Rot on the Internet


In education, we’re quick to jump on band wagons.  Some are sustained; some just come and go. 

For example, consider Webquests.  When Bernie Dodge promoted the concept, it was seen as the saviour to the use of the internet.  Lots of workshops and presentations were given on the topic.  Many faculties of education assigned webquest creation as part of the syllabus and lots, of varying quality went up.  Then, the assignment was marked and the webquest went into a state of malaise.  Thankfully, people who put a great deal of time and efforts into their products kept it relatively current.  It’s still a labour of love, though.  The state of the nation didn’t go by unnoticed, though.  I attended a session given by Mr. Dodge that basically gave tips and tricks to bring a good webquest back from its deathbed.  To promote the cause, templates were created so that you, too, could be a webquest author. 

And then abandon it.

I’m seeing the same thing in the Web 2.0 world. 

Blogs are all the rage.  People just have to have a blog.  So, they start one and realize that it’s a great deal of work and abandon it.  Unfortunately, rather than formally taking it down, it just gets abandoned.  The people that pay the price are those of us who use the internet to learn.

Maybe even worse are people using the tools for the wrong reason. 

“I gots a wiki”.

OK, great.  Let me see this because wikis are a great source for inspiration and collaboration.  Hop on over and what do you see?  A page of links to someone else’s content.  But, it’s a step up from a static webpage, you can easily embed someone else’s video into your wiki.  Now, it’s a “multimedia offering”.  I’ll take a quick pass on that too.  Can you say delicious or ikeepbookmarks as a better alternative?  Oh, I’ve got one of each of them too but I haven’t done anything with it.  Talking about missing the point of community.

The Web 2.0 world offers the tools to do so much for us.  But, we need to be careful of the low hanging fruit.  Used properly, together we learn and we learn better, learn whenever we get connected, and learn so much more than we could without these tools.  But copying and pasting links to get the job done and then claim to be a 21st educator? 

Give us your thoughts and insights.  They may be micro-focussed on your world, but that’s where you’re the expert. There are a great deal of people who are looking for your content.  Give it to them.  A circuituous route to go to someone else’s content really isn’t helpful.

It will just be another piece of rot that nobody cares about.

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