I found this post from the Blogspotting blog, and just had to write about it. In it, Stephen Baker tells how he overheard a group of boys in his local pizzeria discussing how MySpace makes money, and why YouTube sold itself to Google for $1.65 billion. He reflects that the boys are “orders of magnitude more tuned into business” than he was at that age, and that to them, “business is a much more vibrant and relevant subject. They know that a start-up is just an idea away.” So how does this relate to the wiki as tool, the notion of social software and collaboration, and education, you might ask?
It doesn’t just relate in some casual way - no, it matters more than perhaps anything else because the mindset of this generation and tools available to it are combining to limitless potential. While most major news stories concentrate on the perceived pitfalls of technology - the dangers of online chat rooms, the dangers of games, the “overuse” of Wikipedia, and so forth - people in my generation and younger are showing incredible savvy - by understanding Wikipedia better than their parents and teachers, restricting their MySpace and Facebook profiles to just their friends and people they approve, and starting great new companies and tools based on the power of their ideas.
It’s more important than ever that we value the promise of technology, seriously understand how popular tools work, and willingly evolve education to take advantage of students’ comfort with technology.