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

Howard Rheingold – credibility literacy

Yesterday I clicked on a link in one of Howard Rheingold’s (@hrheingold) tweets to his latest video in which he explains about the importance of literacy in determining the quality and credibility of information on the internet mainly accessed via searches.

He draws on some footage from a presentations he has given (which was standing room only) to illuminate some of his points. He makes an interesting distinction between skills, which are an individual attribute, and literacy, which Howard describes as skills + community as it rests in the realms of social so you can participate im the community of literates.

He presents five important literacies as:

  1. Attention
  2. Participation
  3. Co-operation
  4. Critical consumption
  5. Network awareness

All of these literacies need to co-exist.

Howard makes an interesting point about child safety, comparing concerns about online safety with the higher threats that exist offline. I think this ties in to my recent  post about OnGuard Online which really centres on talking to your children holistically about online and offline activity, and your own values. Howard emphasises the important of equipping our children with the ability to think critically, and this reduces any risk in their online activity. This ability is paramount to children being able to assess more generally the quality and accuracy of the information they encounter online, and giving them the tools to filter good information from bad, as we’ve shifted from a world of critically edited material pre-publishing to one where it is the responsibility of the consumer to critically evaluate.

There are two important questions we should continually be asking:

  1. How do I ask/phrase the question; how do I ask that search engine?
  2. How do I know what I’ve found is accurate?

Howard goes on to explain about personal ‘trust’ networks, an extension of the personal learning network in which there is a trust value added. And again this is an extension of the real life scenario, where you trust your doctor more the your mate Trev down the pub to give you health advice, but Trev knows a whole lot more about football, though his financial advice is a little dodgy too.

There’s a whole lot more in this video than I could hope to describe, so I suggest just watching it for yourself.

[blip.tv ?posts_id=3352757&dest=-1]

BBC documentary ‘Digital Revolution’

The BBC is developing a unique four part documentary series for broadcast in 2010 on BBC Two. It has a working title of ‘Digital Revolution‘, and there are a number of ways we can all get involved, including helping Stephen Fry to come up with a better name for the series, and shaping the content of the series.

BBCDIG

Here’s some blurb from the Digital Revolution website about the project:

‘Digital Revolution’ is an experiment in collaboration. We want to hear the opinions, thoughts and experiences from the populace of the web – you. Add your comments to our blog posts. Tell us the stories you think we should be covering. Your input will help shape our documentary.

One of the things I personally find exciting about the project is that as many as possible of the video rushes† are being made available by the site for us to watch, share, download and, significantly, edit ourselves (adhering to the licensing terms, which are similar to Creative Commons but have to differ because of the way the BBC is funded and run). This ties in with a previous post about Remix. Some of the people interviewed and available in these rushes include:

  • Tim Berners-Lee
  • Clay Shirky
  • Charles Leadbeater
  • Howard Rheingold
  • Stephen Fry
  • Jimmy Wales

many of whom I’ve written about, used quotes or photographs of in presentations or writings, or communicated with directly.

When I have time, possibly next week, I’ll certainly be remixing this video content.

You can follow Digital Revolution on Twitter @BBCDigRev

Rushes (or dailies) are the unedited, raw film (video) footage from a days shooting.