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Rupert Murdoch vs my Iphone App

I’ve been following the recent bluff and bluster from Rupert Murdoch with interest: ‘Google are ripping off my content’, ‘You can’t do this to me!’, ‘I’m taking my newspaper off the internet’, ‘Pay for view for news is the future’, stuff like that (I’m paraphrasing but you can do a Google News Search and get the exact quotes yourself; what am I, a journalist?) Here’s a snapshot:

Some see it as a bluff, or an attempt to cut a deal with Bing or some other search engine, others see it as the last gasps of a media mogul who just doesn’t get it and/or the desperate last throes of old media.  I heard that a year ago Rupert Murdoch had never done a Google search himself. That figures.

I love newspapers but some of them aren’t doing a great job of convincing me that I care. I loved reading the NY Times when I was there recently and bought it every morning and I’ve got a lot of time for the AGE but then I go there this week and find vitriolic opinion columns from sensationalists like Catherine Deveny or across town the same stuff from Andrew Bolt in the Herald-Sun.  It’s fun for language analysis practice for Year 12s, but you dont’ go there for insight, or even particularly good writing. Can a newspaper that has to be one thing to all people really work any more?

Truth is, when I wake up each morning I check my email and my Google Reader feeds before I check the newspaper online.  I follow 101 blog feeds daily, from people who are expert in their fields, who I respect, many of whom also write better than Bolt, Deveny and the rest. Try Scott McLeod, Derek Wenmoth, Don Tapscott or David Warlick on education, for a start. I could go on!

And I’m hopeful that a new era of open-ness has begun and that the genie is already out of the bottle in a democratisation of the media. We want access to the information that matters to us in exactly the format that works for us and I hope that Murdoch’s view of the world is fading.

I’m teaching the classic text Frankenstein to my literature class next year and have been trawling around for resources. One that struck me was a study guide on the text available as a web site you could visit, a PDF you could download or an Iphone App you could buy for $1.19. You can find it on Itunes.  It’s not anything particularly intuitive except that it understands the ubiquity around content now, and that we want choice in how we receive it.  The ABC seems to understand, they’ve been working hard at delivering their content in increasingly diverse ways, including on hand held devices.

I met with my publisher recently in planning a new text book for next year, maybe. We were talking about models of publishing and they’ve begun to move (slowly) toward a sort of print on demand model where you order a customised version of the book depending on the texts and contexts you’ve chosen to study. But what about making that same content available online? We’ve had a web site resource add-on for a while now, but I’m arguing for the book to be available in other ways too: to be read on the Kindle, downloaded and purchased in bits, even as an iphone app. It’s going to be interesting to see who catches us on quickest in all this; the slow ones aren’t likely to last.

I’ve been following the recent bluff and bluster from Rupert Murdoch with interest: ‘Google are ripping off my content’, ‘You can’t do this to me!’, ‘I’m taking my newspaper off the internet’, ‘Pay for view for news is the future’, stuff like that (I’m paraphrasing but you can do a Google News Search and get the exact quotes yourself; what am I, a journalist?)

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Web 2.0 tools in the classroom

I’m currently planning a presentation on the use of web 2.0 tools in the classroom and how we might make best use of the kinds of interactive and collaborative possibilities some of these tools contain within the context of the classroom and the school.  In the process I’m actively looking for examples of students and teachers in action projects, and been frustrated sometimes at the negativity towards the educational use of these tools.

So, it was nice to read of Judy O’Connell talking of similar things, and similar frustrations over at her great blog, Hey Jude.  One of the things that resonated me was the fear and alarmism that rises almost reflexively when we start talking student collaboration using online tools and the gulf between educators confident and familiar with the tools and those with just enough knowledge to make them dangerous.

Yesterday, for example, the Melbourne AGE opened their page 1 story Pupils Subject to Phone Sexting, with

THOUSANDS of private school students have been asked to send naked pictures of themselves by mobile phone or the internet, and many more have been subjected to upsetting emails or online messages.

Sounds alarming doesn’t it? And I don’t want to underestimate the concern. But reading on you get a slightly different picture. It seems that

“Sexting”— the practice of taking explicit photos and forwarding them to friends or “potential suitors” — is also an issue for some students, with about one in 10 saying they had been asked by others to post a nude photo of themselves in recent months.

Now, since there were 4800 students in the total survey that’s 480. I guess you could extrapolate from that survey that over the whole of the school population the number would go into the thousands, but it’s certainly not what the opening sentence indicated. In fact, later one we hear:

Michelle Green, chief executive of the Association of Independent Schools of Victoria, which conducted the survey, said negative online experiences for students were relatively isolated.

Judy O’Connell writes:

We are starting to see a digital divide emerging in that some people believe they can talk about and research digital learning environments and social networking without actually being active participants in that world!  I like to see keynote speakers who can share their online digital identities with us, and prove to me that they really do understand the architecture of participation that is learning in our new century.

We are indeed, as well as a divide between the possibilities of utilizing  21st century tools in the classroom and those who, like the AGE yesterday, take the worst and most negative spin possible. And between the teachers wanting to help students create a positive online presence and those who would really like all this stuff to just go away.

In the spirit of particpatory learning, Judy O’Connell has also shared her presentation on Slideshare HERE