Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The Read/Write Web - Tim Wilson

The Read Write Wed - or Web 2.0 is gaining a lot of momentum. It is such a robust subject - I'm excited to see how the topic can be covered in 1 hour :) There are a few topics I am interested in the most and will discuss here:

Wikis - "The chaos that you would think would happen - levels off to pretty high quality" Wikipedia scares so many people, but it can be almost an "aggregator" of information in and off itself. It brings all the information together and is a great jumping off point. Tim makes an excellent case for Wikipedia not being the be end and end all. I'd like to add that any information on the internet should be verified by another source. ANYONE can put up a webpage and claim facts - wikipedia has the advantage that "the World" gets to edit it.

Wiki School projects: Find unfinished pages and assign your students to write the article. Have them contribute to the knowledge of the world. I can't believe I haven't thought of this one before!

"Every student blogger is a publisher for a worldwide audience" - Audience makes the difference...

Challenges:
Safety - keep student work on your network & servers. You need to be able to "pull the plug"
Monitor what your students are doing
Teach about appropriate online behavior
Young people WILL encounter weirdos, online or not - Educate them about safety, not shielding them from it. I gave a talk about blogs, etc. the other day and MySpace (as it enviably does cam up). We need to harness the power of myspace and use it for *good*. Why not take that energy, that passion and funnel it into blogs in an environment that is safe and productive (and seriously - have you looked at some MySpace pages lately - they make my head hurt, has no one talked about good web design lately :)

Professional Development:
Not "just in case" - "just in time" Teach teachers that are interested about a topic. That is harder than it sounds. I would add to that a more contructivist viewpoint where not only do we teach those that are interested about a topic (and possibly that is where web classes come in, but I digress) but also help them create what we will talk about, being flexible enough to have a course meet their needs. I was just recently apart of a workshop where we found out what topics the teachers in a school would be covering in the upcoming weeks and had training on specific technologies to help with those topics. The teachers were able to use what they learned in less than a week!

Administrator have to step up to the plate - leading by example. A principal can make or brake a school in many ways - but leading by example is one of the most important ones. I actually come at it from a different prospective as well - since I mostly deal with educators of pre-service teachers, I am working with them to be examples of technology use so that when are next crop of teachers come out they have the tools they need.

Now the big question - How do you assess students?
Curric standards for information literacy
Rubrics across units and classrooms
De-emphasize individual assessments
Embrace self-assessment (This has to be implemented well in order for it to make a difference - I have seen and had to be apart of reflections that have gone horribly wrong)

In the end will Web 2.0 be the future of the Internet? More and more the web, as Tim put it, is becoming an Operating System in itself. I for see a day when the norm is being online instead of the other way around.

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