Sunday, January 24, 2010

Why are we doing this on a computer?

Last weekend I was reading the Langwitches blog post entitled It's not about the tools, it's about the skills. At my new school this is the first time most teachers and students have been exposed to Web 2.0 tools and questions have obviously arisen as to the benefits of using a computer -v- the benefits of the students handwriting projects on paper (which in many cases has also involved the students downloading photos from the internet and sticking them onto their pages - with no regard to copyright at all!). This post and the excellent graphics show that there is far more to blogs, wikis and other Web 2.0 tools than just typing skills. Of course we are still teaching writing skills, but we are teaching so much more too.

For me one of the main advantage of using Web 2.0 tools, as opposed to some of the applications more familiar to our teachers such as Word or PowerPoint, is that the students can work on these projects from any computer without the need to carry their work around from school to home on USB memory sticks. In addition these tools are more interactive and allow collaboration in a way that is difficult using a simple Word document. Of course I am constantly asking myself "Is IT the best tool for the task?" Most of the time, I have to say the answer is YES!

Photo Credits: Blogging Skills and Wiki Skills by Langwitches


  1. You made some good points not only about the skills students practice when using online tools, but also some really good reasons to use something more than a Word document and a USB drive. When teachers and students realize the potential, I hope they embrace it! I know for me, it's hard not to once you know what you and your students were missing.

  2. The portabiltiy factor of Web 2.0 is amazing. I love that students (and I) can instantly access their work from any Internet connected computer. This means that their learning goes with them. The collaboration of these tools has been huge for my students. I am amazed at the level of interaction and quality of work that I get when students are working collaboratively. Many times students choose to go above and beyond what I have assigned because they love working together on a common goal. Neat!

  3. One of the most motivating elements that I have found for students when using Web 2.0 tools is the larger audience. Students are no longer writing just for the teacher. It goes beyond the classroom walls. I have found the quality of work tends to increase when students know that their podcast or blog entry will be posted for the world. They also love receiving and giving feedback in this forum. We have had many positive experiences, including getting reluctant writers to write!

  4. Excellent post - it is so important to ask if it is the best tool for the task. When we get excited about finding new and interesting tools it is so easy to use them for the sake of it!
    Thanks for a timely reminder.