The Web: concept, platform, culture(s)

See the course page!

My blog on gamers communities

Lightning talks from 4 web masters

Campbell: You must understand the web NOW! We need to understand memory and other concepts or the others will do it for us in a constrained way. If you understand how web works you can carve out destiny for yourself. We need to keep our eyes on the good, not the current situation. Understanding how to run a server can empower you. Server is always connected to the internet. It is owned and operated by users. There needs to be chance for students to operate their own domain. Thinking of web as a toaster limits future generation’s imagination. You can choose how history remembers you!

Hillinger: We need to teach the web. Technical skill levels should not be a definer of who is taught. Web literacy is about citizenship and participation. Everything can be transparent and everything can be remixed. Mechanics of education can allow this remix. Web is a manifestation of human knowledge and experience. It is a place to innovate together and solve global problems. People need to be shown how to communicate online.

Rheingold: We must learn and teach crap detection. Web was not created by government or corporation. It was made by scientist to connect websites and data. Nowadays some like Facebook and Apple try to go back to have few people who determine what is communication. Students need to have skill for determining validity of information and that way have more control of their life and decisions.

Jaxon: Curator maintains, oversees, and selects artifacts to share to make meaning to students. We have to be curators of the web. We can be scouts (new things to find), healers (eg. GamerGate), fighters, teachers, hackers. All has to be soaked in kindness. We need to find ways to be kind online. Sometimes you need a curator to give attention to things or people. Curators have the responsibility to give voice to others. Getting responses to ones products makes students come out of their shells.

“Non-technical people” – Bringing them to the web culture: We need to get their interest. We are crafting identities when we ask them to participate. Getting over the small hurdles they gain confidence and feel empowered. Some commercial platforms are not starting points but ending points. They might not allow for people to take next steps and advance in their web learning. Mistakes are allowed and it is okay to fail. That is where empowerment comes from. We need to fail in front of students and model how to handle that. (“If you are not falling off, you are not really on the edge” -Rheingold.) Room to play is important. Despite the huge aspect of connectivity, sometimes you need a spot for private thoughts and brewing ideas. We need to think about this especially with young students.

Previously monopoly on learning was held by schools. Web allows for self-motivated learners can engage in the social activity of learning.


What are web literacies?

What is the web? Web is like a big Lego set with standard blocks, but you can build anything. You can see how it is constructed. “X-ray goggles” application allows you to see how web pages are built. It speeds up innovation when we build on others work. Hyperlink is the originator of web. Social component is important for all web literacy skills. Web is the cities/communities, internet is the highways between. Web allows you to put things on internet and links are important. It is part of the architecture of the web. Apps are kind of closed islands opposite to open web.

Web allows connections and formation of communities beyond geography. Belonging to the communities online is a threshold concept. When you click a link you ask for a permission to get a thing or you can tell it to put your things somewhere. Control over communication is granted to many. Individual responsibility in communication in communities is an important threshold concept. When you put things on network you actually increase the networks power. It can be used to amplify your messages. Peer learning is a threshold concept of the internet.

If we say kids need to learn to code and learn literacy before getting access to content, are we turning it into a test? If we want a lot of people to be web literate, we need to use experiential learning. It has to be done every day. The literacies need to be learned around one’s own interests. Informal learning systems and peer-to-peer learning takes our learning forward in the web community.

Web literacy skills teaching can improve the webs quality. We inform others of good sources. When individuals make decisions on quality, they add up to public good. It helps to rise the good stuff to the top. This is kind of social justice. We need to really work on being kind curators to make the commenting and connecting meaningful. We need to teach people to use their judgments.

There are different rhythms on the web (twitter vs. blogs). There are different speeds of participation. In Twitter for example complicated conversations can get too big and need to be moved to other mediums like blogs.

Thinking like the web

Web lacks physical analogies for connecting to world like the real world does.

Community formation via hash tags can function as user invented way to bring specific people together. We can change the tools as users by contribution, innovation and use. Lead users in the past were confined in sub cultures and areas. Now the possibilities are wider. The internet is not the keyboard, the screen or the laptop. When people are embedded into the innovation tools of internet they get it. Not everyone needs to code, but all need to connect the tools and create tools. Writing on the web should mean that you are colonizing a space for yourself on the web. Coding for infrastructure cannot be sharply distinguished from writing for meaning.

Single ant is not intellectual being. But anthill is a functioning “creature” as ants leave chemical signals to build collective intellect. As communities online we can create a collectible intellect. Not everyone needs to work the technology. Even in writing we don’t think about the grammar technicalities.

  • Audiences: few producers make content for unresponsive groups.
  • Public: there is interaction between producer and the readers.

Web as a language is much different social construction compared to language alone. One needs to know how to use web to teach, learn etc. effectively. Your curation can filter up good stuff and draw people with same interests to yourself. Large companies do things like products on line for us. The risk is that we are forced to use these tools to communicate. We need web literacy to function the way you want independent of these ready-made programs. It is important for innovation to keep space for alternative products and uses apart from corporate made systems.


Discussion: piazza as tool for student questions. Maybe create a website to collect all tools you want students to use.


Leave a Reply