Second Wave Adoption
Nov 07, 2006
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Nancy White is looking at the question of whether people are adopting Web 2.0 tools in learning. I can't imagine that they're not, but then again, I am one of those "smart, innovative people who are coming up with really wonderful uses of new internet based technologies" and not one of the people putting these tools into practice (I assume I can get away with that self-designation here). But again: it is not so relevant whether instructors use these tools nor whether or not they are used in the classroom; what matters is that students are using them, in or out of the classroom. And again: why is the focus in our discussions always on the instructor? The world could end - and it would not matter unless it impacted teaching practices. See also this link, also from Nancy White. Total: 187
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Re: Second Wave Adoption

Hm. Are the discussions focused on the instructor? That is a good question. My sense is what I'm wrestling with is with the participant - be that in a classroom our out to the farthest, unseeable boundaries of the network. The actor. The player in the cosmic play of life (which for me means learning!) Second wave adoption right now has a particular bend to it. We have those born into the networked age and those who saw it form up. Once we get past us oldies, the dynamics of second wave adoption will shift again, until there is another jump in things, like the jump we experiened with the www. I suppose it is cyclic and someone with a good sense of history should be able to speak to that. As a practitioner, the thing I run in to all the time is the rub between the amazing early adopters (and those of us just a step or two behind) and those who are watching them (or who are being preached to, and I'm afraid we're all guilty of that at some level.) There is a comprehension gap. For example, in the non profit/NGO world where these tools to support horizontal learning and doing can be SO USEFUL, we run into mindsets that are grounded in vertical organizations. We need ways to talk about this, to see the possibilities as the two find a way to live together in this transition: to deal creatively with the tensions of change. The reason this is important, and prkobably why talkng with teachers and others is that like it or not, they represent a form of power. They are not the ONLY audience, nor are they the primary audience for many of us. But to ignore them is to ignore them at our own peril. Change is systemic. The catalysts may come from one corner or the other, but by "bringing the whole system into the room" we may have a more creative and generative way of moving forward together. Oh dear. I stepped on the the soap box. I'm going to go back and reflect on this more on my blog. Thanks for raising (at least in my mind) the question of focus. Really important and USEFUL! Nancy White [Comment] [Permalink]

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