I won't write for very long here as I don't yet know if or how it works, but I have been following a new style of social network on the “Fediverse” for a while and would like to show it to my upper intermediate group in a class tomorrow. Apparently, they have done publishing to death and don't feel that they have anything to say, but they are young, clever, each have their own perspective, and I wonder it they could not work on something here and see how far it propagates out into the world. I used to work in a primary school and have had kids work on wikis before (WikiSpaces, the host I used, is proprietorial, and soon enough the accounts were locked down and lost). There they would write about whatever interested them and, it being a wiki, each could either begin their own piece or amend somebody else's. Now and again somebody would make a clumsy edit and I would have to roll back to an older, more stable or more sensible one, but it was a learning process and, though not everybody used it wisely, most learned a lot. The Federation is different, and I would rather talk about that than write about it here if it comes to that, but by writing this, too, I will be demonstrating precisely how it works and can show them. Should anyone feel the need to boost or interact with this post, all the better. I have various interests at the moment and, though I enjoy teaching, it's neither well paid nor leaves one much time, and so I have been looking to move away from it. In the last few years I have been doing more with computers and when I teach now, I as often teach coding and the like. It may be that I could, however, combine a few of my interests and do some work with English as a second language on-line, using wikis, audio and video, and it would be possible to host a number of federated services catering to English learning and perhaps building Creative Commons materials. All of these are just ideas, and I am not particularly invested in any of them. It is a more a case of my seeing right now that federated and distributed social networks and the P2P (peer-to-peer) internet offer all kinds of possibilities which my students will, we can hope, see develop as they grow up. Right now they are all around 19 or 20 and so it's all ahead of them and, were they to choose now, they could get involved in all kinds of ways. Why they would want to see it, and why they would want to participate in it rather than, for example, continuing to exclusively use a handful of centralised services which typically earn their staggering revenues from advertising, is another matter, and perhaps one best sketched out by direct exploration rather than argument. But you can lead a horse to water... It may be that I can talk about this tomorrow and nobody will be interested. The last time some of the teachers talked to them about publishing, they didn't want to know. They had nothing to say, or they didn't know how to say it. I don't believe it, but it's all about finding a way to go about it. Meanwhile, however, I will also be showing them zines I picked up recently. Perhaps they may write about them. If they don't, it may be because they are reading them, or it may be that they are writing their own and have found something far more interesting than any kind of internet whether 'distributed' or 'federated' or what have you. As a teacher none of that much concerns me. The way I see it, it's ok not to want to do one thing or another thing so long as you want to do something, anything more or less, so long as there is a will to learn something and try and even risk now and again. Monday morning after Christmas break so let's see but they will have plenty of options. If you would like to hear something from them, let us know!

Rob, Prague