Play #2 – What is web 2.0 and why does it matter?
A couple of summers ago I stumbled upon a back issue of Educational Leadership (March 2009, Volume 66, Number 6) that caught my eye. Reading through this issue dedicated to Literacy 2.0, I had my first introduction to blogs, wikis, social bookmarking, RSS feeds, gaming, digital citizenship, and media literacy.
I was certainly intrigued by everything that I was reading; however, I never jumped on the web 2.0 bandwagon because I never felt a pressing need to do so. At the time, I was working as an educational assistant in an elementary school and the teachers who I worked with were not yet incorporating many web 2.0 tools into their classroom practice.
Fast forward two years and I am now halfway through my preservice training to be a teacher and am regretting that I didn’t see the need to embrace this information age transforming learning and teaching. Someone posed the question: “How might you use these tools to engage today’s digital learners and why would you want to?” The more important question, I think, is “Why would you not want to?”
Instead of sitting passively in their seats listening to some teacher blather on about their subject area, students now have the ability to connect, collaborate, create, contribute, share, and participate actively in their learning. Teachers play an important role by helping students sort through an abundance of information, ask good questions, think critically, and create appropriate content. We have a responsibility to embrace these new and sometimes “messy” ways of discovering the curriculum, accept that change is necessary, be willing to take risks, learn along side our students. and actively reflect on what worked well and what went totally sideways.
Unlike my students, I did not grow up with technology and until now have not used it extensively to create, collaborate or network with others. For me it has had a more functional role: surf the net, send e-mails, create the odd excel spreadsheet to track our family finance or a word document for my lesson plans. As I dive into the world of Ed Tech and get a better handle on connectivism as a learning theory, there is a tsunami of information coming at me and I am trying to absorb and digest as many new ideas as I can. Most days I feel like a deer in the headlights; however, I am so inspired by the possibilities that can be explored using web 2.0 tools and am thoroughly impressed with all the sharing and support that is available when you begin to develop your personal learning network and join online communities of practice.
For anyone just learning about web 2.0, here is the link to the wikispaces page that we had to read. It has a number of great video that are worth watching and provide good food for thought.