Information Silos Published 2006-09-18 under

Another "Future of Web Apps" post...

As mentioned in my last post, Tom Coates' presentation offered me lots of fuel for thought.  One concept that really hit home for me was the idea of  "Information Silos". Much of the Web today can be represented as individual storehouses of data.  By navigating to a site, you are seeing data that belongs to that site.

But the future promises a more aggregated web where a site will offer more than just the data stored on their servers, but include "an aggregate of connected data sources and services".  There are many sites that are doing this today.  Google News is not a news site but more a news aggregator providing visitors a chance to see headlines from a wide variety of sources.  BTW - have you seen the Google News Archive Search?  The "timeline" feature is really cool.

An analogy can be draw to education.  Teachers have often been silos of information - viewed as the experts in the classroom.  Sharing of information between classes is rare.  Two sections of the same class can meet right next to each other, yet little information or knowledge passes between the two.  Teachers and classrooms are isolated silos of information.

Today, teachers are changing the model; moving away from being the expert to the facilitator, aggregating the information and sharing the knowledge generated in the class with not only the class next door, but the class on the other side of the world.

It is exciting to be apart of this transformation, and I look forward to those education-centric web apps that will model this view of teaching and provide an aggregation of data and services from a variety of sources.  What do you think these sites will look like?

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