I was all energized after a talk by Bryan Alexander from NITLE on Web 2.0 and its implications for pedagogy. The talk was part of the UCPL’s series as well as part of Tracy Mitrano’s Info 515 – Culture, Law and Politics of the Internet class; you can see it here. He gave an overview of a number of Web 2.0 tools (including a live demo of Twitter which netted a response from Gardner Campbell /end squee) and brought up a number of new tools and trends I hadn’t heard of. It was the kind of inspiring overview that I need to remind me not only how much fun all this stuff is to think about but also (and even more importantly) to step back and think about the broader conceptual issues involved beyond the tools. He did a nice job of hitting the unchanging issues (the need to make sense of new technologies of knowing and information overload and the inevitable human responses (panic, vendors/commodification, futurism, and networking, to paraphrase) that all such sea changes are met with and the new challenges of privacy, intellectual property and the economics of Web 2.0 (we got off onto a neat exploration of Yahoo/Flickr’s terms of service that reminded me of both the perils and joys of collective exploration of a topic).
The students in the class seemed engaged and it was interesting to see how many of them were using certain tools (my podcasting dreams wavered a bit when only a few people raised their hands on his question of how many people use podcasts). Some used Twitter and were using it in class in service of the presentation. During the Yahoo terms of service discussion, several people hopped online and did some investigation, which was good to see.
I came in for a little good natured librarian ribbing on the whole metadata/folksonomy bit (though Alexander did say from the outset that he was a librarian fanboy (pause for squee again) and clearly is a fan of libraries, information and literature (including sci fi as well as his own field of gothic horror, which did my heart good). He took us on a brief Wayback machine tour of marginalia in the 16th c. and the Gutenberg Bible and other texts and pointed out the Diary of Samuel Pepys blog as well as his own posting of Dracula in blog format. In another how awesome was that moment, he even recommended a book by an Aussie sci fi author which I’ll have to pick up, because how can you not love anything with dueling librarians in it.
We went on for about 2 and half hours and had a great conversation. It’s the kind of thing that reminds me what I love.