Ideas come first, then the media and the tools

Digital storytelling–like any kind of storytelling–requires a narrative first, an idea. As this engaging video points out, the media and tools are relatively unimportant. D’uh. You’ve got to have the something to communicate before you can think about its packaging.

It’s the same thing with learning: you need a question first. Everything–the student’s growing skill and knowledge base–will grow along the path of inquiry. So the best questions, regardless of the media used to research and discuss them, will make for a quality learning experience. It shouldn’t matter too much the form that inquiry takes to achieve its ends.

That is why I am hopeful that the IATE Wikiteers will consider joining with me in formulating a set of powerful inquiries under the general one: What are the best ways to utilize web 2.0 for student literacy gains?

Whether we do a google group, or continue using the site at wikispaces, I hope we can collaborate at the starting point: formulating worthwhile inquiries that can help us help students.

My first concern is prior to any real inquiry. It requires from Wiki-teers some learning and problem-solving. It’s the pragmatic question for a wiki or social network: how should the interaction happen? Before students are able to engage in meaningful online discussions of literature or theme, they will have to have understood and decided on how the learning is happening.

So, my first inquiry might be called “para-inquiry,” since it deals with finding the best ways to organize the learning inquiry.

My question for the knowledge worker, “What is the best way to proceed?” How should we organize our inquiry? What file structure/organization should we use? For instance, should each student member of the learning community start a wiki-page around his/her inquiries, or should there be a more centralized, bulletin board kind of structure?

Once we have a “why” or a “to what extent…” question, the real knowledge can grow, but before that can happen, we need agreement and mutual understanding of how we conduct the necessary business.

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