Pathfinders and hydrangea

I’ve just completed a chapter for my new book – of which much more later – and one section discusses what a pathfinder for the web 2.0 age might look like. Pathfinders started out as printed list of books in libraries and sometimes there was some annotation with each title, mainly describing the book’s content. Pathfinders now appear on blogs, wikis and websites. Joyce Valenza argues that pathfinders should now take the form of wikis. My argument is that we need to rethink pathfinders as learning resources and provide much more for our students. Thinking of a pathfinder as part of a learning website is to view the pathfinder in the context of providing students with subject content, assignment, information literacy guidance and mediated resources. This puts more emphasis on having meaningful annotations i.e. annotations which do not just focus on content but advise students on using resources. You can also engage your students by using wiki tools to allow students to add their own resources.

In the garden this year, we have a hydrangea which has produced more flowers than ever before. We’ve also got two new and different hydrangeas. The picture below shows one of the new ones which is now darker in colour. What we call hydrangea, the Germans call Hortensie and this was the name on one of the plants we bought. I think I prefer Hortensie. The name hydrangea roughly means ‘water barrel’ because of the plants constant need for water, although it could easily be a Malapropism for some vagueness of thought or action, as in “I think James may be suffering from hydrangea’.



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