A blog post that I put up on Digital Passports has kind of boomaranged and struck me a second time around.
Basically the post described a few of the many many many websites that I check out on a daily basis that don’t quite make the cut. It really got me thinking about how much time I have spent trying to find sites that would really be valuable for educators and students. I don’t consider it to be time wasted, it’s kind of fun and somebody has to do it, but it really emphasized just how much the software landscape is changing.
Step back about 3 or 4 years and there were about 5 choices for blog engines, 2 choices for podcatchers, a ton of wiki platforms (but you had to install them all yourself), and if you wanted to edit photos, you had to do it offline.
Now, not only do we have video and photo editors online, we have tons of them. I dare say we may have too many.
Who can count how many sites we have for free photo hosting? How about photo editors online? Or sites where you can get a free blog? There’s too many to count, and certainly too many to survive. While a few die off with a rebel yell and wind up in TechCrunch’s deadpool, most die off with a whimper and are just never seen again.
The strong survive, get bought up by Google, Microsoft and Yahoo, and start driving traffic and ad-revenue for the big boys, who thankfully are content to keep them free or cheap for now.
So what does this mean for educators? Simply this: Don’t get married to the tools in your toolbox. A hammer is a hammer is a hammer. So what if you really like the steel one with the yellow handle? At some point that one might disappear and you better be ready to pick up a new one. Need to cut a board but can’t find a saw? Time to get creative my friend. If you are willing to concentrate on what your actual needs are, you’ll find plenty of tools at hand for about every project.
To me, that’s been the real value of the 2.0 world. When I have a need, I don’t look to see what I can buy to solve it. Rather I start flipping through the pages in my head of all the 2.0 sites I’ve seen, and read Twits on, or blog posts about. I ask friends for suggestions and 9 times out of 10, the right tool is just a registration form away.
Shiny happy tools, free and easy.