Jimmy Wales: Panel Discussion

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The following is a blog-best-effort transcript of Jimmy Wales in Melbourne on the 27th April 2007. This is not a verbatim transcript.

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After-lunch Panel Discussion

Gary introduces Mark Pesce: VRML. Author 5 books, “How Technology is Transforming our Age”

Also on New Inventors, 2003-2006 AFTRS.

Mark: The Inconvenience of Truth: Mark Twain quote in relation

Peer data, with peer data.

Lots of ways of generating knowledge

21st century: what’s you know become who do you trust

Systems of knowledge generation: compare and contrast the outcomes.

Simple word: kangaroo: wikipedia, first para clear and concise. Taxonomist, zoologist. Gold standard. Wikipedia’s authoritative voice is collaborative. Wrong fix it, look at history, look for bad data. Distributed authority.

Britannica: second paragraph, go online to buy full license. 72 hours of going online: servers collapsed based on demand: higher bandwidth, servers etc. 1999 – consistently lost money in 1999. Behind a wall, $6.99/month – not a distributed authority. Elites control access to the editing of data.

Other ways to do peer production. Citizendium (sp?), attempting to contact Mark. Attempting to differentiate. Seems like a community of recognised experts. Its out there and interesting.

“After the flood” : stated neutrality of wikipedia was socialist secularist claptrap: wikipedia, conservapedia. Trustworthy encyclopedia. Origins section based on creation science. Process of production same as wikipedia, but outcome is different. Truth, justice and beauty does not come from just sharing.

Uncyclopedia; (lots of LOL) Friggen Hugh Mouse == kangaroo. Themes that show up, its funny. Wikia purchased it. Another kind of knowledge/peer production. Comedy. Cool.

Medicine, can’t leave it up to mere mortals. Top Headlines example. LOL (missed screen) Peer produced medicine. April Fools example. http://whoissick.org/ peer produced epidemiology  Who is reporting sick in google maps.  Where is this one going. Really interesting 🙂

“All knowing is doing, and all doing is knowing.”

Education is changing massively due to knowledge, not just the pure IT.

Knowledge > Elites know knowledge is power, and it subverts the hierarchy. Special interests are also in play. Knowledge sharing, and free stuff gets stronger: cries of elites and special interests.

21st century: war as forces tug against each other.

Panel intro:

Jimmy Wales, Martin Wildes, Sarah Phillips, Randal Strong, Rodney Sparkes, James Farmer, Daniel Ingerson, Derek Whitehead

Daniel: education is a social thing. Chicago: effect of moving schools on students. 25 people that moved to better schools didn’t do better: the desire (passion) to do better was critical. Students today: how do we turn that engagement into better education, how do we get the systems to understand that? Personalised learning vs. standardised testing. Over next 10 years: exploding of what information is recorded: processes of learning, not just the end result. Looking at what students are doing, which will change assessment. First elements of the web where R/W. Concern of control an issue in Syd. Highlights quote form Jimmy: accountability not gatekeeping. Daniel is producing s/w to do this.

Martin Wildes: superclubsplus. MIT, all academic content delivered free online. Why MIT? Quality of education experience is between the students + lecturers. Its the passion! The enthusiasm!

Content controlled by 6-12 yo children (by+for) in a UK site. (missed site) Gives children a voice, and something to say. Trends toward to user generated content: peer to peer participative approach. Intuitive media working with this. Even actuaries are thinking about user generated content.

Challenge: power communities for young children: integrity, extend learning. Legitimise these into our institutions, K-12 and

Derek Whitehead: Swinburne Univ; Derek here as copyright officer and librarian. Librarians like wikipedia? yes and no. lots to love. well organised current accessible widely know. Not all librarians like wikipedia, lack of authority, volatility (eg defintion) Librarians are ambivalent about information democracy. Dichotomy. Every has the right to information, but must get order and control into the situation (LOL) Life is google’d (google can be used as any part of speech). Whole web as the reference source. Google search on the web, take the first. Wikipedia is way more QA’d than the first/random google search. Before, once “just ask mum”.  Google is about the same, Wikipedia is better as its community controlled. Wikipedia is what all Librarians have been looking for.

Rodney Sparkes: eworks: vocation education/TAFE sector. Wide range of styles and types: included those with limited skills for self-directed learning. 70% are part-time and mature age works. Untapped potential in the peer to peer world. Capacity to self-directed learning is going to be toughest challenge. Immediate impact in the area of teaching: Peer to Peer impact on teachers will be greatest impact and keeping teaching quality high. Takes the informal approach into al little more formal. Translating skills into the online environments is critical. Learning objects. Making content available to others. How to incent contributors to make them add knowledge.

How do we ensure everyone has learning skills? Smartest people are the wealthier people. Technology is everywhere; how to we create economic models for community rights. Is teaching in the 21st century illegal due to recent Digital Laws. How about our culture knowledge. Writing is not the only way: digital storytelling: peer to peer model: video+sound etc. Value of culture of knowledge is appreciated.

Randall Strong: Multimedia Victoria: Education, how do gov’t policy people think: dejavu to 1993/1994. Network ICT’d disrupting technology: web2 is the next disruptive technology. 1990s we under estimated impacts. This time, the gov cannot underestimate the impact. Now want Victoria into secondlife now. Opportunity: web2 open innovation platform for the country. Exploit the other 99% of the knowledge in the world for local use; effect journalism. Digital TV: make it, now watch it. DESTRA “‘yooph’ generated TV”. Teacher generated content; student generated content from/for kids. Web2 disruption to drive productivity. Threats: experimentation; that has to happen again in the economy. Basic ADSL will not drive this in AU. Converged networks need Symmetry to Write. Deeper fibre into the economy. Vic EDU fibre to the school. Gov’t will react to excesses, Youtubes: why, werribee example. US Congress; throttle $ to schools who use web2. 1994 now excess: billion people are already using it. Internet measured and monitored, will happen quicker. MMVic is thinking through this stuff.

James Farmer: Edublogs and The Age,  pissed. Drunk. Intoxicated. On the knowledge. Gorging on information, binge knowledging. Don’t abuse the knowledge. 100 years ago, rote learning, information transfer. Since then, research, John Dewey etc. Old skool schooling don’t work. Conversation and interaction are better. Forget modes of teaching, just jump on the knowledge. Just follow the IT. ICT. (C for communication is silent). Content, content, content. Challenge is to get over the orgy of knowledge to add social side. JF sick of learning objects, wikis, podcasts…. less can be more!

Sarah Phillips, Deakin University: wikipedia for speech? Free encyclopedia is a noble idea. Essay topic to trivia questions. Answers don’t provide a basis of credible argument. Online vandalism. In an ideal world, people don’t cross check. PR student, in social media, PR people cannot edit in wikipedia. Peer produced learning should permit PR people from communications professional. Does this rule apply to the PR team at Wikipedia?

Q: Sarah; as PR practitioner, can I write an article?

Jimmy Wales: broader rules from community, conflict of interest editing. When you have a personal interest in this. Must identify openly, post in discussion page openly, present information on themselves.

Problem we have, PR unprofessionals who do exist out there. Come in mindlessly without openly saying who they are. Quite dangerous behaviour, and unethical for the PR community. Show the respect. Idea not a free-for-all; there are people on the other side who spent time.

Corporations may have entities who are paid and potentially not fair: but remember the community norms and values.

Q: Rodney: cf: News Ltd Purchase of Myspace.

JW: Myspace skeptic; Myspace too much advertising and spamming, core market like facebook.

Wikipedia is owned by a non-profit – so its not for sale. Content is (cc) anyway!

Q: (on podcast, survive death of universe). Ownership of Knowledge in Education domain. Information is not shared freely between educational institutions; actively discourage sharing as they are threats to each other. Sharing the source, won’t happen until (c) policies are solved.

Information is not open. Randall: information should be shared, not a formal policy. Gov’t can lead by example. Does Gov’t use (cc) model? Critical mass of user generated content.

Victoria, software IP; changed default model where IP resides: in the industry, gov’t should not be in the game of making and exploiting IP – commercial.

Growing band of people who will drive this.

Mark: peer produced drawing project. All the way to the AFTRS board to get approval for OS software.

James: slightly different in the university world.

Martin: the students will drive the university with their own learning networks in place. Students will continue their tools and networks already in place. Education is beyond the institution.

Mark: peer learning – pushed outside the school. Is the school the locus of learning in the 21st century?

Martin: UK experience, superclubsplus; social networking; 120,000 6-12 years of age. Learning in school, outside: logs engaging generating content + annotating, friends, primary outside school confines. Innovative teachers: any tool or technology. Creative and original ways.

Q: QLD fire+rescue: Jimmy a citizen of the world. Software design, social education/design.

Law Professor at Harvard. Tension between guards and prisoners, due to escape. Used a wiki to produce a neutral view of what happened. Both sides never agree, so wiki was used to find the source of the conflict.

In general, using social tools at a young age, to teach at a young age from TV. How to have a constructive conversation aimed at a mutually agreeable end. vs. TV is A vs B style to make the other side appear evil. (editor: need to create a Jimmy Wales – Microsoft healing wiki)

Q: Increasing comfort of use, downside on KPIs and measurement

Mark: distribute authority, you are distributing expertise. Distributed model of assessment.

Martin: expertise model is interesting. Expertise is about experience, not knowledge. Organisations to grow expertise need to provide the power of the community in development of the expertise, and distribute it around – including assessment.

Philosophically true: demonstrate competencies, not just what they remember.

James: competencies: pain with this word. Education system K-12+University, segment wheat from chaff. Nice comfortable society (class).  School – social aspects is rubbish with outdated assessment processes and large exams.

Rodney: employers decide in vocational side. Demonstrate in a work context (portfolio) Qualifications only one aspect.

Sarah: all assessment in this final term is work-oriented cf. exam. Term of learning for 3 hours of pressure. Into the community is far more beneficial in final exam.

Daniel: who is doing the assessment? Peers doing the assessment, shifts the power base to the community.

Q: Collaborative. University had a model more advanced than the students in a Master’s degree. Generational gap in learning styles.

Daniel: Doug Brown has a spectacular presentation on cultural change. Teachers vs. students perspective. Research – publication can be peer and self.

Rodney: are universities the best example of collaborative learning/peer learning.

(next: Fireside chat with Jimmy)

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