Newspapers & Thinking the Unthinkable I have been following the rapid demise of daily newspapers with morbid interest. This blog by Clay Shirky is the best piece I have examined on the subject. When you read it, imagine that he is discussing how the communications revolution is changing schools rather than newspapers:
When someone demands to know how we are going to replace newspapers, they are really demanding to be told that we are not living through a revolution. They are demanding to be told that old systems won’t break before new systems are in place. They are demanding to be told that ancient social bargains aren’t in peril, that core institutions will be spared, that new methods of spreading information will improve previous practice rather than upending it. They are demanding to be lied to. . . . When reality is labeled unthinkable, it creates a kind of sickness in an industry. Leadership becomes faith-based, while employees who have the temerity to suggest that what seems to be happening is in fact happening are herded into Innovation Departments, where they can be ignored en masse.
Artist Tim Schwartz has made a wonderful visual statement about the old order of organizing information colliding with the new. Visit his brief performance video and watch him open his seven foot card catalog drawer of 7390 iPod songs organized in reverse chronological order of how recently he listened to them.
If you are curious about digital education, but the terrain simply seems to alien to you, I recommend that you register at the PBS site and investigate their projects, networks, and professional development links. This well-designed, familiar location allows the teacher to focus on materials for all grade levels and disciplines. The materials and strategies range from the very basic to the highly sophisticated. I have placed the Media Infusion blog in my RSS reader. The March post, Mashups, Remixes, and Web 2.0: Playing Fast and Loose with Shakespeare contained several fascinating suggestions for using Web 2.0 in order to explore one of my favorite plays. I particularly liked the following idea:
Whether you teach Math or English, elementary or high school this site will almost surely offer you a gem like this as well.
Screen capture of "Card Catalog 2008" with permission of Tim Schwartz