Have you discussed the issues surrounding the current Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike with your students? If not, why not?

This is a great opportunity to discuss:

• new media
• intellectual property
• labor history
• human rights
• the American middle class
• unions
• contracts
• negotiation
• the nature of work
• creativity
• royalties/residuals
• economics
• point of view/perspective

and a host of other issues that will capture the imagination of your students and engage them in matters of critical importance to their future.


Those evil geniuses at Amazon.com recommended I take a look at the Eye-Fi Card, Wireless 2GB SD Memory Card.

Apparently this 2 gigabyte SD memory card not only stores your photos and videos, but can magically send them via Wi-Fi to your personal computer or directly to your favorite photo-sharing site. So, as you take photos, they automatically appear on Fotki, Shutterfly, dotPhoto, webshots, phanfare, Picasa Web albums, flickr, TypePad, Wal-Mart, snapfish, VOX, smugmug, facebook, photobucket, Kodak Gallery, or Sharpcast.

Very cool!

In my new column, I once again question educator’s awestruck devotion to The World Is Flat and paralyzing fear of globalization. Here are a couple of excerpts from the new column.

I continue to meet colleagues who apologize for not having found time to read Thomas Friedman’s book, The World is Flat. They long to read what they’ve been led to believe is the instruction manual for 21st-century living. I await the book’s children’s edition and the Saturday morning cartoon in which a ragtag bunch of American AP students are outsourced to India and are forced to use Microsoft Vista.

I have not moderated my 2005 appraisal that The World Is Flat is chock-full of sloppy facts, simplistic reasoning and dopey rhymes. My greatest concern is that school leaders are much more apt to quote from books written by men who have never run a business than from those written by educational innovators. An administrator’s quest for a quick fix and misplaced faith in the advice of charlatans is much more alarming than Mr. Friedman’s ignorance of technology, education or policy. He just wrote a book. We bought it.

Read the entire column, Lessons You Can’t Learn in a Book.

Discuss it here!


The Writers Guild of America is using YouTube to educate the public about the cause of the recent writer’s strike. These short films are clear, concise, informative and entertaining.

One might imagine them being used as examples of short video production for students (particularly “Why We Fight”). They certainly explain the unintended consequences associated with the Web revolution and highlight contemporary intellectual property issues.

If the video clips below do not play, click on the link below the video to go to YouTube.


Why We Fight


The Office On Strike


Lost and Desperate


How Greedy Can You Get?


Garry Marshall un-Happy Days

Read the United Hollywood blog.

I’ve long been concerned by the educational technology pundits, Web 2.0pians as I like to call them, who herald every new web app as not only an earth-shaking revelation, but the end of school as we know it.

In the social upheaval of the 1960s and 70s, young activists used to say, “Never trust anyone over 30.” It seems that popular middle aged ed tech keynote speakers and bloggers have embraced that slogan as a form of self-loathing. The Digital Natives/Immigrants cliché and other similar nonsense is built on the assumption that Twitter (or whatever replaces it an hour from now), somehow makes you smarter, a better citizen and reduces the chances of male pattern baldness. Such ageism makes me a bit queasy.

But, what the heck do I know? Maybe I’m wrong.

Well, Mark Cuban (Internet billionaire and owner of the Dallas Mavericks) agrees with me in his recent blog, Never Friend Anyone Over 29.

There seems to be some delusion that all technology and applications are new. Invented from a cloudburst with no historical context. That as new, the technology is the province of the young, with anyone over 29 too old to understand and too confused to actually use it.

Thank you Mr. Cuban. You were robbed on Dancing with the Stars!

PS: I learned to program in 1976 (in a school class that now teaches keyboarding), connected to a mainframe via acoustic coupler from my bedroom around 1978 and have been online since 1983.

David Warlick is the latest person to go all “digital immigrant” and proclaim that we should all take a good hard look at the hugely popular YouTube video, “A Vision of Students Today.”

Fantastic. A college class with way too many students in it (200) attempts to revolutionize the educational system by whining in a 5 minute web video.

I’m sorry, but I’m unimpressed!

Perhaps a student should hold up a sign saying, “My professor is wasting my time and money by making me participate in a piece of exploitative propaganda in which I get to insult either my generation or the one before me just to get on YouTube.”

How did bashing our own profession become such a popular sport? What possible value could demeaning educators have in a professional development setting? Are we so desperate for moving pictures or are they a substitute for actual ideas?

Is showing these types of videos the conference speaker equivalent of the teacher running the filmstrip to eat up class time?

One valuable lesson you should learn at university is that the world is full of people smarter than you and wondrous things to learn. This video and the mindless kudos afforded it make just the opposite point. Hey kids, you have cellphones! You’ve played Halo and excerpted someone else’s blog which in summarized someone else’s blog which excerpted an article on a magazine web site. THEREFORE you are master of the universe and every educational institution should abandon scholarship and discipline and any text longer than a screen.

I’ve wanted to tell the Web 2.0pians the following for some time.

Observation is not insight.

Factoids are not knowledge

Talk (in this case, mime) is cheap.