students to be creators and connectors, but we also don’t want them reinventing the wheel either.

Well, here’s Jeff’s video for you to watch yourself (watchout for the language).

Social Media Co-Lab was created by Howard Rheingold

Social Network Privacy Settings

I came across Matt McKeon’s interesting article ‘The Evolution of Privacy on Facebook‘ today. It has an infographic for changes in privacy policy over time.

This tied in nicely with a video on Teacher TV that I’d watched the evening before, where school children at two different schools had the issue of online privacy when using social networking sites highlighted to them.

IdeaPaint – makes a wall into a whiteboard

IdeaPaint is an interesting concept. If you’re thinking about putting a whiteboard up on your wall; think again, think IdeaPaint. Lay down a primer and then roller on IdeaPaint and instantly you’ve got a surface to directly use your wipemarkers on. There’s a range of different colours.

The different situations where IdeaPaint might be of use to you:

Digital Storytelling – Bubblr

I’ve started to become interested in digital storytelling. So when I found Bubblr by Pimpampum recently I was very interested at the possibilities. Bubblr is a comic strip based services that uses the Flickr API to allow you to search for and pull in Creative Commons licensed images to tell a story. The interface is pretty intuitive; do a search via the text box, choose images you like from the returned results and drag them onto the strip. Add an additional image by simply dragging another and dropping it to the right of the last image, and so on. (You can also add them before the last image by clicking the appropriate option.)

Once your strip is in place, you can add comic strip like speech bubbles, thought bubbles and narrative bubbles. When you’re happy, you can publish your strip to the archive. You just then need to put a title to your composition and add your name. (There’s an interesting warning – your boss might see your composition so be careful.)

screenshot of Title and Name input box for Bubblr

Writing this post, I have realised some similarities between Bubblr and Vuvox Collage. So Bubblr not only has a digital storytelling use, but could be a presentation tool as well.

I’ve quickly created a Bubblr strip, Shots of Sheffield UK by Markuos.

Bubblr digital storytelling in action

There’s an archive to look through other people’s creations using a useful search facility.