I am a big fan of David Weinberger’s work. His thinking about the internet, knowledge, and the power of connections has defined much of what I do and know about teaching for the twenty – first century.
That is part of the reason why I am so happy to write this blog post.
In 2002 Weinberger wrote a piece entitled What the Web is For, a kids version of the adult book Small Pieces Loosely Joined. I’ve used it in my classroom multiple times over the years and have always found it a great launching pad to get students to think deeper about the web and what it means. But, as with all things, it is a piece which has begun to show its age. Being 10 years old, there was little in the original document about any of the pieces we recognize as the web today.
It was time for an update.
So for the past month or so, the students of the Idea Hive have been rewriting the original. Students grouped themselves into sets of four (two students from Snow Lake and two from Wingham) and worked on an entire series of google docs, section by section, rewriting and updating this essay. In the end, several students from each classroom were called upon to provide the final editing and revising of the entire document. The fact that the original was licensed under Creative Commons made it possible for us to undertake this project.
I’ve been in contact with Dr. Weinberger about this project and he is pleased that someone took it on. The students in our classrooms were also very excited to receive an email from Dr. Weinberger at the end of the process which began “to my 7th and 8th grade co – authors.” Yeah….. how’d you like to be in grade 7 or 8 and receive an email like that from an authentic Harvard – based researcher? Cool stuff.
So without further thought, here is an updated version of What the Web is For for 2012.
Doc version here (12 MB)
PDF here (17 MB.)
Please feel free to use these documents in your classroom or edit them up and make your own versions of them. I hope you get some use from this project. It is one that we really enjoyed doing.
Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/josefstuefer/9500503/sizes/l/in/photostream/