Saturday, October 27, 2007

When Web 2.0 = Web 0.0

There seems to be an assumption that Web 2.0 is a type of connective utopia.  That anything can be done using Web 2.0 services and facilities.  But, there's a fundamental flaw in all of this.  What happens when nothing happens?  When the connection is down?  Working online is flexible, accessible, adaptable... when you can be online, but when you can't... *poof!*... it's all gone.  Yes, there are steps towards bridging the online-offline divide, but they're an afterthought rather than having been a contingency from the start.  I think it's something which is imortant to remember.  While you're sitting at home / work with a comfortable, fat broadband connection serving up helpings of web goodness, a dicey sometimes on, sometimes off, sometimes not at all internet existence seems miles away.  But for many, it's a reality they have to cope with when trying to access many of the services people now take for granted.

Oh, and why is this all of a sudden relevant?  Because I've been head down getting myself deep into spreading my work onto the web, connecting, sharing and all that good stuff... but now I have a dicky connection which can disappear with a bolt of lightening or with an interrupted signal.  This is a bit of a 'note to self' I suppose.  Plan for what people can access... and plan for when they can't.  Though one scenario is the ideal, the other is the situation they have to manage.  The beauty of online education is that it can be accessed from anywhere - and that access should cope with times which are online and times which aren't equally well otherwise we're doing learners a disservice.

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