templates v. control

Arola makes several good points about the limitations of Web 2.0. In taking for granted the form/content split, Web 2.0 allows us to use technology without understanding or even thinking about the form our content takes. Sites like facebook highlight what other users (our “friends”) do and offer us some ability to individualize our self-presentations. But that ability is strictly limited. We cannot change the template of our profiles. We cannot move around its elements.

This blog has similar limitations. In individualizing my blog, I was able to pick my own picture and change the colors of the layout. But I could not easily change the fonts or the location of my header picture on the page.

The choice between a content management system–that is easier and more accessible–and a system that allows users to be creators and designers is important. In assigning a digital project in my course, I am not sure how much I want students to learn advanced technical skills. My main concern is that a real emphasis on the technical skills would come at the expense of course content.

At this point, I need to clarify exactly what my course assignment is going to be and explore the templates and resources that students could use in creating their sites. This would also help me clarify which of the Five Resources for Critical Digital Literacy to emphasize in my class. At the least, I’d like students to work on Decoding, Meaning Making, and Using. The extent to which we work on those skills is, however, dependent on the tool we’re using to create their projects and what the project is exactly.

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