30 June 2007

What for....?

During the week I had a really grounding experience in relation to my use of Web2.0 tools and the reasoning behind it. I thought it would be worth mentioning, as I read with interest the comments earlier in the term about the use of the Bibliosphere Blog. I am also an avid reader of different blogs and articles on the use of Web2.0 tools in education…and how we, as educators need to keep up with the ‘digital natives’.

Here is ‘my story’! I had just finished a lesson with some six year olds where we had made a wiki about animal homes .We put the work in a wiki, to show their parents, all the things they had learnt, (skills & ‘content’). We also discussed how the students could look at that work in the classroom or over the holidays…etc etc. After the lesson I had another student bring me some work on ‘Dragons’ he had done on his own. As a reward, I offered to help him put the work on a special site on the Internet so that his parents could see it (I ran off all the ideas we had listed in the previous lesson with the six year olds.)

He simply said “What for…” & that statement ended up haunting me for the rest of the day!

“What for…” Are we asking these questions BEFORE we enthusiastically ‘embrace’ these tools in the classroom? Don’t get me wrong, I fully support their use and will continue to do so……

But are we being discriminative in our use?
Are we really using the best tool at the time for the intended audience?
Who are we anticipating IS our audience?
Who is meant to be using the social networking sites we construct and how do we set these up so that they ARE exploited to their fullest potential?
Why are we using these tools in particular educational contexts, is there a real purpose in that they will enhance student outcomes?
....Are we starting from the ‘right’ perspective?

I know I have a great looking library blog that has never had a comment, (although our parents do view it as they mention this to me). I also set up, with a Year 6 teacher, a Blog for the class where the intention was simply to give them a forum to have a voice. The Year 6 blog is used all the time. One student even made a comment one Saturday night within minutes of me posting! Do we simply accept that different blogs/Web2.0 developed sites have different purposes and leave it as that?

…..I posted a quote from a blog entry called 'A Problem with Blogs' on our staff blog. I’d like to hear what other TLs think! As TL's we often lead our staff in adopting new technologies, do others experience these moments?

Maybe we could start ‘a conversation……’ about it!

1 comment:

Judy O'Connell said...

These are great questions and reflections!! I think the point of it all is just what you have highlighted - it's not about jumping on the web 2.0 bandwagon, but it is about identifying when a Web 2.0 type tool can make a difference in the learning experience of the students. Teachers are always making judgements about this. But it's even more relevant when teachers allow students to express opinions or judgements. The reality is that we have some great examples where Web 2.0 has made a difference, and plenty of intances where a blog or wiki was just not the right thing to get involved with. The fact that your students are 'watching' is probably the best proof that you are 'onto a good thing'!