Years ago, I bought futurist John Seely Brown‘s 2000 book The Social Life of Information. He’s the former head of Xerox PARC. I really couldn’t get into the book (it’s a difficult read). But I had the pleasure of hearing John present at a national SHEEO conference. He made the story live! And he made so much sense. He basically presaged the Web 2.0 phenomenon, noting how much more directly people would interact with each other through the Internet.
In 2006, I suggested we invite John to speak at an Ohio Learning Network conference of education technologists. I had the pleasure of introducing him. (It’s interesting to look back at the video of my introduction on the OLN website. My 6 1/2 minute introduction includes some of my fundamental conclusions of what we must do to improve elementary, secondary, and higher education education in America.)
In introducing John, I boasted how I had really learned something from hearing his address at SHEEO and, as a result, had moved to get with the new technologies: I had taken an online course using the multi-participant conferencing facilities of Elluminate, bought an iPod, signed up for instant messaging, and had a webcam. In response, at the start of his talk John quickly burst my bubble and challenged me further: “Do you have a blog? Ah, we have to work on this guy!” (John Seely Brown’s thought-provoking talk and slides are, sadly, no longer available on OLN’s website.)
Having lived such a public life for the past 25 years, I’ve been especially focused on maintaining what personal privacy I could. The notion of making my thoughts available to people I don’t know has been completely abhorrent to me. However, as I’ve been thinking about writing a book with such thoughts, the notion has become more reasonable. Tackling a big project such as writing a book is somewhat more conceivable if I address it a little piece at a time.
So here I am, almost 3 years later, finally blogging. Thanks to K.S., Mom, and John Seely Brown for getting me going! This blog has already gone in directions far removed from my book thoughts. But it’s nice to get down in writing some of the thoughts I’ve had for a long time, even as they randomly pop to mind.