UPDATE: Nov 2, 2013: See the final application and goofy Alan at Stonehenge video
Borrowing terminology and the insight of Jin Udell, I am aiming to extend the work we have done up to now as ds106 to be something that would enable people to build, foster their own distributed network communities. Rather than creating software solutions as an answer, this will rest on the existing (trailing edge?) open source tools of the web, primarily but not exclusively WordPress.
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Describe the world as it is. (A description of the status quo and context in which you will be working)
At a mature age of 23, the World Wide Web has achieved much of the vision of its creator Tim Berners-Lee:
The dream behind the Web is of a common information space in which we communicate by sharing information. Its universality is essential: the fact that a hypertext link can point to anything, be it personal, local or global, be it draft or highly polished. There was a second part of the dream, too, dependent on the Web being so generally used that it became a realistic mirror (or in fact the primary embodiment) of the ways in which we work and play and socialize. That was that once the state of our interactions was on line, we could then use computers to help us analyse it, make sense of what we are doing, where we individually fit in, and how we can better work together.
““ The World Wide Web: A very short personal history by Tim Berners-Lee May 7, 1998
In the world of education, we have bountiful resources and content on the web, but in practice, many educators lean towards a more familiar a print publishing/broadcast mindset– not taking advantage of the affordances of being of the web. The meteoric rise of interest in MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) focuses on achieving its first letter via approaches of replication, e.g. one super professors lecturing to learners, automated assessment, etc. and not using the affordances of it’s massive participant group. What scales is the teaching (to many) not necessarily the experience of those aiming to learn.
There is a better model out there for scaling open learning, it is right under our browsers… the web itself.
What change do you want to make? (A description of what you want to change about the status quo, in the world, your personal vision for this area)
I would like to see educators gain a better conceptual understanding and practice of web thinking, using the affordances of a distributed network, and an abilities to create, manage, and operate in a de-centralized space. This can be achieved without the need for corporate investor funding, but within the structures and open source tools of the web.
It’s what Jon Udell describes as innovation toolkits — “products or services that, while being used for their intended purposes, enables their users to express unanticipated intents and find ways to realize them.” And it is one that does not call for new technologies; in fact will work is re-conceptualization of what we currently have in new ways.
I propose to build a suite of tool kits as extensions of the ones I have used or built for the ds106 open digital storytelling class but making them extensible for other subjects and organizations who would like to operate in a more “web-like” manner, using a distributed model where participants may create, publish in many places, ideally some are ones they manage.
I’m craving feedback so trying to wave my openness flag by posting this draft. What I seek includes but is not limited to:
- Would it make sense to a general reader?
- Is it a mistake to hitch it it closely to WordPress?
- Can you think of ways you might want to build/use something not as a copy of ds106 but has the attributed of its parts (or something we have not thought of)?
- Do you have any idea for a project we could collaborate on (I am hoping to list potential ones, it is not a commitment, as I understand it, the fellowship provides needed funds and travel costs.
- Where are my typos?
In my gut this feels like a super long shot, but the foundation really seems to take a unique approach to supporting people first, then projects. I would be super ecstatic to have the support to be able to focus full time energy to this.
Thanks in advance…