The Infinite Typing Monkeys

During the past several weeks, several events have transpired, leading to this strange blog post.

  1. I've been exploring various social networks, trying to determine if any educational value can be found within.
  2. I've nearly finished reading Andrew Keen's The Cult of the Amateur.
  3. School has started up again in my District, leaving teachers and students in a mad scramble to find the time to accomplish all that must be done.
That said, as I initially sat down to write about my feelings, I found the linear nature of written text to be far too cumbersome to truly express the inter-connectedness of what I had hoped to say. As a result, I've decided that a more effective way to present my thoughts might be in using the classic graphic organizer. What you see below is the result.

The EduBlogger March of the Penguins

It will be helpful for you to understand that I began my "rapid-fire" of thoughts while concentrating on the chilling words with which Keen has chosen to open his new book (emphasis my own):
I've spent the last two years observing the Web 2.0 revolution, and I'm dismayed by what I've seen.

I've seen the infinite monkeys, of course, typing away. And I've seen many other strange sights as well, including a video of marching penguins selling a lie, a supposedly infinite Long Tail, and dogs chatting to each other online...

I call it the great seduction. The Web 2.0 revolution has peddled the promise of bringing more truth to more people—more depth of information, more global perspective, more unbiased opinion from dispassionate observers. But this is all a smokescreen. What the Web 2.0 revolution is really delivering is superficial observations of the world around us rather than deep analysis, shrill opinion rather than considered judgment. The information business is being transformed by the Internet into the sheer noise of a hundred million bloggers all simultaneously talking about themselves.

I have strongly mixed thoughts about Keen's message.

On one hand, while harsh in his judgment, I find Keen's words to be hauntingly truthful. I worry that we have become a society obsessed with being heard - hoping to find some semblance of audience - often not taking the time ourselves to listen to others. I seriously question:

  • Do we listen to our students?
  • Do we listen to our readers?
  • Do we even listen to ourselves?
On the other hand (and in contrast), aren't there justifiable times when teachers should post to their blogs without listening to others ahead of time? I personally think that if you're using your blog as a tool for reflecting on your classroom practices, then additional reading may not be needed (the lack of which should at least not prohibit you from writing).

Either way and when all is said and done, I'm happy to be counted among the infinite typing monkeys and hope that teachers all around the world will continue to join in on the madness.

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