Sunday, October 14, 2007

Researching the self and the (in)significance of trends

I was checking to see if an interview that I did for a local issue had appeared yet. In my searching, I stumbled over a small piece I wrote for CPSR in 1997. At the time, I recall having a bit of fun doing the scribbles. But that was written or at least published (an odd term these days when most everything is published) ten years ago. I was pondering the cultural and educational imperialism of the US. It seemed to fit with my lived experience at the time. And now with the flood of AJAX software (I recall reading that AJAX was simply Java script that worked!) that imperialism is a little less certain. Sure the US is still the centre of the Internet universe but the "all to all" of social media makes national boundaries almost quaint. I don't want to get all romantic about the longer term play out of "all to all" networking but there is now a small but fairly insightful (IMHO) group of folk who figure that all of this is really Gutenberg 2. In 1997 I got it kinda wrong. I am puzzling the prospect of a global community which shifts to an "all to all" communication system and the impact that will have on virtually all of the social institutions we have built upon the one to many, broadcast logic of the past century. My favourite piece on this was written a good while back (1994) by Jay Weston. I figure it is one of those not seeing the forest for the trees moments. Lots of good folk all out their busily worrying about "applying" various bits of "social software" to their educational practice and somehow unable to zoom out to see the larger shifts that are happening. Popular culture (music a movies) might be the current sites of interest but I think it is now only a matter of time before we see similar kinds of disruptions around various bits of formal education.

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