NETA 07- Day One, Session One

The first poster session I attended today was “Blogs, Vlogs, and the Mad Rush to Web 2.0,” by David Pogue.

With an introduction to Social Media- self-expression via text, audio, video- Pogue asked the audience how many people have ever blogged, podcasted, vlogged, etc. Not many hands went up as bloggers. In fact, when he asked the audience how many people read blogs everyday, my guess is that less than 20 hands were raised (the audience was several hundred). I find this a little disheartening. NETA is an EDUCATION conference. How can we be effectively teaching our students if our teachers/administrators/tech staff aren’t in the know about what’s going on in the world? Blogging is nothing new. Our kids know how to use these tools to communicate, self-express… we don’t have time to play catch up!

Sorry… I digressed a little there. I wonder if David Pogue felt the same way.

He also discussed the amount of garbage that’s out there in Web 2.0, but he was careful to note that there are some really amazing things happening on YouTube and iTunes and the rest. I truly agree. As adults, we can’t discount what people are producing and creating, just because much of it isn’t well-produced, written, or even planned. Yes, a lot of YouTube videos are not worth our time… but several are. Young people are learning and building and creating outside of their educational institutions. Or should I say, in SPITE of their educational institutions. Nobody ever asked a kid to create a YouTube video, and then take a standardized test about creating the video.

Pogue also brought up “Copyright Challenges,” something he touched upon in his keynote earlier in the morning. I was really glad that he discussed how the music industry just isn’t getting it. Suing one’s own customers doesn’t get you far. In fact, I’d say it would do more to lose those customers than to theoretically whip them into shape. There are options that the music industry should consider. When your customers’ demands change, change your business or fail. Duh. Find a way to get those customers back, and make it look different. Funny, I’ve been saying the same thing about education.

Toward the end of his session, Pogue noted that there’s a lot of mistrust on the internet. A lot of corporate sponsorship of blogs, PR blogs, people getting paid to blog/endorse a company or its products, phony profiles or identities passed off as genuine (e.g., lonelygirl15)… it’s hard to know whom to credit as authentic. Additionally, with the anonymity the internet provides, there’s a lot of truly vile content, especially in comments. Pogue said, “anonymity breeds contempt.” People feel safe spewing hatred from behing the curtain. He brought up the Kathy Sierra situation, and mentioned that some have called for a “Blogger Code of Conduct.” Will it happen? Will bloggers be able to self-regulate ? There are many suggestions by a lot of people about how to start addressing this problem.

I’m glad Pogue brought this up, because it’s important. I have posted about the very same issue on another blog. I do wish, however, that he could have mentioned more about the positive aspects of Web 2.0 before ending the session. People who are afraid of “Social Media” will use that as justification to not blog, not podcast, not put themselves out there to communicate with the world. And they definitely don’t want kids in a world like that… even though that’s where the kids already are.

Okay, well… on to the next session. My next post will be about Tony Vincent’s session, “I Didn’t Know You Could Do That With An iPod.” Tony is a former teacher with whom I’ve had the pleasure of working. I’m anxious to see what he’s up to!

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