Monday, September 1, 2008

Are we reduced to this?

Recently an editor from a big-name computer magazine wrote comment which disquieted me.
It's not that it was offensive or anything, but rather that it reflected a couple of disturbing attitudes I've noticed in education.

K.Turner (in the article 'Airing Out Our Bookmarks') said:
"At the moment, my Inspiration folder contains almost 40 sites, and
it's one of about 30 folders sitting in my bookmark bar -- each of
which serves a different purpose. And yet, even with all of this
ever-changing content sitting at my fingertips, there are still days
when browsing through my bookmarks leaves me bored."...

"Sometimes we all need a little help getting out of our Internet rut.
With that in mind, I recently asked my fellow editors to open
up their own bookmark collections and share their favorite sites."...

"We'd also like to hear from you. What hidden gems have you found
online? Are there sites you rely on..."

Three possible responses rolled through my head when I read this....

First thought - WOW!.. are we reduced to this?!... trolling the internet to find inspiration? How shallow! Get a life!
(... but I must confess to hearing this same attitude from students < /sigh>)

Second thought - Someone needs to teach Turner some solid searching skills and show how to find and use some of the real, meaty content on the web... there is SO much great content being built that it should be theoretically impossible to get into an "internet rut" and be bored.
(Yes, I know... my teacher voice is coming out here... but I truly hope someone near to Turner reads the article and shares this enlightening approach!)

Third thought - if Turner's life is indeed reduced to the skimming of 'net fun daily, then there are more effective and efficient ways to achieve the stated aim of the article....

It was this third thought which crystallized into my response e-mail to the article. (I thought that responding with either thoughts #1 or #2 would have been to either too belittling, or too preachy?)

Open E-mail to K.Turner:
Okay - I have to ask... why such a dated way of approaching this?
Surely you've heard of Delicious?
Instead of your current desktop build-a-bookmark-folder approach, why not move your bookmarks to Delicious, then convince your fellow editors to do likewise, and collaboratively work at solid tagging of all the *good* stuff into an organized Delicious bookmark collection. Finally - invite your readers to use similar tags and build a decent tag cloud of great, funny, inspirational, etc. sites.

Just think of how much further ahead you'd all be...
Next time you needed inspiration, you'd have not only your own gems to troll through, but also the gems from your buddies, and the ever-growing surprise gems others have nominated.

Get with web 2.0, eh?!


  1. Perhaps also, this individual should get a Twitter account and then grow a personal learning network based upon his interests. There's never a shortage of inspiration there.

    However, as with all things, you need to work it in order to get the most from it. Inspiration and collaboration needs to be bi-directional.

    You can't just siphon off good ideas; you need to be constantly building upon yours and others abilities, skills, and yes, inspiration.

  2. I do find it odd that an editor of a computer magazine seems to be a relative newbie when it comes to the idea being part of an internet community and not just the internet. I have unfortunately come across many examples of technological groups that use overheads and poster boards at their meetings. How are we to teach the power of "web 2.0" advantages if we don't use and model them?

    Lets look at the bright side, perhaps the editor will read your blog and open a delicious account!

    Welcome to the internet community!


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