Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Campus Technology 2008 – 1st session: Riding Web 2.0

The first breakout session I attended was titled Riding Web 2.0 Toward Service Beyond the Classroom. This was presented by a trio of individuals:

  • Jim Wolfgang, Director, Georgia Digital Innovation Group, Georgia College & State University
  • Keith Politte, Corporate Relations Officer, University of Missouri, Columbia
  • Frank Lowney, Manager, Web Enabled Resources & Professor of Educational Foundations School of Education, Georgia College & State University

The premise of their presentation was to talk about how Web 2.0 can serve as a collaborative tool to reach beyond the classroom and involve the learner in the community. Mr. Wolfgang offered the question of the value of posting thousands of video lectures on a school website if there was no way for the students to talk with the professor and with each other. He said the key to getting buy-in to using Web 2.0 tools is to speak in the vernacular of the individuals in position to make the decision to implement Web 2.0 tools. Too often we get caught up in the technospeak of the tools.

Mr Lowney explained that especially in the corporate world new technologies are measured in ROI or Return on Investment, but he argued that ROI can mean more than just “money.” It can also mean good PR as word spreads on how you are applying the tools. He pointed to how his own university received positive publicity when CNN reported on their works in being the first university to employ Ipods as learning tools.

Mr. Wolfgang then encouraged the participants to experiment with Web 2.0 tools. “If you wait for 100% perfection, it ain’t gonna happen,” he said. He said the key is to start slow and to explain to the people you are trying to get to use the tools how each of the particular tools work. He argued if they see each tool as a hammer you will see people hammering nails with what is in reality a wrench.

As they talked I couldn’t help but wonder if the early web 2.0 tools such as blogs and wikis may ultimately give way to the verbal tools such as online audio and video as the preferred means to communicate. The computer and more importantly the smartphones and digital PDAs are really more of a visual and audio medium than a textual medium. Early adaptors grew up with the printed word as the primary means of storing and communicating knowledge. So it seems only logical that wikis and blogs would be the lead agents in the web 2.0 world. But as the Next-Gen generation pick up the pace, the wikis and blogs would seem to be logical to dropped.

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