Articles Tagged with Web 2.0

textFail.jpgDanah Boyd – one of the most incisive thinkers about how new technology is reshaping our lives (and more importantly to readers of this blog the lives of teenagers) – was recently hired by Microsoft Research. She gave a talk that summarized at a high level the history of social media, how teens and adults use it differently, and policy and behavioral implications for all of us to consider.

Social Media Is Here to Stay – Now What?

Its brilliant. Go read it. It will only take about 15 minutes and you will learn something – I guarantee it.

976838_palayAn instructional monoculture is a world where all children are expected to learn the same things, the same way, at the same time.

Are we building instructional monocultures in our schools? By we I mean publishers, policy makers, and district level decision makers. The forces of conformity are driving hard against the need for instructional diversity.

More importantly in the Web 2.0 world is it even possible to assert this level of control? Is it an effort doomed to failure as Citizen Marketers invade traditional publishing and turn it on it’s ear.

897541_we_are_lostCurious about how Web 2.0 is going to affect education? Steve Hargadon has distilled into one blog post an excellent summary of the trends that are leading us there and what teachers can do to help their students thrive in this new environment.

Much of what Steve talks about has been part of a vision for education long before computers were going into schools. There is a clear link from Dewey, Piaget, Vigotsky, and even the constructivist critic Mayer to the ideas Hargadon lays out.

Both the technology and the culture that surrounds it have matured to the point where this vision can transform into the dominant paradigm. Quantitative and anecdotal evidence backs this assertion up.

BS-DetectorMarketing departments have tried to control brand identity with years of research and oceans of ink (and pixels). But the concept that a company can control its brand is a myth and it always has been. At best a company can contribute to its brand identity, but in reality that identity is created by the market. That identity includes not just the nice polished stories pumped out by Marketing, but all the crappy and in between stuff that happens when product meets customer.

This topic was brought home in a lively discussion at the Austin Social Media Club breakfast this morning. Bryan Person led a conversation about how to lead people to Web 2.0 who are outside of the technology bubble. One theme that surfaced was marketers’ reluctance to give up controlling the message. That “control” is a total conceit on their part.

With Web 2.0 customers can talk to each other about the things they always talked about, but now Marketers can see it. This is hugely disorienting for a tribe that thought they “controlled” and “managed” their brand identity. But all of us as consumers are gravitating to this new way of interacting with each other. For companies that can adapt it will result in much more authentic conversations with their customers. We need more focus on contribution and less on control.

Students at Westlake High School in Austin TX are in their second year of creating a virtual Vietnam Memorial to those who died in the war. Carolyn Foote, the Librarian at Westlake, has written movingly about it on her blog.

Students are assigned a soldier, conduct research, assemble a presentation, and then post it all on the web. This has spurred the interest of veterans one of whom said:

“Your school is about to do something that none of us thought would ever happen. Our beloved leader will be known to many in a time that others have been forgotten. You truly are paying a tribute to one of the finest men that ever lived.”

What do Web 2.0 and Social Networking mean for Education Publishing? On February 7th I was on a panel at the Association of American Publishers (AAP) in Sacramento that tackled this question.

Ann Flynn Director of Education Technology at National School Boards Association (NSBA) reviewed the excellent study they released last fall that explored how these tools are being used in schools.

Sheryl Abshire CTO from Calcasieu Parish School System in Lake Charles, Louisiana talked about they are handling the very real complications that come with introducing these disruptive technologies into schools and classrooms.


Hype alert – Web 2.0 Marketing is a paradigm shift but only a portion of the market is using it today. In Part 1 I argued that market trends should be pushing you to use social networking, blogs, wikis, and the other tools of Web 2.0 in your marketing mix. Given the uneven adoption of these tools in your customer base you will be managing a mix of the old and new for quite some time. So think of it as expanding your paradigm.

Before we go on I want to add to what I said in Part 1. There is one additional reason for doing all this that is specific to the education market. Most teachers are isolated in their classrooms – they yearn to have their voice heard and to be part of a larger community. The asynchronous nature of most social media are ideal for meeting this need. It is one of the reasons there are so many education groups already on Ning.

So what does this “paradigm expansion kit” look like? Here are five ways of thinking like a Web 2.0 Marketer that you can add to your toolkit.


Education marketers have been slow to adopt wikis, blogs, social networks, and virtual worlds. There are valid reasons for this (see below), but it is time for us as an industry to begin embracing these tools. In this series I’m going to explore the industry context, the gestalt, and some concrete ideas to help you get started down this path.

Over the past year I have been asking people “what is the first thing you do in Amazon after you make sure you have the product you were seeking?” The almost universal answer is that people scroll down to look at the user generated comments. This is the power of Web 2.0 at work – what your peers have to say on a subject is far more important than anything a company might say.

There are two primary reasons the education industry should be employing Web 2.0 tools:

Students and Educators might as well live on different planets when it comes to social media, blogs, and other Web 2.0 technologies. The educators are making fear based decisions because the new technologies are unfamiliar to them. The students are too busy figuring out how it all works to bother paying attention to the restrictions the educators are putting in place. Fear and hope in sharp contrast.

AEP-Logo.gifThis disconnect was starkly drawn at the Association of Educational Publishers (AEP) annual summit in DC last week. A meeting ran long and I arrived at the sessions a few minutes late. I intended to lurk in the doorway of a couple of different presentations to see where I wanted to spend the next hour. What I observed sent my head spinning.

access_control_keyboard_version_1.jpgIn one room a panel of distinguished educators was discussing the challenges of bringing in new technologies. Their discussion centered on what the lawyers would let them do and the endless committee structures they had set up to screen what was permissible with blogs and other social media. Short answer – not much.