An Ontario guitar resource


Yesterday was Friday and a chance to recognize some educators from the province who have been actively online engaging others. One of the people that came through was David Spencer.

David shares, in his response, a page on his educational wiki. It’s devoted to the guitar. I clicked through to enjoy the content that he shared there.

It had me smiling during these COVID times. When I was young, I played the guitar. My problem (amongst other things) was that I was young when I shared with my parents. We went to the local gentleman who taught guitar lessons and my hands were too small to wrap around the guitar. But, he had a solution and I learned how to play the steel guitar and western and Hawaiian music. To be honest, it’s not something that’s done regularly around here anymore.

This winter, from boredom, I pulled out my old electric steel guitar and picked up just like it was yesterday. If you’re of a certain age and are learning to play the steel guitar, I think it probably was compulsory to play Blue Hawaii by Elvis Presley.

Now, I’m not that old to have seen the movie first time around but I did date an Elvis fan. I was pleased that I was able to play it from memory without error. I guess I had played it that often enough to commit it to memory.

Anyway, back to David.

He has created a wiki to pull together learning resources for his students. I clicked through the link that he shared and was interested in the resources that he provides. Yes, there are all kinds of resources on the internet doing much the same thing. David’s resource is enough to get students to know and remember the tuning for a guitar.

Often, we seem to be living in a world where we’re just consumers of someone else’s efforts. Haven’t we all gone looking for something and had to settle for something that was less than desirable?

I like David’s approach to customizing things just as he sees the need. I’m a big fan of the wiki format – wiki meaning “quick” in Hawaiian (love the connection here). You truly do create and share content quickly. In my case, I used pbworks and am located at http://dougpete.pbworks.com.

With a wiki you typically don’t spend all kinds of time tweaking this and that for look and design. You use the wiki to quickly develop a resource. David has taken the time to download wiki software and is running it at his own domain. http://education.davidspencer.ca/

Is his solution workable for you?

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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