Saturday, February 09, 2008

Cool Cat Teacher Blog: Go Fix the Web! (A case for micropresentations)

Cool Cat Teacher Blog: Go Fix the Web! (A case for micropresentations)

I don't know why I continue to blog. Vicki Davis does it much better and with finds like this, I can just bow in her general direction.

This is regarding a presentation video giving on "fixing the Web", which is in reference to using scripting agents (plug-ins for Firefox) to change the viewing experience for Web pages. In the example given, Paul Fenwick describes how to do this with MySpace. He goes on to show people how to remove entire sections, which can selectively include advertisements, updates, and other elements that can contain questionable content.

Using tools like GreaseMonkey, a teacher can modify the viewing experience to reduce the likelihood of coming across something that might get them put in front of a judge :)

This could go a long way to allaying fears that admins have of these spaces. However, problems do exist. (1) This looks easy, but it's still a lot of work. I imagine that these solutions could be scripted by tech staff or, better, by outside companies. So instead of offering blocked-surfing, they could offer mod-surfing. (2) Large media companies will eventually find ways to dodge this scripting or even legally remove it. This is a serious threat to their business models and really copyright infringement. These scripts modify designs and take decisions away from creators on how their creations are used. (3) It's easier to block than to modify. Admins will take the easier, cheaper way out if given the chance.

Great start, though, and a possible way for innovative teachers to get access to pages that might otherwise need to be blocked.



Vicki A. Davis said...

Oh Daniel, keep on blogging, we're all a part of this! I just find the fact that this is possible fascinating! It is amazing that we can do it! Whether we will do it is another story since it does require some coding. But I think if we keep saying "hey" I'd like to do this, it might become more doable.

For example, a greasemonkey script that we can install on school computers to yank the ads off the most widely used websites like youtube. The ads are what usually get us into trouble anyway!

And I guess we don't know what we can do until we ask!

Dan said...

I guess I'll stick it out for a while :)

Just giving credit where credit is due :)


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