looking for whitman?


Looking for Whitman

I am back from a short pilgrimage to Fredericksburg (Virginia), where the Reverend Jim Groom received my friend Doribel and myself with a great hospitality. I wrote down some notes (the Syndication Bus, BMWBlogs, WPmu and its little elves-plugins and so on) and we certainly had some good time, discussing about education & technology and whatnot. So, I reflect on something Jim twitted sometime ago (I quote liberally):

I feel like the field of educational technology is made just for me.

and found this thought very intriguing and deep. Indeed, I wish I could say the same -I told him. Mastery of one art, deepening one’s path within it, that’s material for some Zen Master -or for a Tarantino’s Kill Jim II. So, I go back into my notes, read more blogs, and set to write. About the Syndication Bus (an idea I’m borrowing onto STEMmED, the major project I’m working on right now), open architectures and the work Jim and his colleagues at UMW are doing with and without him. And I find he has published a post on all this. Just posted. Hats off, gentlemen!

So, I’ll link to it. And I won’t talk about the new UMWBlogs’s design (a nice hack by Martha Burtis); instead I’ll quote the Looking for Whitman project-webcourse with its nice architecture through which

All the posts from around the Looking for Whitman site are republished in the http://tags.lookingforwhitman.org über blog (created thanks to the Sitewide Tags Pages plugin).

This is the wunderland architecture of the Syndication Bus at its height.  Open, because you can always extract everything from. Web-like, because you may see the webs forming around concepts and dialogues, while RSS-the-glue attaches one with the other. I needed some time to take in the grandeur of this design, simple and innovative. Will it trigger only superficial navigation -surfing without plumbing, or will it allow for more intricate and rich and deep relationships, which may then open up a novel construction of knowledge? It’s not our problem -it’s the Web problem!-, but it’s certainly of our interest. Is the Bus leading us to the learning paradigm theorized by George Siemens, with his idea of learning as navigating nodes of a space and constructing meaning out of the process of making sense of it?

But wait, this is not all. Jim created also the separate blog http://discourse.lookingforwhitman.org with the P2 theme (a Twitter-like interface) in which students are encouraged to star as authors and integrate Twitter conversations into the ecosystem of the Looking for Whitman site via the feed for the #ww20 hashtag on twitter.

I’m very happy also since we convinced Jim to come to San Juan and give our faculty and students a workshop on his architecture and its implications for learning. And this is not the only good news! Digizen professor Mario Núñez from Mayagüez is coming too, so we’ll have the best two blogging superstars for a state-of-the-art workshop in just one week…!

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About Antonio Vantaggiato

Professor, web2.0 enthusiast, and didactic chef.
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