Wikis have been explored at school to co-ordinate level planning and is proving to be quite successful, allowing teachers to access the information anywhere, home included. It is a far more efficient way of working and the fact that you can add links makes it even more appealing.
I look forward to further exploring ‘Ning’, the links to Classroom 2.0 especially interested me.
It is not which wiki, blog or tool that a teacher is using that is important, but rather how to engage students through whichever medium is going to help them be successful at the time for the purpose in hand.
Since viewing Eric Mazour videos and learning how he used Google Docs with his students and completing a ‘Google Doc’ tutorial at school last year, we have been using them increasingly as a tool for collaboration. It is efficient, time saving and incredibly powerful as a means to communicate with others. The fact that any person with access can contribute ideas at any time or place provides equality within a team. I find this empowering and tend to want to contribute more, it also allows for more time to deliberate on possible suggestions.
Virtual learning communities will be a way that our present students may conduct their working lives and every opportunity that we can give them now to familiarize themselves with this way of communicating will assist them in becoming global life long learners.
I think that undertaking the Web 2.0 course has encouraged me to explore more tools but also has given me a wealth of resources at my fingertips to ensure successful integration into my work.
Scootle, teacher tube, YouTube allows you to view tutorials, implementation ideas and even lessons.
Twitter, blogs and nings ensure that I can ask questions or have an educational or intellectual conversation with other educators at any time.
Picasa, Bubbl.us, Prezzies and other tools have enlightened me to other forms of presentation options as well as storing information to access anywhere, anytime. In this digital age, students should be au fait with combining video, photos and music to present information and Web 2.0 tools provide this opportunity.
At times during the course, this saying came frequently to my mind:
‘Getting information from the internet is like taking a drink from a fire hydrant.’
While I find the visual image forming in my mind amusing, I think it is important to educate students to be discerning about the use of Web 2.0 tools and to be clear as to the purpose of tools.
The course reflection module in my mind tied all of the other modules together and I was delighted to view the iLE@RN (CEO Sydney) link. Since technology has had such a profile in schools, for me that was being part of the LaTTiCE project in the late 90’s onwards, I have been a firm believer that ‘engagement’ is the key to unlocking learning for all learners (students and teachers alike).
It is not about technology but about quality teaching and learning. With the introduction of so many new forms of communicating via technology I think it is even more important to keep this a very clear focus.
Web 2.0 tools give us the opportunity to assist students, anywhere, and at any time to participate in powerful learning opportunities. We can offer both students and ourselves the opportunity to collaborate, reflect, question ourselves and others and engage in higher order thinking with others from around the world.
The adaptation of Bloom Taxonomy for digital technology is very helpful in assisting teachers to identify stages their students are at and how to move them further. It could also make a very valuable self- assessment tool for students themselves.
I particularly like the idea of using Twitter to improve work study habits by encouraging students to take notes on what is being discussed in class and using the ‘chunking’ principle to post brief points. Notes can be reviewed quickly and shared with others to participate in ‘discussions.’ This would help in retaining information and would facilitate higher order self- reflection.
Students (and teachers) need to ask:
How do I learn best?
What skills do I need to succeed?
How do I contribute to 21st century learning?
Nearly one hundred years ago, John Dewey stated, “If we teach today’s students as we taught yesterday’s, we rob them of tomorrow.” These words are particularly applicable to the utilization of technology in the classroom. If teachers fail to teach the new literacies, they are failing to prepare students for tomorrow, as well as missing valuable opportunities to engage student learning. According to Hagood, this practice consists of teaching “reading, writing, speaking, listening, viewing, and designing in print and nonprint media using pop culture and digital technologies.” Through technology, students collaborate, communicate and create to learn. According to Werner-Burke et al., for many students, technology in the classroom provides much needed motivation as well as preparation for the daily digitized world outside of the classroom.
Hagood, M. (2012). “Risks, Rewards, and Responsibilities of Using New Literacies in Middle Grades.” Voices from the Middle, 19 (4), pp. 10-16.
Werner-Burke, N., Spohn, J., Spencer, J., Button, B., and Morral, M. “Bridging the Disconnect: A Layered Approach to Jump-Starting Engagement.” Voices from the Middle, 19 (4), pp. 45-49.