Teaching Examples

Serendipity is alive and well on the Web
May 22, 2006, 11:58 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I love how the Internet helps me broaden my world. Today, for example, as I was catching up on my blog feeds, I found an essay by an Egyptian journalist, Fatemah Farag, at the PBS Frontline/World site.

Fatemah Farag is a senior journalist at Al-Ahram Weekly in Cairo. She has written extensively about police repression, the pro-democracy movement and Egyptian government policy in areas such as labor, employment, the environment and conservation.

She explains how police are struggling to contain a growing pro-democracy movement — from a first-person viewpoint, with plenty of background that helps me understand the situation better than anything I’ve read in standard news reports.

Some people like to say that without the bundled format of the daily newspaper, we are doomed to exist in narrow corridors of information that we choose — without the serendipity of the eye falling upon a headline that lures us into a story and opens doors to new worlds.

I realize that may be true for many people, especially busy people, who tailor their Internet information gathering to fit a precise profile. But it is not true for everyone.

Resolution: This fall, I’m going to teach my students to use Bloglines and require them to check their feeds at least once a week.

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4 Comments so far
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What a wonderful thing Bloglines is! Such a great discovery…
-Danny S.

Comment by Anonymous

Steven Johnson posted about serendipity on the Web a few days ago.

Comment by Rob

Thanks, Rob! I totally agree with him that “the Web is the greatest serendipity engine in the history of culture.”

Comment by Mindy McAdams

My colleague Bill McKeen recently wrote about this subject in the St. Pete Times.

Comment by Mindy McAdams

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