The Value of Collection
The Digital Is collection format, and the engagement with the curator that the collection format fosters, transforms Digital Is from a warehouse of good resources into an intellectual stock exchange in which participants offer, exchange, evaluate, and sometimes reject ideas about digital literacy.
For example, NWP Senior Program Associate Paul Oh curated "The Short Form," a collection of resources about digital miniature forms such as microblogging and texting. The collection includes links to articles from Wired and NPR as well as an NWP regional director's narrative recounting the changes she saw in her own composing processes as she learned to tweet. In the opening reflection on his collection, Oh wrestles with the utility of these "brief bursts of words and characters" as well as their effect on teenagers and the way we teach teenagers. He asks visitors to use the collected resources as a "starting point" for considering this rapidly evolving form. In reading Oh's reflection and considering the collected materials, the visitor engages with the curator, asking herself some of the same questions Oh poses and questioning some of the connections Oh finds. Viewing the collection through the lens of Oh's reflection provides the visitor an additional opportunity for intellectual engagement and growth.
The site also houses a community forum for direct exchange among participants. After joining the site, community members can initiate discussions, join existing discussions, comment on resources and collections, and post news and notes via blogs. Community members can also eventually apply to become resource creators who contribute new resources to the site. In this way, the site can take the dedicated member full circle from interested observer to reflective thinker to active discussant to contributing author.
The community forum also adds another layer of richness to Digital Is. For instance, a visitor who reads Erin Wilkey Oh's blog post on game design as a composition support tool finds links to five resources on gaming within Digital Is and a link to a second discussion post related to gaming by another Digital Is contributor. Additionally, the comments to Oh's post include links to resources outside of the website. The forum allows members to weave related resources into a common web that can be of great value to the reader.