Tuesday, April 28, 2009

You Mean I Don't Have a Fan Base in Antarctica?

One of the most beautiful things about the Internet is its ability to produce chaos.

At least from a theoretical point-of-view. And you should know that. Because in a paperless classroom, you will have students whose intent is to produce chaos. And that's something to tap into.

I'm talking about something simple here: the ability to be anonymous. Using Web 2.0, students can easily create multiple accounts or claim to be 75 years old or claim to live in Antarctica.

One of my Freshman recently pulled the latter on his Pixton profile. And so now I have a fan who 'lives' at the South Pole. Things could be worse.

Some folks are scared to death of this type of ironic anonymity. But as a child of post-Modernism, I have no such problems. In fact, I have a great fondness for this sort of thing.

The trick is to turn this feature of the Internet into something that can produce educational value. So, why not have Shakespeare start a Facebook page? Dickens and Poe can debate the finer parts of what makes a good short story in an IM chat. Ansel Adams can photograph the landscape of your middle school ballfields and post the pics up on Picasa along with an accompanying essay by Rachel Carson.

The anonymous aspects of the Web can lend themselves to theatrics that can produce some wicked results. So, don't fear the chaos. Tap into it. Use it to draw learning out of all of those multiple intelligences.

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