Technology and 2.0 tools can be daunting and intimidating to many adults. It can be seen as an either/or issue. Either we allow technology to take over students lives or we resist it and refuse to incorporate it in our pedagogy. It doesn’t have to be either/or.
We must use 2.0 technology to enhance the education of our students. We must find ways to use these tools so that our students get the most out of their school years and they are ready for a world that isn’t refusing technology whatsoever.
The following is what I believe in terms of technology and education and how to implement these beliefs in the classroom.
I believe that students deserve a classroom environment in which their teachers think creatively about ways to enhance their learning experience through using 2.0 technologies to diversify instructional strategies.
It can be easy for teachers to get into a rut in the classroom. With grading, lesson planning, extra curriculurs and our own families, sometimes the easiest way to prepare is to simply present information to our class. But students deserve more. Often times technology can be the conduit for this creativity.
Meg Griffin, a teacher on ISTE Wikispaces, explains how she used technology to engage students:
“I use technology as a gateway tool to science inquiry learning. Our energy unit shows an example of the meaningful blend of science skills and content with technology. Students use electronic temperature sensors as they explore and make meaning about heat energy” (Griffin, 2009).
Technology can be the spark of creativity to enhance the learning experience for our students.
A specific example can be found on the website run by the Florida Center for Instructional Technology. They show teachers how to use podcasts in the classroom.
Teachers can assign different groups of students to investigate the experiences of different members of the expedition and then create a series of podcasts from the perspectives of each of these expedition members. The podcasts would also help illustrate the changes that took place during the course of the expedition (Podcasts, 2009).
I believe 2.0 tools don’t simply teach technology to students; they teach critical thinking which adds value for all students as they move forward.
Another teacher on ISTE Wikispaces described a lesson involved digital videography and a class project. He states, “Although digital videography is a great technology skill, it is not the focus of this story….Their critical thinking skills came from problem solving for the other school involved in the project, working to solve the logistics of time zones, and thinking differently about their ability to communicate to a much larger global community. The project truly changed their perspective” (Davey).
In my classroom, the juniors I teach used Moodle to hold a class discussion over the causes of the Civil War. Each student had to choose social causes, political causes, or economic causes as the primary reason the war began. In choosing their argument and using evidence from class readings to back it up, the students were not learning how to use Moodle, they were learning how to critically think.
I believe teachers have to model appropriate web use and teach students the responsibilities involved with using 2.0 tools.
As Net Trekker highlights on their “10 Tips to Keep Students Safe in a Web 2.0 World”, the web is simply a toolbox. “Yes, it’s full of information, fun and potential pit falls, but ultimately it is just a toolbox full of tools (like email, wikis, and blogs) that – just like any other set of tools – requires practice to use well” (Net Trekker, 2009).
The web and 2.0 tools are not to be feared by teachers. They should be seen as opportunities to guide students. Net Trekker states, “By educating students on both the benefits and risks of using the Web 2.0 tools, you are helping your students stay safe while honing skills that could impact their future level of success” (Net Trekker, 2009).
I believe 2.0 tools encourage and enhance collaborative opportunities for students, including working with individuals and cultures throughout the country and the world.
Robert Marzano, in his book Instructional Strategies that Work, points to researchers David Johnson and Roger Johnson, who in 1999 identified five characteristics of cooperative learning including positive interdependence, accountability, interpersonal skills, group processing, and promotive interaction (Marzano, 1999).
Cooperative learning does not have to be limited to the physical confines of a classroom. Students can create a digital story together using a tool like VoiceThread or share podcasts or blogs. They can create websites for a class project or even discuss events on Moodle as my class did. They can even share their story with people around the world.
As Edutopia points out in its guide to teachers, thinking globally can have great effects. They give this tip: Turn your classroom into a gateway for learning about the world. By using online resources and new media tools for connecting, you will help your students see themselves as global citizens” (Edutopia, 2008).
These beliefs will me push me to be a better educator. But they don’t happen through stating them here; they happen through action. The time is now. Let’s get started.
Beaufait, P.A., Lavin, R.S., & Tomei, J. (2008). Education for a Digital World. Commonwealth of Learning Retrieved from: http://www.col.org/resources/crsMaterials/Pages/edDigitalWorld.aspx
Education for a Digital World. (2009). Understanding Copyright: Knowing Your Rights and Knowing When You’re Right. Retrieved from: http://www.colfinder.org/materials/Education_for_a_Digital_World/Education_for_a_Digital_World_complete.pdf
Edutopia. (2008). Ten Top Tips for Teaching with New Media.
ISTE Wikispaces. (n.d.). Retrieved from the ISTE Wiki: http://nets-implementation.iste.wikispaces.net/Communication++and+Collaboration
ISTE Wikispaces. (n.d.). Retrieved from the ISTE Wiki: http://nets-implementation.iste.wikispaces.net/Critical+Thinking,+Problem+Solving,+and+Decision+Making
Marzano, R.J., Pickering D.J., & Pollock, J.E. (2001). Classroom Instruction that Works. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
Net Trekker Inc. (2009). 10 Tips to Keep Students Safe in a Web 2.0 World. Retrieved from: http://marketing.nettrekker.com/images/pdf/ebook/ebook_-_web_2_0.pdf
Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. (2008). K-12 Educational Technology Learning Standards Retrieved from: http://www.k12.wa.us/edtech/pubdocs/K12EdTechStandards_12-08_MostRecent.pdf
Partnership for 21st Century Skills. (2008). 21st Century Skills, Education & Competitiveness: A Resource and Policy Guide.
Schaffhauser, Dian. (2009). “Which Came First – The Technology or the Pedagogy?” THE Journal.
United States Copyright Office. (2009). Copyright and Fair Use Guidelines for Teachers. Retrieved from: http://www.techlearning.com/techlearning/pdf/events/techforum/tx05/TeacherCopyright_chart.pdf