In a nutshell, they are all discussing corporate and academic learning using Web 2.0, which is (oversimplified, I know) fundamentally what Learning 2.0 is all about. While we can debate the hows and whys of this, I am more immediately interested in the wheres right now. Where is all this happening? I struggle to get my graduate and undergraduate students to use Twitter, a wiki, del.icio.us, and a host of other technologies, and while some do adopt them, most are not interested in anything other than what they are already using (which, once again in a Nutshell, means YouTube, and to a lesser extent, Facebook). In my corporate work, the issue is similar–many people struggle even using internal podcasts, much less blogs or anything Ajax-based. It would seem short-sited to only use what students already use (somewhat like teaching them only what they are already comfortable doing, which would even more limit education, but I digress).
Where are these teaming populations busting at the seems to use corporate and educational Web 2.0 elements in learning? I live and work and consult primarily in Manhattan, and this is where most of my learners are as well.
I am wondering if the questions we are considering are perhaps too limited. Perhaps we should be asking “where?” these learners are, as I am wondering if these social and networking and learning and sharing technologies out there are not more proliferate in less demographically busy areas, such as New York? Can it be that Web 2.0 is more popular where people are not so concentrated, due to necessity? Thinking pragmatically, why should I take an eLearning class when we have enough people and expertise for face to face instruction? Why should I post to a discussion board when we can discuss it face to face in class (which is how most NYC academic institutions seem to prefer to operate)? Do I really need to post my pictures when I see all of you and can send you a link? Doesn’t RSS work better when I don’t readily have access to what I need?
Thinking about this in another way, how many people do I follow and speak with on Twitter who live near Manhattan? How about the bloggers I follow (as I heavily use RSS to process the information overload I face), are they also here? With exceptions to be counted on less than one hand, the answer is no.
Yes, I am intentionally taking a contrarian position here, and those who know and work with me know I have a passion for integrating technology so thoroughly into learning that they are no longer seen as parts of a whole, but just “learning.” Instead, I am hoping to move this discussion forward by considering another element I think we need to more actively consider.