Web 2.0 and Education

Web 2.0 and Education:
By Tim O’Reilly

Steve Hargadon asked me if I would do an interview with him on Web 2.0 and education. I told him I didn’t think I had anything particularly worthwhile to say on the subject. He kept asking, and said that if he did a good job of interviewing, I would end up having something to say after all. Here’s Steve’s summary of what we talked about:

Topics that Tim covers in the interview:
Being self-taught
Having a mental model of how the world works to let you figure out what’s important
A new “digital divide” today between those who know how to think about search and those who don’t; those who know where the current hot information is being shared, and those who don’t.
Tim’s skepticism of formal education, coming from the computer industry and seeing creativity from those with very different backgrounds, with their formal education almost alway not in the area where they have made an impact (himself included).
How most periods of a creative renaissance start with inspired amateurs.
The importance of “doing things,” “tinkering,”, and “exploratory learning.”
That “engagement” is not new to Web 2.0, but the opportunity is being democratized by the technology.
That it is important not to generalize too much about where the technology is headed from the initial formative period.
How he believes that spending on educational technology is a bad idea (smile!), and that smaller class sizes would make the most difference in education, period, by giving more interaction with passionate adults who have time and ability to focus on kids. (See if you feel comfortable with how I respond to this point.)
How we need to get rid of unionized seniority to get fresh blood, so the best can rise to the top instead of the most senior. (Again, I’m interested in your responses to this and your take on how I responded.)
Open Source software, and how Web 2.0 is actually antithetical to open source software.
Clayton Christiansen’s “law of conservation of attractive profits,” where value in Web applications moving toward the harnessing and collecting of data and intelligence.
How it’s not free software that we need but free data.
The inevitability of large companies absorbing the web 2.0 technologies by leveraging their data collection capabilities.
The biggest change he sees on horizon: collective intelligence based on our being “sensory enabled.” “Live Software” that learns from that data.
What Web 2.0 technologies that he likes
His final words for educators: “have fun.” Share your own enthusiasm, excitement, and passion.

I hope I didn’t say a few of those things, especially the one about Web 2.0 being antithetical to open source, since I don’t believe that — though I do have a far more nuanced view of their relationship than most people. But here’s the actual interview, so you can judge for yourself: (mp3 or OGG vorbis).

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