Ah, the wacky gold rush of infinite digital tools, widgets, and democratic geek tech wow-ness, oh, my. [Feel free to snap your fingers to the obvious children's story classic allusion if you're so inclined]
Let's measure the score card.
More plentiful than at any other in history (and seemingly free at every turn), these tools threaten to unleash the hounds of democracy and bullhorn honest-to-goodness amateur voices with utter recklessness if we're not careful. Sure, we can dig the premise of globally flat multi-media content creation (and the Friedman-esque classroom icon to boot), but are we really prepared to drown in a sea of "just good enough" presentations and parade-celebrate the "Hey, look who has a podcast now, kiddos?" card catalogue when we really follow the digital path to its potential conclusion?
Will we let the vision of thoughtfully trained experts expire in the process? Is it sufficient to simply be able to defend our love affair with technology minus the necessary commitment to design, presentation savvy, and at least a minor curiosity about the patience of our audience(s) while we rodeo-ride our 2.0 libido?
Fortunately, not all edu-bloggers are satisfied with the emerging status quo. Some are downright disappointed in the lack of attention where it may matter most. Dan Meyer wrote quite recently:
But if they and their teachers aren't immersing themselves constantly in better, clearer work than their own (made by experts? doesn't matter. it's just clearer) work which for the first time in history is available freely and quickly, how in that vacuum can they rise to any greater occasion?
Good stuff, that.
I only wish I wrote and explored ideas as well as he does -- daily. I can only imagine being able to do as such at the relative 'beginning' of one's teaching career with decades of development to follow (whether in a formal classroom or in some conceptual 'learning space' as he most likely will test-drive in the coming years. For those who keep up with his writing/questions/resources on a regular basis, you already know what I mean. I've long since erased the A-list pundits from my daily blog reading. Dan/DY, however, keeps my brain stem humming.
I urge you to spend time (if you're not already) following his "Dan/DY" breadcrumbs -- whether they be in terms of design sensibilities, chewing on the toes of the overly self-righteous 2.0 pundits (my own toes are still a bit raw, but that's all good), or building seemingly random constellations of ideas and insights across a veritable gestalt of modern day pop cultural elements -- as often as you can.
Occasionally I disagree with his content or tone, occasionally I even comment. But I NEVER ignore the opportunity to learn from this 'young' teacher -- a 'math' teacher, no less (he smiles as he types that, so don't worry about waiving your calculators; the irony is intentional) -- who happens to be blog pound for blog pound one of the strongest rationalists for 'intentionality' and 'presentation clarity' that exists in the 'sphere today.
And we're all -- educator and student alike -- better for it.
Side note: Now, if only I could get my laptop speakers and internal video cam working so I could release this unabashedly as a global vodcast. I'd skip the obvious storyboarding, of course, and leave the audience with the 'thoughtful editing is for sissies' bumpersticker. And I'd certainly remain content that fueling an ever-present digital frenzy to "publish and they will come" sensibility will continue to give Lake Wobegon a run for its slightly above average idolatry.
Minus the ironic tone and the ubiquitous need to launch yet another join-us Ning group and Teacher Tube slidedeck video hemmoraging with yet more photos of kids leaning over laptops to suggest 21st century learning metaphors in the process, n'est-ce pas?
Oops. Wonder if my union card will be revoked. Or if the literal-minded tigers will want to chew my ankles in spite of the endless rabbit holes tucked in carefully (and quite obviously) line by line.