The Metaforum was an online article sharing facility and tool for horizontal pedagogy. It was designed for use with the Education Forum, a series of discussions I helped organize during the spring of 2010 at Bennington College.
The system consisted of two components: a standard installation of statusnet (an open source twitter alternative) and a custom piece of software called The Book of Sand (written in PHP with MySQL database hooks).
The software was meant to facilitate a kind of play or improvisation with each others’ submitted texts. The Metaforum made it possible for participants to add articles to a group pool, annotate and respond to articles, and communicate directly with others.
The Book of Sand, named after Jorge Luis Borges’ eponymous short story, allowed users to submit articles into a group pool. Upon visiting the Book of Sand, users would be presented with a random article. A sidebar would provide a space to comment, tag, or respond to the article. Upon refresh, a new, random article submitted by another user would appear.
The Metaforum was integrated into the discussion structure of the Education Forum, with assigned readings and class topics often drawn from it.