Monday, November 06, 2006
The Social Software Tsunami Watch
The more I read, the more I see, and the more that I talk about social software, the more I feel that a tsunami is coming and educators are just not watching the horizon. It isn't just that children as young as 5 have e-mail addresses, and more and more kids are maintaining their own websites and blogs, or that Ratemyteachers.com has almost 6 million postings about 900,000 teachers covering almost 85% of North American schools. And it isn't just that I'm astounded by the number of primary and secondary school teachers who are working in social software and exposing their students to the world, or that I'm woefully disappointed in the slow take up by college and university professors). I do worry about the future of higher education as these students start to arrive on campus in the next 5-10 years. I worry that the millenial students will feel that the campus is so woefully inadequate and the learning experience so out of touch and authoritarian. I worry that we could have done so much more for them, with the tools and approaches available to us, yet chose to continue with the same old - old approaches, old language, old learning models, bound by copyright and software license. They'll enter the campus expecting the world, and we'll offer them a provincial gated town with limited access to the world. I'm worried that we will rein them in, contain them, and stifle the curiousity,creativity and connections they have cultivated throughout their lower grades. But really, they are resilient, and there is a social software world awaiting them beyond the walls of the campus. They will survive. It's us I worry about - at least those of us who fail to see the wall of water before it is too late.