Rethinking Learning
conversations about the future of teaching and learning
Barbara Bray
be creative, innovate, take risks, unlearn to learn

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The Web as Acts of Kindness

By Barbara Bray      September 21, 2009 -- 08:28 AM
Jonathan Zittrain suggests the Internet is made up of millions of disinterested acts of kindness, curiosity and trust.

People like to solve problems. Wikipedia is just 45 minutes away from destruction. The readers care about it to create a counter-vandalism unit. I am finding this same thing happen with My eCoach. People are checking links, submitting websites and images, and coming up with new ideas all the time for My eCoach because they care about the community. They are also supporting each other on their teams.

We started My eCoach with the idea we would help eCoaches support their communities. A little different than wikis and blogs. What I am seeing is that more members are contributing, learning from each other, and wanting to support what others are doing. Zittrain's speech gives us hope for the Internet but how can we use this to stop cyberbullying, stalking, and concerns about predatory acts. Rekindling acts of kindness where each of us fight for each other and stop viral acts that harm anyone. Right now, we created My eCoach with the idea of an eCoach supporting, protecting, and facilitating the work of their members; pointing to other members' work and connecting people with similar interests.

The power of many of the social networking tools is how they connect people. The viral manner of the Internet is that if something harmful is posted about you on the Internet, your friends and colleagues will be there to support you. This means that there has to be a feeling of trust that you won't be similarly attacked. I found that to build trust on Facebook or Twitter is not that easy. You probably have people following you that you don't know. You can block them, but if you have alot of people, how do you know what the connections are, what they are saying, unless it comes back to you?

We also are identified by the people we are associated with. If you are part of a larger community and some of the people (you don't know) have completely different interests (be they political or religious), will you be branded one way or another? Are you a lurker and uncomfortable about standing up for your rights? Will you defend someone else and use your name or post anonymously?
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Comments: 1   Last Comment By small Cheryl Vitali  September 21, 2009 -- 06:17 PM