We started off with our first video TED Talk: Shereen El Feki. Then it was back to the Live, In Person talks. And first up, Jay Rosen. His theme was Citizen Journalism, and he spent a lot of his time taking us through the history of this.
Rosen started by saying that he’s a pragmatist, he believes that innovation happens when we have really good problems. So, how does this relate to citizen journalism?
- 1998: the Halloween Documents
- 1999: article on Open Source Journalism (aka /.) posted on Salon
- 2004: Mark Sinclair’s Overnight Dossier sparks a Daily Kos response
- 2007: Assignment Zero
- 2007: Talking Points Memo‘s appeal for help with the Attorney General investigation.
- 2009: Guardian.uk asks for help tracking Tony Blair’s income
He suggested several “really good problems” that interested him, but I didn’t hear any that would interest younger students. On the other hand, the possibilities for K-12 schools are there: think current events, or an investigation of the causes of a war.
Then along came Jeff Jarvis. You must – MUST, I tell you! – see his video (bleeped or not). His first point: TED = validation. It’s the last thing we need. As I said earlier, preaching to the choir or the potentially persuadable (I’d hold that AASL and ALA are the same; although unlike TED, I’ve seen lots of negative tweets about those conferences). He then went on to say that we need to collaborate, challenge and discuss.
Educators, he argues, are not creators by nature but curators. Why? Ego. (see how that pops up again?) He didn’t use the “guide on the side” image, but that’s really what he feels educators should be: tutors, explaining and making information understandable. Lectures are useful because they provide a common base from which students (and teachers) can then collaborate, challenge and discuss ideas.
Students, of course, need to be the starting point for our inquiry (uh, not according to our great Dept. of Education!), and teachers should learn to “do what you do best, link to the rest”. In other words, honor the creator while expanding on the creation (another link to the morning’s talks!!) He likened this to moving the customer up the design chain, allowing students to help figure out what they don’t know and involving them in creating the new “product”.
Because of this, he suggested that schools were still essential – they provide those spaces for collaboration. I’m not a huge fan of constructivism, but his idea that a portfolio, not a diploma, should be the end product of 13 years of education resonated. Exams should be opportunities to learn what you don’t know (or what the teacher/tutor failed to explain well) – that’s why June is a rotten time to give finals (“hi, here’s what you did wrong and we’ll see you in September!”) and why I’m glad that Hackley’s moving them to March.