Thursday, April 29, 2010

Back to Wired Wednesdays

With the start of the next round of Wired Wednesday's just around the corner, I thought I should come through with my promise to share what we did in the last round. I think it's important to mention that the group was not new computer users. They had Facebook, were comfortable with email, digital photos, and were starting with digital music. All in all your average parent. Everyone brought something to the table and we did a lot of learning from each other -- so much fun!

In my last post I told the story of how my childhood love of marbles served as an impetus for starting WW. I'd like for you to take a look at this marble and think about what appeals to you the most about it?

Is it the curves, the colour, the way the light moves through it? Or maybe it would be the shape, the smoothness of it in your hand? For me it's all the tiny bubbles suspended within the glass. Everyone's experience around that one marble will be slightly different. The same held true with every marble tool we explored. Everyone saw the beauty, the utility, the purpose (or lack there of) in a way that reflected their reality.

The first topic we tackled was the Google suite of products. The response to an iGoogle home page and gmail was unbelievable. Who knew that this would end up being the most spectacular marble in the bag? For some it was having their own email that the kids couldn't read or accidentally delete messages. For others it was the iGoogle home page that could be customized with information they chose. Those with older kids really liked the shared calendar. The one shared sentiment was "I can't believe how easy this is.".

This process played out with each tool we unpacked. If meaning and utility could be found, that tool went in your bag, if not it was left on the table. Wiki's to organize hockey tournaments, RSS feeds for an endless supply of recipe ideas, photo books for anniversary gifts, webpages for businesses/teams/families and the list goes on. All the while with mutterings of "I can't believe how easy this is" in the background. Then it happened ... to paraphrase Shirky:

Things got technologically boring enough to become socially interesting..

Conversations shifted away from the tools and onto the personal and social implications of employing them in our day to day lives. Questions of privacy, solitude in a hyper-connected existence, copyright, the role of general knowledge in a Google world, and how the heck to parent around this new digital reality crept into our weekly sessions. There were times when our laptops never made it open -- and that was a great thing!

Wired Wednesday's has been on hiatus over the winter but is set to go again next week. I'm looking forward to pulling out a few more marbles --- marveling at the swirls, figuring out where they fit in our collection, and exploring the flaws. I'm also interested to see what conversation this round will generate.... should be another interesting ride!

(Image: A World in a Marble?, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from seeks2dream's photostream)
(Image: Marble, a Creative Commons Attribution No-Derivative-Works (2.0) image from rengel134's photostream)
(Image: Vintage Marbles, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from alexkerhead's photostream)