Sunday, May 10, 2009

MASS COLLABORATION... The True Democracy

The benefits of mass collaborative can already be seen in such things as Wikipedia and Linux. We vote for politicians to make decisions for us, but what about if we made the decisions together. According to Jono's IT blog, "the New Zealand Government in late 2007 gave the public the opportunity to directly contribute to law making, by launching an online wiki where people could make suggestions to the wording of a new police act."
A whole society building their laws together with continuous input from its people and not just a powerful few; now that's progressive.

Mass collaboration opens the doors to more creative thinking. We've all heard two heads are better than one. Well, this can be like having 2 million heads or even more. With everyone contributing towards a common goal it can not only be a huge success, but also more efficiently produced.

Are we preparing students for mass collaboration? I think we are in the beginning stages. As computers and the web become more and more entrenched in schools this will be more and more possible. Classes are now using things like wiki's and Google docs to work on things together. Some are even taking that a step further and working with classes from other parts of the world on common projects. This seems to be especially popular with classes dealing with global issues. If you are interested in doing a project with other schools in other countries go to The Flat Classroom.

It will be very interesting to see what the schools of the future will look like. Expect collaboration to be a big part of it.

Power of the Web 2

In my first post on this subject I discussed some of the more serious issues that the power of the web can help with. However, on a lighter note, I would like to say the power of the web can also be used to shot people to super stardom. Take Susan Boyle for example. She was an unknown middle aged woman who never made it in singing. She went on the TV show, Britain’s Got Talent, and blew the socks of everyone watching. But, it didn't end there; what made her so big was that the show was put on YouTube and the world could now see it. It created such a buzz that everyone was hearing about it and checking it out. In fact, it is on track to become the most popular video in the history of YouTube, amassing nearly 100 million views in its first nine days. Susan Boyle went from a nobody to a house hold name practically over night due to the tube. If you are one of the few people in the world who is living under a rock and didn't see the video, you can see it now. Unfortunately, you can no longer embed the videos of this, so here is the link to Susan Boyle

The Power of the Web

These are changing times; but haven't things changed throughout time? They sure have, but not at this rate. With current technology; especially the web, changes are taking place at an ever increasing rate; in some cases it is changing exponentially. The clearest way I can show you the power of the web is to show you this video.

Shift Happens

The web has the power to connect the world, but more importantly it has the potential to give access to everyone. Thus, the 'have not's' can access the same information as the 'have's'. For example, the 1 laptop per child site has been helping educate the 'have not's' in a way traditional methods could not. According to the One Laptop Per Child site "Most of the more than one billion children in the emerging world don’t have access to adequate education. The XO laptop is our answer to this crisis—and after nearly two years, we know it’s working. Almost everywhere the XO goes, school attendance increases dramatically as the children begin to open their minds and explore their own potential. One by one, a new generation is emerging with the power to change the world."

The web also has the power to get people involved in projects that help, such as the project above. However, now more and more people are involved in social networking sites such as Facebook. Nonetheless, even these social networking sites are now devices for change.

Harnessing the Power of the Web for Social Good

"The time has come to embark upon a cause to harness the power of the Web for social good, not just for social networking. Facebook and other social networking sites are changing human communications in ways that are as dramatic and life-changing as the printing press, the telephone, and television were in their times. Since the advent of the Internet, we have not seen such human impact as we now are witnessing with the mind-bending applications available to anyone with a computer or mobile device connected to the Web. Since Web technology and social networking are impacting so many people, in so many ways, all over the world, the time has come to raise a new standard."

I myself am even using Facebook to start a "Ban Plastic Bags in Thailand Group". Using the power of the web we can easily see build momentum for this cause.