Tag Archives: twitter

Web 2.0 Attention Deficit Disorder Epidemic Strikes Educators!


It’s getting to be all too much!

Follow more than 40 educationalists on Twitter and the sheer volume of tweets about new Web 2.0 apps you have to try, decry and maybe buy is overwhelming. The thousands of onomatopoeic and/or cutely-named little tools jostling for market share means that we can do no more than scratch the surface of each before charging off to the next seductive offering, quickly forgetting all about the one we just left behind.

We’re suffering from a collective Web 2.0 Attention Deficit Disorder, and there’s no Ritalin in sight …

We once called these apps and gadgets ‘disruptive technologies’ – a term soundly roasted by John C. Dvorak in PCMag.com and revisited in Allison Kipta’s blog.  Dvorak defines a disruptive technology as

“a low-performance, less expensive technology that enters a heated-up scene where the established technology is outpacing people’s ability to adapt to it. The new technology gains a foothold, continues to improve, and then bumps the older, once-better technology into oblivion. Sounds good. The problem is that there is not one example of this ever happening. When boiled down, the notion is essentially a rewrite of the adage Adam Osborne devised to explain the mediocrity of the Osborne 1: ‘Adequacy is sufficient.'”

Dvorak goes on to say:

“There is no such thing as a disruptive technology. There are inventions and new ideas, many of which fail while others succeed. That’s it.”

The thing is, there are so many so-called ‘disruptive technologies’ around now that we can’t apply the label to individual tools anymore. Regardless of Dvorak’s dislike of the term, it may still have a place, but in a more generic sense. Perhaps Web 2.0 itself is now the dominant disruptive technology, not its constituent parts. All our favourite shiny tools have become merely transitional technologies.

So our main challenge may be to start using a bit of intellectual rigour when evaluating what’s out there – and perhaps to become agents of evolution. We can ensure the survival of the fittest by actually using ‘good’ stuff and junking ‘bad’ stuff, instead of just being drawn to ‘cool’ stuff.

Osborne’s adage might describe some of the offerings I’ve seen lately, but for me, Sturgeon’s Law – “Ninety percent of everything is crap” is usually more relevant in trying to find an overarching strategy to deal with the flood.  🙂

I would be most interested in comments about how you deal with the deluge!


Microblogging with Twitter

At first I thought the whole microblogging thing was a weirdly fragmented perversion of real communication – I mean, come on people! Meaningful posts in 140 characters? And yet in the grand new Web 2.0 tradition of abbreviated literary forms (such as the cell-phone novel in 7000 characters) we have a new contender in the form of Twitter. (http://twitter.com) Is it microblogging? Is it non-synchronous chat? A literary art form? I don’t really know, but I know it works!

Haiku without the rules.

And you know, despite my initial skepticism, it’s addictive. Even as a newbie Twitterer, I am finding that following the right people reveals a rich vein of ideas in which to fossick, a more focused source of links than del.icio.us, an opportunity to build networks, expand horizons and engage in reflective practice which is NOT limited to educational technologies.

Not bad for posts limited to 140 characters …

I just set up a wiki to act as a dynamic, user-updatable FAQ for staff using WebCT at our uni (http://webctatvu.pbwiki.com) – and because I happened to mention it on Twitter, the very first person to contribute a writer post was not one of our home-grown early adopters, but someone from London! Thanks Twitter!

I’ts a great tool – and I suspect its little beak and claws will soon reach everywhere …