KnowledgeWorks Interactive Map of Future Forces Affecting Education. Copyright in original Map of the Decade is owned by Institute for the Future and KnowledgeWorks Foundation.
We’ll devote most of today’s session to exploring and subscribing to blogs and podcasts and we’ll use popular RSS (Really Simple Syndication) aggregators like iTunes and personalized portals like netvibes to help us collect, sort and manage our web-based information. Oh, and we’ll take a look at some short videos and interactive web sites that help contextualize Web 2.0 for educators.
I share the enthusiasm surrounding the advent of Web 2.0 (as Felice correctly pointed out Web 2.0 has many positive aspects), nonetheless I have to share Felice’s concern about the increasing possibility of plagiarism and academic dishonesty. Like Felice, I was struck by Wesch’s statement that Web 2.0 entails a rethinking of copyright, authorship and ethics. Therefore, I am not sure I agree with Renato’s provocation about Internet being free…even from authorship. While I was reading his comment, I thought that making knowledge more accessible (in my opinion, the most important of Internet’s characteristics) certainly entails a great deal of sharing, but I believe that authorship cannot and should not be toyed with. I personally love “the free-source programs that are trying to break Mr. Gates monopoly” (to quote Renato), and in general I believe that Internet has made our lives much easier over the last years. We can buy books, films and music, make reservations at restaurants or movie theaters, buy flights or food, pay our bills etc. (the list could go on forever…) All this thanks to Internet! Nonetheless, at the end of the day the websites we use are making money, and who created the software they are using is making money as well (or getting credit for it). Even if we do not see the author (as we can see him/her on a book’s cover), the author is the “invisible” person who created or developed the program. There is a problem, I have to admit, with the music and the film industry for instance. It’s very easy to download or copy films or songs for free and the film and music businesses have suffered great economic losses because of internet. Nonetheless, even in this case, I believe we simply are on the verge of a great change in the way in which people have access to media in general (consider, for instance, Steven Soderbergh’s Bubble that didn’t open in theaters but directly on the web). As a consequence, there must be a revision of the way in which profits are made and divided. Just like Felice, I am not advocating any sort of electronic obscurantism but I am very confident that the Web 2.0 world will create a system that allows the expansion of copyright and authorship while protecting them.
See you in class….
Martina responding to Felice, Fulvio, and Renato
Dear Fulvio, dear Felice, dear Renato,
In my opinion our discussions in class as well as your comments rise -from different perspectives- very interesting and essential questions concerning plagiarism, authenticity, and copyright. This also leads to an even more challenging aspect of the use of the internet (as all media): what about misuse? It is so easy to create fascinating websites and convincing blogs/statistics/pictures/inter-active expereriences/hyperlinks. The fast new media simply pops up (and luckily: no censorship). Nevertheless, opinions, polls, decisions are based on our information. The uncritical use of the internet, web 2.0 and other sources could, in a worst case scenario, lead to dangerous virtual realities. Other than a book or a newspaper article, web information seems to be so authentic, modern, and realistic. From this perspective, I think it is important to point out the critical use and misuse of these sources. As I mentioned before so many students uncritically use these sources (so I am definitely looking forward to our wikipedia session :O)) Academics and teachers who are important factors for the development of opinions for (future) generations. Only then, we can (ideally) support a critical, fair, and democratic exchange and prevent (or at least support) the awareness of the misuse of social networking, such as plagiarism or the ignorance of copyright issues.
Renato responding to Felice
I agree with you and your concerns about plagiarism and academic honesty. I believe that Internet was born free and should remain free… even from authorship!! I know it sounds a little bit too much (so take it as a provocation!!).
The main role of the net should be to share everything (think about the power of Microsoft and the necessity of free-source programs that are trying to break Mr. Gates monopoly), even intellectual works. If these academic works stay on the Internet, the users (of a specific academic subject and especially the so called expert) will make it public and discredit the culprit.
I am really scared of any authority that will take charge to “censor” the writers and anyones who wants to share his/her work (AKA the real creators of the Internet). Stepping out for a moment from the academic world I remember that in the sixties the Arpanet was taken away from its original military environment, and made it a great instrument for all of us. We have already so few mass media that are reliable: do you believe everything they say on TV? I think Chomksy in his “Manufacturing Consent” got it right. The problem is that you cannot reply and let your voice be heard on TV. At least on the Internet you can have your own web page and if what you think is valuable, people will give you credit.
See you in class….
Of the readings and pieces covered last week, I was most struck by Wesch‘s statement that Web 2.0 entails a rethinking of, among other things, copyright, authorship and ethics. I fully comprehend the enthusiasm surrounding the advent of Web 2.0 and its many positive aspects e.g. a more immediate feedback and strong positive criticism from peers. I also believe that Web 2.0 may be particularly beneficial in our field, as stated in the Horizon Report, for instance by expanding the impact and life span of conferences and workshops. As far as foreign language teaching is concerned, I can clearly see the potential of virtual worlds that will be able to place students into in real life situations in which they may effectively use the Four Skills – reading, writing, listening and speaking (although this “virtuality” has latent and somewhat troubling disadvantages: the utter lack of physical contact and, on a darker note, if successful, the calling into question of the very need to have foreign language departments at all).
I am concerned, however, with the extent to which the three points mentioned above must be reconsidered. Nor am I completely satisfied with the analyses offered by the Horizon Report, which is basically a generic appeal to intellectual integrity. I would like to make clear that my reservations do not derive at all from any form of intellectual snobbism: I cannot accept that only academicians have the cornerstone on knowledge in any field, especially in the Humanities, and a PhD or a lengthy publishing history is no guarantee of intellectual propriety. In an ideal world, texts could be re-elaborated and the notions of copyright and authorship extended almost ad infinitum. Alas, our world is far from ideal and, in my opinion, an indication of the potential for misuse is the number of the plagiarism programs on the market today. Wesch posits, quite correctly, that XML undermines copyright and authorship but the general fervor for Web 2.0 has as its premise that there will be no abuse of the system and a profound sense of pessimism prevents me from agreeing unreservedly with this premise. I am not professing a sort of electronic obscurantism: my hope is that the Web 2.0 community will endeavor to create a system that allows for the [ethical] expansion of copyright and authorship. Until that day, my doubts remain…