Talking about a Shift & Putting Up Barriers

Yesterday I spent four hours with 70 Arizona librarians at a workshop sponsored by the Maricopa County Library System. We talked Web 2.0, trends guiding technologies and the shift toward a collaborative and social networked society. It’s apropo that while catching up on my edubloggers, I discover this quote posted by Will Richardson from the new book Wikinomics:

These changes, among others, are ushering us toward a world where knowledge, power, and productive capability will be more dispersed than at any time in our history—a world where value creation will be fast, fluid, and persistently disruptive. A world where only the connected will survive. A power shift is underway, and a tough new business rule is emerging: Harness the new collaboration or perish. Those who fail to grasp this will find themselves ever more isolated—cut off from the networks that are sharing, adapting, and updating knowledge to create value.

And reading further, while reflecting on some of the stories the librarians told about being blocked from innovating by their governing bodies, boards and wary adminsitration, I discover this email sent to Will as well:

A few weeks ago, my school began to block Wikipedia. When I asked why, I was told that a student searched how to make pipe bombs. When I asked what they did to him, I was told nothing because they don’t know who did it. …. When I mentioned that the majority of students use it properly I was told by the school librarian that the information in Wikipedia was not accurate. I shared the article you pointed out during the workshop and she said it meant nothing because she actually found an author misspelled on the site. Today I was told by a superior that she read an article about how bad Wikipedia is. HELP ME FIGHT THEM. I am really getting frustrated. Today a teacher proposed a wonderful class that would allow movie making a student website building. Again my superior said, no because she does not want their content tied to our school site.

Did you catch that? “…she actually found an author misspelled on the site.”

Read Will’s post and the comments for sure. When questioned like this, it might be good to have some articles and other evidence on hand to demonstrate the true nature of the validity of wikipedia. The comments section at Will’s blog includes some useful pointers.

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