Wednesday, July 02, 2008

My Great Idea


One of the ways that I share my excitement for educational technology is through graduate online course development. I write ed tech courses for Pearson Higher Ed. This spring and summer I have been busy with a course featuring Web 2.0 technology. I wrote the course and then talked with Pearson's video guru, Vikki Myers, about video content. During our conversation I listed my Who's Who of ed tech Web 2.0 - Wes Fryer; Women of Web 2.0 (Jennifer Wagner, Vicki Davis, Cheryl Oakes, Sharon Peters); Will Richardson; Dave Warlick; Joselyn Todd; and Bill Ferriter. "By the way," I mentioned casually, "most of these people are sure to be at NECC. And they will probably be present for the edu blogger con."

My project manager and her supervisor loved the idea of talking to all these people at one time. So they started making calls and got permission to attend the blogger con and film it. I was so thrilled to be part of the project I could hardly contain myself. My husband listened to my delight bubbling over and even encouraged me to fly out to be there. Unfortunately it was the same day as my daughter's birthday party and I missed her birthday for NECC last year. So I didn't pursue it, but I could hardly wait for the blogger con to arrive and see if there was any buzz on the Web about it. Little did I know the buzz would be about my "great idea" and whether it was great or the ruin of the blogger con.

Some bloggers were mad that Pearson showed up, accusing them(us) of stealing ideas and changing the climate at the blogger con. I was crushed. I only wanted more teachers to be inspired by the great ideas of my favorite ed techies and now it seemed like it had all gone wrong.

I talked to Elaine Roberts the next day and she assured me that blogger con and the conversations there were awesome! Later that day her comments on Wes Fryer's podcast seemed to quiet the storm. I hope in the end this will continue debate about intellectual property, learning communities and commercial enterprises and maybe it will be a great idea after all.

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Image by Wes Fryer(http://www.flickr.com/photos/wfryer/649225040/)
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34 comments:

Bill Ferriter said...

Hey Laura,

First, I'm pretty flattered to have found my way on to your Web 2.0 list! To be thought of as an expert is weird for me. I'm just a guy that enjoys showing other people how to use tech.

And I wasn't at NECC, so I hadn't heard about the great Pearson firestorm---although I did see some Tweets flying around about it.

Definitely an interesting topic, though----how does a commercial enterprise offering professional development in technology join the open-source-ness of the blogosphere as an equal contributor?

Don't be surprised by the conflict---it's definitely not limited to education.

Wikinomics (an interesting read about how digital tools are changing corporate America) talks about IBM's efforts to join the loose knit programming community that is behind the Linux operating system.

The feeling out process was huge for both groups! IBM had to grow comfortable with the idea of giving up intellectual property---a huge shift in thinking for a traditional business.

And the programmers working on Linux had to be convinced that IBM wasn't just joining the project to steal what they were creating out of a sense of passion and collective action.

The transition worked, though. IBM now employs people full time to work on Linux and they've been embraced because of their commitment to the open nature of the project.

Those bumps will have to be mastered by companies offering professional development to educators, too! Those of us who have embraced the idea of learning networks as shared sources for ideas are more than open to sharing our ideas to those who we feel are equal contributors.

Does any of this make sense?

Bill

Laura B. Fogle said...

Bill,

I had heard about your work previously and was inspired by your presentation to MEGA this year. I love that you brought students with you to tell their story.

Your parallel to the IBM and Linux situation is an interesting one. It is a fine line that for-profit companies have to walk. If Pearson can find a way to contribute to the open learning community AND provide a value-added experience to their paying customers it can work.

I sure didn't see this controversy coming, but in hindsight I suppose it was inevitable.

Thanks for your contribution to my learning network, Bill.

Cheryl Oakes said...

Hello Laura,
I hope you had a great birthday with your daughter. Don't miss the birthdays!!! My son is 23 and I did miss his birthday to go to NECC and we celebrated a day ahead. But, he understands.
Your idea about getting a group together is/was incredible. I am honored to be part your your Web 2.0 list. However, in order to understand all that is connected to this requires a gathering and conversations.We are paving the way to the future. We can not be in a vacuum while paving this road/network. There will be speed bumps, pot holes, smooth roads, bends, twists and even deadends. However, if we stand still and do nothing we will not be prepared. Congrats to you for such forward thinking and congrats to Pearson for taking the initiative for the conversation. I learned so much by being part of the conversation, I hope others get to share in that knowledge.
Cheryl

Laura B. Fogle said...

Cheryl,

I did thoroughly enjoy my daughter's birthday celebration - 10 years old!

Thank YOU for paving the way for all of us with your blog and the Women of the Web broadcasts. Your contributions to the learning community help me keep moving forward. I think teaching can be such an isolating profession and I definitely need dialogue with other educators to understand issues with so many perspectives.

Thanks also for being part of the conversation at NECC I can't wait to hear the conversation.

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