Image Source: http://jeffreyhill.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8341d417153ef010536c5cda8970c-800wi

Pick your proverb and the message is the same:

The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.(Bible)

I have granted you much that you asked: and yet you never cease to ask of me. He who refuses nothing, Atticilla, will soon have nothing to refuse.
Author: Marcus Valerius Martial
Source: Epigrams (bk. XII, ep. 79)

Neither a borrower nor a lender be, For loan oft loses both itself and friend, And borrowing dulleth edge of husbandry.
Author: William Shakespeare
Source: Hamlet Prince of Denmark (Polonius at I, iii)

Who goeth a borrowing Goeth a sorrowing. Few lend (but fools) Their working tools. – Thomas Tusser,
Author: Thomas Tusser
Source: Five Hundred Points of Good Husbandry–September’s Abstract, first lines also in June’s Abstract

He who borrows sells his freedom.
Author: German Proverb
Source: None

Is Borrowing 2.0 going to come to an end? Perhaps it’s a stretch to say that educators, frustrated with in-house network/information technology services lack of support (perhaps, their inability to support from under-staffing), are reaching out to free Web 2.0 services that can give them what they want. Yet, time and again, no matter the good intent of the “lenders” (Web 2.0 services), free cannot continue.

Should school districts continue to allow teachers to post content online in Web 2.0 services that are “free” now but may result in cost later? And, do all teachers have the “technical flexibility” to adapt to new tools as they arise, shedding the old ones? Consider how we move from Gcast to Gabcast to Drop.io, from Edublogs.org to Blogger, from Voicethread.com to ShowBeyond.com to avoid the pervasive advertising, the requirement to commercial ventures have to make money?

Sylvia Martinez (GenYes Blog) sums up the argument against living in the cloud quite well with these words:

At the end of the day, using a free tool is a gamble. If it’s just you as an individual taking a risk on a free tool, that’s one thing. But if you are recommending these tools to others, spending money and time implementing them, planning lessons, or shifting your “business” to them, you really need to think about it. You may decide instead to use tools you can really own, like a do-it-yourself open source implementation, or tools from a company you can trust.

Time and time again, we’ve seen free Web 2.0 services “hook” users with their services and then seek to profit from them. This has been true in multiple services–which I’ve blogged about before, so no need to mention them again and endure their “ire” –and is now true of Bubbleshare image sharing service (closing its doors) and Wetpaint.

What’s ironic is that in my recent review of wikis for use in a school district, I realized that the only wiki not charging for their services was Wetpaint.com. Someone in the edublogosphere wrote me and suggested it. Fortunately, I’d tried Wetpaint.com and I wasn’t ready to switch to recommend it. Now, it’s just the same as the others. It costs money.

In the end, we’ll have to pay for the services. Will paying for these Web 2.0 services become the new way teachers spend their hard-earned funds, rather than investing in classroom content?

As a school district administrator, movement into free services–consider GoogleApps for Educators–must be carefully considered. What happens tomorrow when the money runs out and the lender calls in the note?


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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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