So I get George Siemens' wonderful email newsletter (please see George's wonderful blog as well), and he has this link to a presentation done by Stephen Downes (another great mind and great site) on emerging technologies that will impact / are impacting e-learning.
So I read it and Stephen is as on target as usual but something is nagging at me. Then I remember, I'm also an anthropologist - more specifically a cultural anthropologist. I am deeply interested in understanding how cultures work in a non-biological sense and for me that means the technological. How do we as humans relate to the tools we use?
So this is what struck me while reading Stephen's very good slides - where are the tools? Know that I am NOT pinning this on Stephen - its not he left this out of his slides or that he hasn't talked about this elsewhere (Stephen has been producing great thinking for a while now). Its just that these slides jogged the idea that while we talk a great game about the impact this stuff will have, I have yet to really witness the marriage of tool design and some of these enabling technologies.
RSS is one technology that Stephen mentions and well he should -powerful stuff this XML. Also powerful are these tools known as aggregators. But for me, it gets really powerful when integrated into a tool that 99% of the people reading this post use - MS Outlook. We live in email so when I found an RSS Aggregator that runs inside Outlook - a tool I already use - RSS got real powerful cause I could use it without changing my daily habits much.
So I guess I am wondering why that stands out for me. Why don't software designers talk to hardware designers and users all at the same time? Why shouldn't someone designing an application be concerned with how (on what device) an end-user will eventually access that tool? Why do we design screen to one color standard and then printers to another? Where is the integration between all the various toolmakers?
Too many questions...not enough answers...