Sunday, December 20, 2009

The important role Web 2.0 will play in education

Educational Networking: The Important Role Web 2.0 Will Play in Education

Today, on the first weekend of the Christmas holidays, I finally got to read this from Steve Hargadon, Social Learning Consultant at Elluminate. Steve argues that up to now computers have not dramatically changed education, as teachers still see computers as an add-on, rather than seeing them as integral to the full education process, transforming the process of teaching and learning.

Web 2.0, however, has brought a new relationship to information, and new software tools have emerged that are bringing dramatic changes to education. For myself, the biggest change in recent months has been building my own personal learning network (PLN) of educators around the world who are pushing forward the boundaries of technology in education by actually having their students create information using blogs, wikis and a host of other Web 2.0 tools. I think it's probably true to say that I have had more professional development as a result of being part of a PLN in the past few months, than I have had as a result of going to conferences and workshops over the past few years. For me, Twitter has become a very powerful professional development tool, one that I use and learn from on a daily basis. I'm using it not just as a social networking tool, but as an education network.

Steve Hargadon argues:
This new web is going to dramatically alter the 21st century landscape in education, shaping how students approach learning, how educators approach teaching, and, increasingly, how educators are interacting with and learning from, each other.
Web 2.0 has been called the Information Revolution. Instead of the emphasis being on the 3Rs, teachers are now talking about the 3Cs - contributing, collaborating and creating - through blogs and wikis. Last year at my old school, NIST, in addition to being an elementary IT teacher I also taught IB Geography to high school seniors. We had no textbooks, but used a host of online resources, some of which were available on our school portal, and in addition we were part of a wiki set up by a geography teacher in Manila. My students were collaborating with and learning from students from another school in Bangkok as well as those in the Philippines. The wiki became the textbook, and it was entirely created by the students themselves!

Currently I am checking out the K12 Online Conference. This event started on November 30 and runs through to January 9th. It is open to educators around the world who are interested in innovative ways Web 2.0 tools and technologies can be used to improve learning. It's completely free and open to everyone. In the past 2 weeks, over 50 presentations have been posted online and I have been able to participate in this conference from my own living room at a time convenient to me. For me this is a good example of true lifelong learning and, even more importantly than this, this learning can be shared with my colleagues to help them on their learning journeys too. Now I'm not just a passive member of the audience, by sharing my learning I'm part of the change, building a new world of education.

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