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Somehow it managed to take quite some time to write this post. However if, after so long, I’m still interested in writing about the activities organized by the Center of Contemporary Culture of Barcelona Lab (CCCB Lab) and Citilab, concretely its project named Expolab, about cultural institutions and 2.0 practices, it’s a sign I’ve found many interesting ideas and reflections in them.

Using same title for talking about two activities isn’t very precise. In short, I can say that I’m referring to 2 activities: a talk about museums 2.0 and a workshop about practices 2.0 in cultural institutions. Although the 2.0  atribute was the leit motiv of the sessions, there was a big difference in the understanding of this concept.

The talk “Cultural institutions 2.0?” consisted of a round table discussion where representatives of several museums and cultural institutions explained and reflected about projects involving web 2.0 tools, lead by their institutions.  My personal impression is that, despite there are some interesting projects that really make an effort to give users a voice and promote participation, mostly web 2.0 tools are merely used as another channel of communication to attract more visitors, or simply strengthen the links with the existing visitors. The institution has the control and users are only allowed to participate in very specific ways.

The choice of technology in and of itself seems to explain and justify why these institutions identify themselves with the 2.0 label. Other usual 2.0 qualities such as transparency policies rewarding users for their contribution weren’t seen as relevant.

On the other hand, the workshop consisted in developing an understanding of the meanings underlying 2.0 practices, in other words 2.0 philosophy. The key aspect was the approach. Technology was a secondary element to take into account.

The purpose of the workshop was to share and put in practice new approaches towards creation, colaboration and continuity of the activities started in centers of creation and cultural divulgation. Communication with the public is important, but participation is an strategy that forces us to think carefully about interaction styles, shared creation, collaboration and broadcasting.

The workshop was conducted under a participatory design approach. Groups were made according to participants’ interests. After this, each group developed a project and built a 3D model (amazing how people enjoyed using plasticine – me included ;). Time was very limited, but was still time for quick  peer to peer revisions,  as well as a public presentation of each group’s projects. During the afternoon session, groups were asked to think about specific questions related to their project definition.

Obviously, the intention of the workshop was to generate questions and to open spaces for reflecting about 2.0 practices and participation, rather than offer answers. Maybe this is the reason why I’ve taken so much time for writing about it. Certainly I’ll need to read, think and learn more before I can stop thinking in participatory approaches (this means there will be more posts about this 😉

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Does it make sense to talk about authorship in collaborative environment? Should all web 2.0 knowledge builders be anonymous? What’s the value of authorship?

These are some of the questions that started to arise after reading a post in zephoria’s blog. Here I copy the part I consider resums the key issue:

“Since Knol launched in beta, folks have been comparing it to Wikipedia (although some argue against this comparison). Structurally, they’re different. They value different things and different content emerges because of this. But fundamentally, they’re both about making certain bodies of knowledge publicly accessible. They just see two different ways to get there – collaborative anarchy vs. controlled individualism. Because Knol came after Wikipedia, it appears to be a response to the criticisms that Wikipedia is too open to anonymous non-experts.”

Collaborative anarchy vs. controlled individualism, is that what we should consider at the time of developping collaborative environments for knowledge building? Does authorship guarantee the credibility of a text, or any other material?

wikipediaObviously, wikipedia seems to be “the” Example of collaborative knowledge production. However, isn’t the critical mass of editors as well as other measures of control, a guarantee for information veracity? At this point it’s useful to take into account the following

“a controversial study by Nature in 2005 systematically compared a set of scientific entries from Wikipedia and Britannica (including some from the Britannica Web edition), and found a similar rate of error between them.”

http://yupnet.org/zittrain/archives/16

Possibly, the next question I should ask myself is… What determines our level of trust at the time of evaluating information? Quite probably, in many contexts Britannica seems more trustful than Wikipedia when, from my point of view, we should keep the same levels of skepticism in both cases. I don’t know why, but it could seems that “collaborative anarchy” can easily get associated with chaos and lack of rigor. And really, after reading a bit about wikipedia history I’ve realized that information posted there is much more supervised and can be corrected more fastly than any other online encyclopedia. Obviously, scalability in collaborative knowledge production environments is a problem or, at least, a difficulty to overcome. However, if it succeeds it brings an additional value: the consolidation of a digital identity. We don’t know who are britannica redactors nor wikipedia editors, so authorship can always be a non answered question. At this point, I would say that, possibly, wikipedia can have a stronger digital identity than many other online encyclopedias.  Anyway, the issue behind authorship is closely related with responsability. Who will accept responsabilities (legal, economical…) in case someone feels offended by false information?

I don’t want to underestimate responsability in everything I/you can say, write, post or just reproduce, but I’m not sure if the solution is an economic or legal penalty. Wikipedia has develop its own mechanisms to avoid/solve errors and its corrections are the result of a public debate. This it’s more effective than simple posting a note accepting the mistake as many media do.

Trying to read Twitter’s new terms of service I realized why I never look at this kind of documents. And I guess I’m not the only one who automatically press the acceptance button once the “Terms of service” screen appears…

This time I’ve make an exception and I’ve read it and tried to understand (but it’s so boring…) the text. Even there are many sections, there are two that draw my attention: Privacy and Your (my, our) rights (this one I’ll leave it for another day).  In order to try to keep loyal to the original source, I’ve decided that the best would be to copy-paste it here:

Privacy

Any information that you provide to Twitter is subject to our Privacy Policy, which governs our collection and use of your information. You understand that through your use of the Services you consent to the collection and use (as set forth in the Privacy Policy) of this information, including the transfer of this information to the United States and/or other countries for storage, processing and use by Twitter. As part of providing you the Services, we may need to provide you with certain communications, such as service announcements and administrative messages. These communications are considered part of the Services and your Twitter account, which you may not be able to opt-out from receiving.

I don’t have a background in laws, so obviously there would be many aspects that I can easily misunderstand. However… shouldn’t there would be a limit of time for using and keeping our personal data once we’ve stopped using the service? If there isn’t any specification of a “deadline”, should I assume that twitter’s administrators will owe my personal information forever? I’f I’m not wrong, not very far ago people was complaining about Facebook terms of service because they said something as:

You hereby grant Facebook an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to (a) use, copy, publish, stream, store, retain, publicly perform or display, transmit, scan, reformat, modify, edit, frame, translate, excerpt, adapt, create derivative works and distribute (through multiple tiers), any User Content you (i) Post on or in connection with the Facebook Service.

Is Twitter doing the same? If so, should we care about it?

Anyway, may be the question is not about what exactly twitter and facebook are doing, but what is happening with users data, specially the personal information, in web 2.0 applications.


The course about “Microblogging and its possible uses for education” has ended, or almost, and I feel I should decide what I’m going to do with this blog (and some other ones I started one day, long ago, and now are kind of abandoned). Is it worth continuing/starting a blog if there isn’t an active community or network of people who could give feedback and, therefore,  add some value to these comments?

Stop, may be I’m being too pessimistic… the lack of feedback doesn’t mean the lack of readers. Probably there are lots of visitors who just read or have a quick look and after this they leave the blog …. 😉 Anyway, in case I decide to take this assumption, does it give me any strong reason for continuing writing? Why should I have to make public thoughts that, at first, are only interesting for me?

I ask myself all this because I conceive a blog as a tool for learning. In this case, it’s the appearance of a community, network, friends, whatever..what helps me learning by offering different approaches, ideas…whatever, but at least share something. If this feedback doesn’t exist, I need to think again why should I continue this blog.

After some days of doubts – and don’t know why but also a bit of guiltynes for not continuing the blog –  I’ve arrived to a conclusion. I’m going to use the blog as a personal diary of what I’m learning, reading or just to note down ideas that, otherwise, I would end forgetting and, who knows, may be can be useful for the thesis of the master.  By having the info on internet, I would be able to have access to from anywhere and the info won’t dissapear if my computer breaks down (although, who can guarantee that wordpress would always exist and keep the information forever?

And, of course, if by the way, I receive feedback from someone, that would be a good reward! 🙂

The first time I heard the term “edupunk”, edupunkI though I had heard it wrong… however, after thinking about it twice I couldn’t avoid smiling: the philosophy of “do it by yourself ” applied to education! Of course there’s nothing new about the term, there are many teachers who “survive” and manage to motivate their students thanks to experimentation… and what about those who learn by their own? Should they be called edupunks now?

“Edupunk, it seems, takes old-school Progressive educational tactics–hands-on learning that starts with the learner’s interests–and makes them relevant to today’s digital age, sometimes by forgoing digital technologies entirely.”

Stephen Downes

According to Downes words, the use of social networks, blogs and microblogging tools such as twitter, could be part of this punk approach of education as far as they follow students interests… Anyway, I guess the specific name of the tool has no importance, personally I’m starting to feel tired talking about myspace, facebook, twitter, orkut and so on… would any of them exist 5 years later? However, I’m quite sure that the attitude of adapting existing resources for solving personal needs will still exist.

Why there’s so much expectation with twitter in education, then? (or at least, that’s what I feel). Is it just a fashion or it is really adding something that didn’t exist before? To be honest, I should say that I find difficulties in answering this question because I still haven’t understonf what’s exactly the purpose of twitter… anyway, possibly that’s what make it so appealing from an edupunk point of view… as there isn’t an official way of using it, each one can use it according to their needs. At this point, I can’t avoid endind the post with a sentence I heard recently:

“Twitter has so few utility that it can be used for everything”

May be I should had written about this time ago…blog
but according to a spanish said “better late than never”, so here it goes my answer to the question “What’s a blog?”

Currently, my ideas about blogs are quite different that first impressions I got the first time I asked “but…what’s a blog?”

Obviously, reconstructing now what I thought at that moment is going to be quite difficult if not impossible. Anyway, in brief I would say that my understanding of blogs at that initial stage was “it’s something similar to a website, but easier to manage and free.” May be it was very simplistic, but for me, that was enough to loose fears associated to online publication and start believing that publishing on the www could easy and fast.

Actually, my ideas about blogs have changed, but I still keep in mind that reasons that encouraged me starting my first blog. Now, if I had to syntetize main aspects of blogs, I would point out to publication, networks and interactivity. By publication I’m referring to the fact that thanks to blogs many people with no skills in web development have been able to have their own online space  and public content regularly. Achieving some visibility has allow the appearance of networks of people with similar interests. Finally, thanks to interaction (although this is something that can be controled by the blog administrator) links with other users can be strengthen at the same time that it can be a first step towards online collaboration and cooperation.

This post is intended to give some ideas – or may be just to think about- adults’ fears at the time of writing a blog. Trying to find an answer to what Sabine commented in her blog entry “Blogging in the education of adults?” I just ended reading about digital native versus digital inmigrants. Despite the term coined by Marc Prensky offers multiple lectures, it can be interesting to have a close look at the following definition: “The importance of the distinction is this: As Digital Immigrants learn – like all immigrants, some better than others – to adapt to their environment, they always retain, to some degree, their “accent,” that is, their foot in the past. The “digital immigrant accent” can be seen in such things as turning to the Internet for information second rather than first, or in reading the manual for a program rather than assuming that the program itself will teach us to use it. Today’s older folk were “socialized” differently from their kids, and are now in the process of learning a new language. And a language learned later in life, scientists tell us, goes into a different part of the brain.”

Marc Prensky quoted at Henry Jenkins’ blog

May be this can help understanding why sometimes new media tools, such as blogs, aren’t used taking into account what they really possibilite. Personally, I must confess I haven’t any experience in adults education (except some unsuccessful internet lessons to my father… 😦

Anyway, what I feel is that the introduction of tools such as blogs, wikis or whatever you want with adults, should come together with a reflection of the medium. What are the differences between a blog and a website? Why is it worth using a blog in this context? Possibly, encouraging adults to struggle with technology is more difficult than motivating kids to do something with a computer. However, if we manage to make our adult students understand the possibilities of that tools we are showing them, we would have done a very important step in order to help them  face part of their fears.

For me, the most difficult is always how to start. Fortunately, this time I found an image that has  helped me a little.

Welcome!

It suggest me there are always hidden resources that can be helpful. So, feel comfortable and enjoy the travel!