After today’s seminar with my colleagues a lot of ideas were rushing around my head -as they always are after these stimulating discussions- about “what is,” “what was,” and “what may be” for teaching, learning and technologies at UMW. This morning we were dealing with the specifics of managing and updating our webspace on the university site. It was apparent that we need to start re-organizing, re-classifying, and revitalizing our online information. Interestingly enough, many of us in DTLT seldom, if ever, visit these pages for information -these pages are more akin to an advertisement of what we do for the larger public.
What began to get kicked around is how we can go about opening up this space as a “way-in” to a more experimental, tour-like space for DTLT online which allows us to design and showcase the numerous projects we are working on by example. I have the exciting task of beginning to frame what this space may look like -and if you read my Blogs: the look of the future? post -you’ll have an idea of where we just might go!
Additionally,convergence and synergy is already beginning to build momentum – and my friend Zach, a webdesign guru and friend of the open-source cause, has sent a link for Symfony my way that may just start making sense out of this thing they call PHP 5. To quote Zach, “its like ‘Ruby on Rails’ for PHP,” (see basecamp.org for a phenomenal example of ROR in action). I understand all of this as a quick and easy way to design an enterprise-level web application framework with PHP. What might something like this mean for our experiment here at DTLT? Alternatives and possibilities of course … just what we need!
Ah, more input. A strength activated!
I’m mightily intrigued by the notion of a “tour” or “expedition” site, linked to (but not one) the University pages, that uses the metaphor of a journey or a sightseeing trip to get folks deeper into our mission, activities, and work. All sorts of possibilities here. And with the synergy and convergence these conversations awaken, can augmentation be far behind?
I’ll have to poke about in Symphony. This all reminds me of something Jay Bolter wondered about in the first edition of Writing Space (and maybe the second, I couldn’t find the reference and am working from memory): that being literate will mean being able to use the tools of electronic writing. Symphony, and in a similar way CPanel and Fantastico, looks to me like literacy tools. They don’t quite make the production of these new texts (wikis, blogs, etc.) possible, but they sure make them easier and more accessible. The development environments look to me like many layers of tools to make the electronic writing space open, accessible, and manipulable (is that a word? if you know what I mean, it is now).
And just as with written and spoken words, the higher the level of literacy (zu-handedness with the tools), the greater the sophistication of manipulation. I hope to see a constant use of such tools, discovery of barriers — those moments in which human imagination gets some good momentum to push against what the tools are offering — and a rearrangement of the tools based on that pushing. Non-electicity-eating technology has done that for millenia.