Thursday, March 13, 2008

What is Web 2.0? How can we use it? How do I use it? Why should we all use it?

What is Web 2.0? How can we use it? How do I use it? Why should we all use it?

When I started on this committee, I thought I knew. I knew what blogs were, I had one once. I knew about youtube, facebook, and other general "well known" sites on the Internet. I considered myself fairly savvy when it came to computers and the Internet. Then I realized how much I have missed out on, the fads, the new things, and some of the old "tried, tested and true" sites. Since being on this committee, I have realized that no one person could be up to date in all that is out there and all that is to come. We can only project and predict into the future what will be coming out an hour, day, month or year from now.

I have also realized that trying to keep yourself informed via email, RSS, or another medium is a difficult task, but in order to be near the cutting edge of technology, we must do this. We will be left in the dust if we do not conform! We must get online, check things out and experience them if we are to be expected to teach these tools to others (staff, students, etc). I think there are many valuable items to be explored, and we are not even half way done our jobs. If we sit at home and take even 10-15 minutes a day to check things out, then we are floating onto the right paths of the Internet superhighway! Experience breeds knowledge and in order to be a teacher who has any knowledge at all in technology, it is obvious that we must get online and explore.

Daunting or not. We may just need to suck it up and try. Sure it's hard. Who ever said it was easy to find time, money, etc. to develop new skills and continue our life long learning? I know it's hard. I am living on my own, with no children yet, no one needing my attention when I get home from school, yet even then it is a motivational and procrastination nightmare to do these things. From the very beginning, I was excited to join this committee and find that my motivation is much higher as I find out how easy it actually is to do a lot of online activities.

My teaching has improved (I believe), and I am incorporating more and more technology based assignments into all my teaching areas. As a computer/IP and PAA teacher, it is easy for me to say that my assignments are program and web based, but when you look at all my other teaching areas, you may think it harder to incorporate technology....but you would be wrong. It is easier than you think. Not only can we discuss as a class, but we can find out what other students or classes around the globe think about the very topics we are discussing! How exciting for students to experience these sorts of things! Needing a wide range of teaching strategies to keep students engaged? Why not try computers? I bet you they will be overjoyed to get out of a textbook/note taking class to try some experiments online, collaborate and show you their skills in other areas, combining them with the subject at hand. It allows students the chance to build on skills and use their multiple intelligences that Gardner tells us about. Studies say that we should make more assignments open-ended, so why not allow students a chance to either create a video, powerpoint, audio-recorded interview, report, poster or whatever else they choose or enjoy? I do this a lot in my classes, and the marks show improvement, knowledge and happiness. The students are engaged and entranced when you allow them to enjoy their learning....so......."Just do it"