So, I was chatting with a friend on IM tonight and it occured to me that one facet that's been missing in this discussion is that we keep talking about adding these tools to our practice. Or transforming our practice to incorporate the various technologies.
The problem is, that's not how the tools work.
It's 9.30pm here in Colorado. This is the online prime time. The Right Coast is winding down. The Left Coast is ramping up. It's the middle of the afternoon in Adelaide, but some of the people in Europe are beginning to come online. It's 9AM in Mumbai.
Your students are online. The rest of the world is thinking and talking and playing and planning. Where are you guys? What are you doing? I suspect a couple of you might be in Second Life right now. I might try to track down EduIsland myself in a bit.
The point I want to make here -- as gently as possible -- is that this whole Web 2.0 thing isn't something that fits neatly into the job. It won't ever work as something you add on, like a fresh coat of paint in your classrooms. If I want to talk to my friend in Texas, it has to be in the evening. My friend in Syracuse and I Skype a lot during the day. My wife and I frequently have IM conversations across the room from each other because it's the only way we can have a private conversation without the kids hearing. I check into the ORG when I wake up in the morning and again before I go to bed. My IM is always on. My email is, too. Over the course of the day, I may visit with thirty or forty people -- my boss, my co-workers, my customers, my students, and my friends without ever actually seeing them in meat space at all.
That's not unusual in my world.
Sure I go to the real grocery store, and I move my laptop to my office at the university during the day, and I talk to people in meat space, too. But my friends, my family, my colleagues .. they're all out here on the web. I don't even use the phone that much except to talk to people who "don't know any better." I download stuff to play on my mp3 player for when I can't have a link. I even order pizza online. It doesn't start at 8am and it doesn't stop at 5pm. It's all day. It's every day. It's all the time.
The piece that's missing in this discussion -- the thing that makes the key difference between immigrant and native -- is that for the immigrant all this stuff is something *else* to do. For the native and aboriginal, it's a way of life. It's not something else to do. It's what we do instead.