Between the Chapters: The Web

The “25 Years of EdTech” series Martin Weller brilliantly dreamed up as a blog project and transformed into a book is perhaps one of the most textbook examples of how your throw away blog posts can become a “cottage industry/” These are the kind of generative blog series I have dreams about, but they take time and intelligence—so it is left to my betters. I have to think “the 25 years of…” status as meme is not far off 🙂

What’s been even cooler to witness, though, is how folks in the edtech community have rallied around Martin and offered to record a reading of a chapter to create a crowdsourced audio version of the book. And if that wasn’t awesome enough, Clint Lalonde and Laura Pasquini joined forces to produce a podcast wherein they talk with random edtech folks, like me, about a specific chapter. Laura wrote more in-depth about the genesis of the project, which is an excellent model for engaging and connecting with the broader community. I got lucky ’cause Laura asked me to chat with her about the web (I mean I could’ve been stuck with Bulletin Board Systems! :), which towers over all the other technologies in the book—it’s the one! That said, I’m not sure I could do it justice, but thankfully the way these interstitial extras are designed I didn’t have to. It was a fun, free-ranging conversation that referenced Martin’s chapter yet found us exploring everything from MySpace to AOL CD-ROMs to the Sopranos.

The takeaway for me from this chat was there’s a generation of folks that truly came up with the web. We were in high school or college as it was breaking big in the early to mid 90s and whether we realized it or not, that would be the single most important technology for shaping our personal and professional lives (an arguably still is more than ever). The web was truly “the mythical mudskipper crawling from the sea to the land: a symbolic evolutionary moment” for our culture at large, but also on a deeply personal level. And the cool thing about Between the Chapters is it can allows those personal anecdotes to co-exist alongside a historical narrative—almost like Walter Scott’s novels. Thanks Laura, Clint, and Martin for the opportunity to once again indulge in the nostalgia I am doing a fine job of building the golden age of my career around.

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One Response to Between the Chapters: The Web

  1. It was a sincere delight to chat with you about where we were and what was going on… I think there was little thought of the impact the Web would have on how we teach and learn. And, I’m fascinated with how far we have come — yet are still trying to figure out what digital learning & interaction should be like online. Thanks for the chat and catch up to look back and reflect, Jim.

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