I am an avid follower of David Warlick’s blog (as most of you are as well, I’m sure). He has a very interesting post about Knowing-Networks that I find fascinating to consider. He is commenting on some articles he read about the digital divide (prompted by postings to Twitter). His conclusion (?) is that the digital divide is not so much about access any longer. Kids have access to computers because several dollar sources have helped put them in schools all across the country regardless of socio-economic levels.
The divide now is related to the social network capabilities of Web 2.0. Blogs, Twitter, collaborative sites, and more have all allowed us to formulate "knowing-networks." These networks are based on the cummulative impact of accessing the power of the brains of people we know, trust, and admire.
Taking his thoughts a little further, I would say that even a social networking site like MySpace is becoming more and more like Web 1.0 every day. Kids are posting things there, but the connectivity and interaction is being lost in the deluge of such a massive idea. Visitors go to sites and read what was happening with their friends, but a lot of the collaboration is missing simply because it is too much.
The DEN is a huge place: nearly 25,000 members and growing. But our power isn’t in 25,000 people. Our power is in the connections we make with 10 or 15 people who are passionate about the same things we are. Those 10 or 15 people are our "knowing-network" that empowers us to change the way we do the ordinariness of our lives.
I won’t take the time to list my 10 to 15 people in this blog. Some of them I’ve never met. Yet I follow what they say closely, respond to them at times even. Others I see a couple of times a year, but those times are specifically special. A few I collaborate with more closely. The common thread is that it is the power of Web 2.0 that has built this "knowing-network."
If we can get our students to develop a knowing-network, how much power would they have at their disposal? How would our standardized test scores look then? How prepared would they be for the world of work after leaving school?
What do you think?