• The Great Web 2.0 Swindle

      © 2010 Brian Lamb and Jim Groom. The text of this article is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/).

      EDUCAUSE Review, vol. 45, no. 4 (July/August 2010): 50–58

    • Brian Lamb (brian.lamb@ubc.ca) is a Manager of Emerging Technologies at the University of British Columbia and blogs at abject learning (http://blogs.ubc.ca/brian). Jim Groom (jimgroom@gmail.com) is an instructional technologist at the University of Mary Washington and blogs at bavatuesdays (http://bavatuesdays.com/).

    • Can open education and the corporate interests that control mainstream Web 2.0 co-exist? What does "open educational technology" look like, and does it stand for anything? Do higher education institutions dare seize a mission of public service in fostering an open web worthy of the name? Can ambition and idealism prevail in an age of economic austerity? Finally, what is the role of the open educational technologist—that is, the "open ed tech"?2

    • a pedagogy that mirrors the participatory narratives of social media, or of a "personal cyberinfrastrucure," dramatically transforming the relationship between learner and learning environment.7

    • Having signed up for a Gmail account, a user can publish websites with Blogger, manage groups and mailing lists with Google Groups, videoconference with Google Talk, write collaboratively with Google Docs, track topics with Google Alerts, manage syndicated feeds with Google Reader, share video with YouTube, post images with Picassa, and do whatever it is that Google Wave is supposed to do. We need not belabor the power and popularity of services such as Flickr, Facebook, and Twitter. All this incredible functionality is delivered in remarkably stable and user-friendly environments, and it’s available free of charge!

    • Online educational content and activity is increasingly moving to corporate-owned spaces, whether through individual choice or across the enterprise via cloud computing and services such as Google Apps for Education or Apple’s iTunesU.

    • a couple of embittered Gen-X’ers

    • look at the commodification of online educational environments with distaste.

    • As Steve Greenberg has stated: "You are not Facebook’s customer. You are the product that they sell to their real customers—advertisers. Forget this at your peril."

    • To use these tools is to reinforce, however indirectly, the "advertised life," the incursion of commoditization ever deeper into human thought and interaction. The question is whether there is a role for higher education to promote "safe spaces" free of this influence.

    • Rather, our question is whether IT staff in academic environments might not aspire to a vital mission: to being something more than consumers and cheerleaders for commercial products.

    • There are too many heroes in this domain to list here, but we offer a shout-out to the jaw-dropping CUNY Academic Commons (http://commons.gc.cuny.edu/), which seamlessly integrates the open-source WordPress, MediaWiki, and BuddyPress platforms into an appealing and highly sustainable environment. The power placed into the hands of the users reflects the stated intent of Luke Waltzer, administrator of the CUNY platform Blogs@Baruch, "to gradually integrate into the school’s general education curriculum the deep, critical examination of how digital tools are changing the way we think and live."

    • We dream of higher education that embraces its role as a guardian of knowledge, that energetically creates and zealously protects publicly-minded spaces promoting enlightenment and the exchange of ideas. We need green spaces for conviviality on the web.2

    • Tony Bates, "Can Web 2.0 Tools Be Legally Used for Education in Canada?" E-Learning and Distance Education Resources, March 05, 2010, <http://www.tonybates.ca/2010/03/05/can-web-2-0-tools-be-legally-used-for-education-in-canada/>

    • See John Seely Brown and Richard P. Adler, "Minds on Fire: Open Education, the Long Tail, and Learning 2.0," EDUCAUSE Review, vol. 43, no. 1 (January/February 2008), pp. 16–32, <http://www.educause.edu/library/erm0811>; Diana G. Oblinger, "A Change in Perspective," EDUCAUSE Review, vol. 41, no. 2 (March/April 2006), p. 80, <http://www.educause.edu/library/erm06211>; and Larry Johnson, "The Sea Change Before Us," EDUCAUSE Review, vol. 41, no. 2 (March/April 2006), pp. 72–73, <http://www.educause.edu/library/erm0628>.

    • Michael Feldstein, comment on Jim Groom, "EDUPUNK; or, On Becoming a Useful Idiot," bavatuesdays, June 11, 2010, <http://bavatuesdays.com/edupunk-or-on-becoming-a-useful-idiot/#comment-87004>.

    • Contrast two future scenarios for the web on the wonderful poster by Miguel Brieva: <http://internetnoseraotratv.net/en>.

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