I’ll take a brief respite from my usual dismissal of all things 2.0 to highlight a nice article by Thomas Vander Wal: Tale of Two Tunnels: “the difference between Web 2.0 and Enterprise 2.0 is like the difference building a tunnel through rock and tunnel under water…The Enterprise 2.0 tunnel is built under water. This takes more engineering understanding, but it also requires more fault testing and assurances. A crack or crumbling of a tool inside an organization is not seen kindly and raises doubts around the viability of the tool…Web 2.0 does not work well in enterprise, but the approaches and understandings of Web 2.0 modified for enterprise work really well.”
There is value in this for educators. I frequently hear reasons about why we can’t implement blogs, wikis, Second Life, and social networking services in education…security, we can’t control it, they’re just playing (instead of learning), and so on. I’ve been emphasizing a shift similar to Vander Wal’s: don’t focus on the tools and the direct application of the tools. Focus on what the tools allow us to do better and then find a way to implement that functionality in an organization. Should all grade 3 students have a blog on blogspot? Or videos on youtube? No. But all students in grade 3 should be communicating with others (preferably from around the world), expressing themselves in creative ways, co-creating with peers, and interacting with media and technology. Don’t let the tools be used as a scapegoat for inertia.