Is the entire world going Web 2.0? It was very interesting that as I watched the debriefing of President Obama’s news conference on CNN earlier this week, the commentators used Wordle to highlight the key points of the press conference. It has been so amazing to find news stations, talk shows etc. venture into the Web 2.0 world. Ellen and Oprah both have a Facebook page and Oprah as well as major corporations are using Skype to communicate, collaborate and share ideas with people around the world. Celebrities and even churches are using Web 2.0 tools such as Twitter and Facebook, as a means of connecting with others. Too bad most of these Web 2.0 sites are still blocked in many of our school districts.
What are your thoughts about so many industries beginning to use Web 2.0 tools? How do you feel about not being able to utilize many of these tools in your districts/classrooms? As educators, shouldn’t we be preparing our students to function in the real world? Does it make sense that we are blocked from doing so?
I was a small part of a group effort presenting a 3-hour workshop demonstrating the 21st Century classroom at Alabama's MEGA conference last year. At one point, we had a group of 3rd graders (the kids of the presenters) empty their backpacks of all the electronic gizmos they use on a daily basis. Game boys, iPods, cell phones, MP3 players, digital cameras, etc. all fell from their bags. When asked about using them in school, they looked horrified as they said "No, we'll get in trouble if we're caught with these in school!" Fortunately, the message wasn't lost on everyone in the audience, but it was on most.
Is the world going 2.0? Well, if it is not it sure is on its way. Teachers who are not using web tools are far behind. Students are already using tools on the internet. They do not realize the hazards or the potential of web 2.0 tools. It is up to us as educators to teach them how to use the tools correctly.
In my school district web 2.0 tools such as Facebook (we found a way to access it, but we can't share this secret with the students) and my favorite Diigo is blocked. At first they told us that Diigo was not safe to use and after much begging we just can't load the diigolet on the toolbar.
A lot of the sites are blocked, but sites can easily be unblocked. If sites can be “controlled” then it is easy to have them unblocked. Teachers are asked to use sites that are available, but the technology department is open to allowing other sites. The sites have to give the teacher access so they can monitor everything that the students are doing. The sites are only allowed if students do not have access to people in the “outside” world. We cannot have underage students “chatting” with someone unknown. The possible repercussions of that are unthinkable.
Keep in mind, some sites that were open can be closed. For example, we had a social bookmarking site open, but we began to notice the advertisements on it were not appropriate for students at school to see. It had to be blocked. We are now looking for another site that teachers can use.
I hope that your district’s technology department would be open enough to speak with you about what you are trying to do on the internet. The goal is to educate students, but we have to do that in a responsible manner. If your tech department will not speak with you, you might try your supervisor or coordinator of instruction. If you can explain the value of sites for students, they may be able to go to the tech people for you.
Thanks Kennie for sharing. You bring up some interesting points. I think for many school districts, it is not as easy as asking the tech department to unblock certain sites. I actually work for the Department of Instructional Technology in the Curriculum department and we have struggled for years to have access to certain resources. We often do presentations to show the importance of many web 2.0 tools, but the notion of having to modify and change is a big problem for our network department. I recently attended a webinar offered by Tech and Learning where the focus was web 2.0 tools. One point that was brought up several times was because many "web-based technologies can mean security challenges and content issues, many schools shy away from providing them on district networks." A new National Research Survey on District Use of Internet Technologies investigated the attitudes, uses, plans, and concerns about Web 2.0 technologies in schools around the United States. I found this survery very interesting because many of the technology directors that were surveyed thought it was important to have teachers and students use web 2.0 tools, they were not willing to make changes at this time to allow access to these tools.
It doesn't make sense that the schools are blocking the tools that are showing up in business and industry today. We need to be preparing our youth to be 21st century learners and compete in a global world. Why are we stepping backwards in the schools? Many administrators are worried about security and liability. Have your AUP's updated and make the kids accountable as they will be in the real world. I feel Web 2.0 tools will continue to be used; however, I do feel in an educational setting we need to not just use the tool for the sake of using technology. We need integrate the technology seamlessly into the curriculum. Using sound pedagogy principles such as the 9 Strategies of Marzano are still key for instructional design.
One of my highlights this year was our state Technology conference. Our district Technology coordinator came along with several of his technology team. He told me they were to attend sessions and learn what "sites" and "tools" our teachers would be wanting to use after the conference. He instructed them to pay close attention and make sure teachers had the ability to use these sites appropriately in the classroom. It was a HUGE win in my book. (It also made me feel good as I was doing one of the sessions relating to online web 2.0 tools for student collaboration and critical thinking.) Several teachers from other districts have since contacted me and wondered how they can get these tools "unblocked" in their districts. My suggestion has been to encourage them to talk with their technology department and share how these sites advance pedagogy and student comprehension.
I believe that most of the major corporations that are going "Web 2.0", are doing so without truly understanding the power of these tools. As I watch the news, web 2.0 is used simply as another means of communication without any real ability to collaborate with others. Are they simply trying to draw in the younger viewer to help their demographics? Do they really want open communication between people with differing views on a subject? I don't have the answers, but I really believe that if these corporations want to help improve this county, an honest dialog between people must start to exist. BOTH sides of an issue must start listening to the other and begin to understand that both sides see the same problem, there are just honest differences of opinion of how to fix it.
I am now close to being finished with the book, "Once you Lucky, Twice Your Good" by Sarah Lacy and would like to share a quote from page 183, which I feel really sums up this book, at least from my perspective. "Every decade a handful of truly great companies come out of the Valley. If people did the rational thing--taking the money--that wouldn't happen. Someone has to believe. Someone has to say no. Maybe that's the key to the so-call Mark Zukerberg phenomenon, why so many of the largest Silicon Valley companies come from young guys in their twenties. They haven't yet learned that when someone offers you a billion dollars, you should probably say yes". They said no because they didn't want to give up control of their companies and ideas. They believed in something bigger than themselves and they just aren't ready yet to give up the control of their vision of what their company can become. Once the "major corporations" get this, things might start to change.
In a discussion with several other teachers the other night, it was stated that it is too bad that students must "power down" when they walk into the classroom. Today's students are truly digital natives and as educators, we MUST find way to allow our students to use the tools they are most comfortable with. Because many school districts around the county are afraid of being sued for something that happened in the computer lab, we are really taking the tools away from our students that will help them be better educated and become contributors to society.
Good point, Neil. I have seen and heard this a lot recently. The talk show hosts have blogs and can be followed on Twitter and Ning. Most news stations also have these accounts. My husband prides himselft on not know what all that is. I am not saying he is right or wrong, but I lovingly refer to him as the "Old dog". He gets along in life just fine and sees no purpose for most of the social networks. How many other adults feel that way. Maybe, you're right and it is more about getting the younger demographics, more so than having a purpose.
I feel that many of these Web 2.0 tools should not be blocked, instead students should be taught responsible use and teachers should monitor student work to be sure they are not violating rules for proper usage. Students should be expected to be responsible for their actions, not excluded from using tools they are able to access at home. With rising costs for software and less money in the schools, it only makes sense to use tools which can provided at no cost to students for use at home and school. If these are the tools used in industry it only makes sense to teach students how to use them correctly for educational purposes. I teach the use of many tools such as Google Docs & Spreadsheets for student collaboration. Teachers are so disappointed when they go back to their school and can not use the tools with their students.
Yes, the world is going Web 2.0. I'm an old goat but I can't tell you how many of my friends and colleagues "Facebook". I can't count the number of times Facebook has come up in conversation over the past few months. As much as the world is going 2.0 our schools aren't. Why? Filters! The are killing instructional technology. Kids and students have to power down when they get to school. We need a serious conversation to develop strategies to use Web 2.0 tools and still provide reasonable safety and security.
The CIPA law enacted by Congress addresses concerns on offensive internet content and mandates requirements of schools receiving E-rate funding. With this funding, schools must have an internet safety policy that blocks and filters pornography, internet access to resources that are obscene, or harmful to minors. In adding filters to protect students, many schools error on the side of safety; blocking many of the web 2.0 resources because of it social nature. To maintain control often schools will create in-house tools that do not allow students or teachers for that matter to reach outside the wall of the school system. Several things will have to happen for this issue to change: (1) some administrators will have to retire (2) professional development has to be implemented from the top down to demonstrate the importance of web 2.0 tools for successful competition in a global society. (3) research school systems and share the tools that are being used in the classroom by teachers and the impact these tools have had on educating the students utilizing them. Those in the forefront in using technology must take a leading role in making this happen and provide equal access to education using technology and web 2.0.
I didn't get into the whole Facebook fad. I don't see why anyone wants to know what I do on a regular basis. In a two week period, several of my friends (some from HS and some from college and one I just became aquinted with through my husband) sent me their Facebook invite. I responded with, sorry, I don't use Facebook. Needless to say after a conversations with them, I now have a Facebook account. I still am not sure why. I only access it when they post something.
Lillian, I was just like you initially. Now, I don't access my Facebook account everyday, (I do have a job :-) ), but I joined to see how many of my former students I could reconnect with. I have worked with great kids in my career and I wanted to know how they were getting along in life. Having said that, consider how a "Facebook Application" could be used in the collaborative process. I carry a notebook with me wherever I go to write ideas as they come into my head. I have even used my cell phone to call myself and leave a message about an idea I just had. To students, texting or using their cell phone to visit Facesbook is as natural as breathing. We don't always have great, or not so great, ideas when we are in the classroom. Kids carry their cell phones everywhere and if we can instill the idea of "educational collaboration" into their thought process, just think of what they could accomplish! It boggles the mind!
How do you tell someone what Twitter is, why it's more than a fad, or learn about the 'Why' of Twitter? I just saw this explanation online today.
http://www.slideboom.com/presentations/54421/Why-Twitter%3F. I learned about it through one of my Twitter followers.
Vanessa- thanks for sharing- this recently came up in a discussion - it seems like all of a sudden everyone is twittering. Some of the local TV stations and Radio stations here in AZ are promoting following them on twitter for the latest updates. A colleague shared this link with me this week and I also found it helpful in understanding twitter - http://www.webdesignerdepot.com/2009/03/the-ultimate-guide-for-everything-twitter/
Having played a little with Twitter, I would suggest the following.
1. To be actively involved in Twitter discussions, there must be a "critical mass" of people you follow and that are following you.
a. I found that I was not really involved in many discussions until both numbers went above 50 people. (In my case, I found the discussions blossomed when I was at about 100 people.)
b. I highly recommend looking for people who share common interests to follow. My first recommendation is to visit http://twitter4teachers.pbwiki.com/.
2. Despite any reservations you may have, post at least 5 "Tweets" per day. When you have done this for a month, you should find others responding regularly to your comments.
a. While some tweet regarding what they are eating, I do not recommend this. I suggest you keep it to professional interests.
b. If you have a question, feel free to post it on Twitter. I've had great responses back with information that was beneficial for what I wanted to know.
3. Make sure you have an updated "bio" line in your settings so people will know why they should follow you.
4. Use the different methods of sharing on Twitter.
a. For example: RT means to Re-Tweet what another has said. Note the proper usage would be: RT@gardenglen Intel Teach is a fantastic PD for teachers. (@gardenglen means that I said the comment and a direct paste of my comment follows my name.)
b. Use the hashtag (#) when referring to specific events. Example #edtech refers to a post related to educational technology.
c. Look for #followfriday links. These are suggested people to follow. They are always given on Fridays. The typical number to list is five people, but the number varies.
5. You can access anyone's Twitter page by clicking on their name. For example if you see @gardenglen in a tweet, clicking on my name brings up my Twitter page. If you are not following the individual, this is a great way to select and follow them.
Good luck using Twitter. I have found by putting in daily effort to be involved in using it, I have had good success. Thanks to Twitter, I have created cross-state collaborative projects where science students do the same labs and share information.
Twitter in my opinion is a great tool to share thinking. I find myself engaged in conversations with a variety of people using Twitter. I am a firm believer that to get the most out of Twitter, you need to follow between 50 and 100 people. (Ideally, these will be people who share a similar interest and are also following you. If you follow people who do not follow you - there cannot be a conversation.) Try to tweet (post on Twitter three to five times a day. After about a month, you should begin to see a change in how Twitter has become a discussion. Please feel free to follow me @gardenglen - make sure you have Intel ST or education information in your bio so I make sure to follow you back. (I don't auto follow everyone who follows me.)
I recently came accross an archived ISTE webinar- School 2.0: Technology and the Future of School with Tim Nagner. It was pretty intersting. if you have some free time it might be something you want to check out.
The Tim Nagner ISTE webinar is intriguing. The details of how connected youth are today gives cause for reflection. One major misconception I often from teachers relates to how they have "always taught their subject this way." Recently, a peer commented that the biggest problem with today's youth is that they spend too much time on computers, cell phones, and thus are too lazy to learn. He was adamant that if students would stop "goofing around" and "memorize the important details" they would be much better educated. The interesting aspect of this discussion was how it happened during a Web 2.0 training at the district office. I was one of the facilitators and we carefully words to explain how important content was. We asked teachers to reflect on how using technology could enhance their delivery of content. Teachers were then challenged to identify ways they could ask students to use Web 2.0 tools to demonstrate learning of content material. The complainer was silent throughout this - I'm not sure if he was angry we did not all agree to go back to memorization, or if he was considering the application of what was discussed in the training. As Tim Nagner demonstrated, our students have changed how they connect to one another and their world. If we take the approach that these students need to go back to 19th or 20th Century teaching models, we do a disservice to our students. I for one am glad to have been given the challenge to help our students rise above mediocrity and become 21st Century citizens in a digital world. Does anyone else think as Digital Immigrants we have our job cut out for us?
I read you post, I chuckles sarcastically and thought Web 2.0 is everywhere, but the classroom. Then read your statement, "Too bad most of these Web 2.0 sites are still blocked in many of our school districts." It is a shame.
Have you seen the Learning to Change-Changing to Learn movie on YouTube. The opening quote is true, see pg 58 of
What baffles me is education is the process the child follows to adulthood before joining the other industries mentioned. How does our education process prepare these students?
It is for the reasons mentioned above - and what you have stated that I volunteered to start and be on a district committee to CHANGE our policy regarding Internet Use. We've met face-to-face several times, but our best work has been done collaboratively using a Google document. I considered this to be the ultimate weapon to bring to the table. No one in the group (and ALL are tech savvy) had used a Google Collaborative Document before. The first time we sat around a table and learned together - lights went on and later I had a great discussion about the tool with our district's Technology Director. I'm hopeful change will come sooner than later as I believe it must for our students to succeed.
I had a similar experience with the technology teacher at a school in northern AZ. She is very knowledgeable about technology, but many of the technology tools we discussed for classroom use, she had never heard of or ever used. In my opinion, we need to educate teachers and administrators about the positive uses of tech tools in the classroom. It is the fear of the unknown that keeps many districts from allowing their students to use today's technology. I have actually been in a school that blocked the Intel site. Go figure!
I've updated my school web page to include a my mission statement: "I help students creatively communicate Science Literacy in a digital environment." This will be prominent in my classroom next year. My principal of the last 8 years was just transferred by the district to open a new school. I am excited because the new principal has already asked to meet with me this summer to discuss technology and how we can help students become more skilled in 21st Century Skills. Should be a fun discussion .
I'm not sure if I should be the leader in all this... Perhaps I should take the stand of the famous non-Presidential candidate Pat Paulsen "If nominated I will decline, If elected I will refuse to serve."
Seriously though I have no idea how or what position would be involved in being the leader for this movement. I am excited to see progress happening with my district (slow though it may be.)
I'm thrilled you like my idea of posting my mission statement where it is visible. I'm considering how I can include it in class presentations so students even see it at those times. It will probably find its way into many of my handouts (electronic or print.) I'm just considering how to share the information now.
You are so right when you say that Web 2.0 is everywhere but our classrooms. I'm permitted to use blogs, wikis, and journals through Blackboard in my district but images are blocked so I can't capture pictures of the Civil War or a science experiment! Even Google Docs is blocked! One tool I've been using for my adult online courses is YourGMap. I've taken all of the cities from where my learners live and created a map so we can see where each of us is from. I'm sure you all have seen it before but it is new to me - now if only I could use it in my classroom!
I thought this was a interesting definition of Web 2.0...
As defined by Solomon and Schrum (2007),
i have been pleased to see the variety of ideas in this discussion of how we might empower students. One of the important aspects in this Digital Age, is encouraging teachers to actively look for ways to engage their students. I had the opportunity to show the video "Do you believe in me?" at one of our school's Professional Development Days. I was excited to show the video - then one of our assistant superintendents showed up. He seemed quite thrilled at how this video clip reminds teachers they must develop a great belief in what their students can accomplish.
Have you watched this video before? Do you believe in Dalton and his classmates? Are you willing to make the needed changes in your classroom to ensure he and his classmates become empowered to create and use 21st Century Skills?
It seems that there is a great struggle for districts to be compliant with Internet use policies while still being able to somewhat prepare students to function in the 21st century. Since we know that our students are already using many of these sites for personal entertainment and socialization at home- the only problem is that we are unable to show them the educational and professional applications of these tools.
I wonder if there has been any solid research on the value of web 2.0 tools and student achievement...
A lot has changed since I originally posted this question. My district now allows access to YouTube. My superintendent has a Twitter page and a district Blog. Many educators in my district were beginning to use Ning, Grou.ps and EdWeb as social networks to showcase digital artifacts of both student and teacher learning. These networks provide a venture for educators to development professional learning networks where they shared ideas, received feedback and learned from each other.
FAST FORWARD 16 MONTHS....
Ning and Grou.p now charge for their basic subscription. Ironically, when Ning started charging its customers, Grou.ps advertisement mainly focused on being free to educators. As a matter of fact, Grou.ps provided new customers with an easy code to help them transfer their accounts from Ning to Grou.ps with only a few clicks. Now, I just received an email a few days ago stating that I now had 7 days to choose a new payment plan. This decision is very hard…going from FREE to Not FREE.
Is this the New Web 2.0?
First you use these incredible FREE tools, make them an integral part of your instruction and then have to make a choice of either choosing another free tool or begin paying for a resource you REALLY REALLY like. The word FREE always is so much better when introducing resources to educators.
Voicethread and Animoto have also announced limited accessibility. What are your thoughts and experiences with such tools? What solutions have you and your district found? Share any examples of experienced you have gone through.
Vanessa's experience is mine as well. I have not only found that good tools suddenly require a fee, but also many of them are being bought by others (often Google!) and then they disappear or charge for them.
Etherpad is one like that- and though it was bought from Google afterward and resurrected without a fee, it has changed. Xtranormal has changed and is not as easily used now- and fees apply for some features.
Unfortunately, I usually go find another tool which is similar- but this requires work. I have gotten used to FREE for educational tools and can always find a replacement so far. I believe companies put their tools out in beta, see how it works, then when they get the bugs out or find out the most useful features, they begin to "monetize" the site. Sometimes this remains free, but lots of ads are brought in- also annoying for schools.
Vanessa my wise old granny would often tell me that things that are FREE often come with a price. In this age of technology and all that circumfrences, technology is constantly changing and in order to keep others actively engaged. In it there has to be a certain amount of free user use to keep the hip new thing on the cutting end of technology. I remember being able to easily access clip art or images on line, now I find it to be a struggle to get images. I have to go to the website and hope to gain the rights to utilize the images for educational purposes. Being limited to what I can get for free has made me realize it comes with a price. Usaully that price is the struggling of accessing what is needed. Sometimes, it is not worth the effort of trying to download or use on a trial basis.
I think the world is going Web 2.0, but I also think there is a lag for these tools to be fully accepted into and utilized within the classroom.
One of my daughter's cheer sponsors set up a Facebook page for the cheerleading group where the squad and sponsors and parents could communicate and share pictures. Within a few weeks, though, that district made her delete the page. I understand that using these tools can open up the door to abuse and that teachers and students should be protected, but in this situation, I failed to see the harm in such a network.
One of my favorite sites is Animoto, and I purchased an individual account which I use for both professional and personal purposes. My intent is to post links to our videos for the parents to enjoy on the district website, but I am still in the process of confirming that all students want to be featured, that their parents/guardians consent to their children's inclusion in these features, and that I remain within the parameters of any guidelines set forth by the district.
Educators don't need to purchase Animoto. Once you go to their site, just scroll down to the bottom and look for "Education" in very tiny print. Or, just click here.
You will then be allowed to make longer Animotos...
I'm frustrated that the Animoto for Educators version only lasts for six months and then needs to be renewed. It is an excellent resource - just requires time and effort to renew the plan. In my opinion, the best part of Animoto for Educators is how it provides an access code to give to students. During this same six month period, students may also make longer videos.
My animoto account for a year was over last month and Sandy told me that educators could get it for free. So I went in the website and filled out the educator page and now it's FREE. I was so excited!!!
Make sure you do the same when your subscription is over...
The exciting thing for me about the educator Animoto account is getting codes my students may use. I really like helping students see how they can use this tool to demonstrate understanding. Those who have utilized the full version are excited to create videos that are longer than 30 seconds FOR FREE! Unfortunately, you do have to renew your teacher account every 6 months - the only drawback I'm aware of.
In the late 80s and early 90s only a few corporations and education institutes utilized the internet. In fact, it was tauted by some as just a fad and not useful for more than maybe email. Today, if you try to take away someone's internet access you might be tried for treason. I think we are at the beginning of a new era with Web 2.0 tools. Social media sites are now transitioning from a "virtual hangout" to income generating, marketing, educational tools. With each generation of students becoming more and more comfortble with technology, Web 2.0 will easily find its place as a natural progression of how we work, play, learn and live. The world of education will come along and it will eventually accept internet sites as part of the curriculum. It just takes time to build the infrastructure, educate administrators and teachers and incorporate the tools into the classroom.
I put together an info blog- and "inflog" if you will- for a workshop last summer- this is just a collection of sites:
Vanessa, I think industries are beginning to see the value in using these tools as they reach out to a wider audience. I must say I am very fortunate to work in a district that allows the use of many Web 2.0 tools. Our school has a Facebook and Twiiter account. Just a few weeks ago our PTA set up a Facebook page. Several of our teachers have one for their class to share info with parents.
One of my favorite quotes is "Collaboration is not a 21st Century Skill....It is a 21st Century essential." We most certainly should be preparing our students to function in the real world. It is essential to prepare them to work beyond the 21st century to be able to compete in a global society.
I think we are beginning to see a shift in thinking in the use of Web 2.0. Do you feel the same way?
Our district encourages the use of Glogster, Wordle and Jigsaw but have been concerned about allowing students to "go Google". We have started teaching the teachers to create Google Sites and my hope is that teachers will begin encouraging students to use Sites as a student presentation tool. Hopefully that will be the back door into Google Docs.
I came across this link to day and thought about this thread. Terry Freedman's list of Web 2.0 Projects certainly could lead you to believe that at least education is going Web 2.0. If you have seen this list, have you tried any of the projects listed?
Wow what a list. I love that the tools are all integrated with projects. I will totally share this with others.
Check out this list, not as detailed as the one above but could over teachers ideas on Teacher Productivity.
Web 2.0 is here and is slowing emerging into Web 3.0.But what is Web 3.0? There seems to be much fuzz. Is it the convergence of the virtual and physical world? Whatever that may be. What are some examples of Web 3.0? Would FourSquare be considered Web 3.0? Is there a place for Web 3.0 in the classroom?
I sure am enjoying the discussions! Thanks, Glen and Vanessa and all for the info about animoto and twitter.
As an aside, some sites that are suitable for students start out free and then start to charge. Yes, we understand that all should get paid for their work and they deserve it. This is happening at a time when school districts are cutting back, and won't pay for these sites. So if a teacher is going to use them (and they don't have a free educator deal), teachers (whose salaries may drop) will be paying for them for the good of their students. Will we get an income tax deduction for it? LOL!
I would be unable to donate the money to fun web 2.0 tools for my classroom. I would need to provide subscriptions for about 200 students. My personal budget will not stretch that far. I hope districts plan ahead to fund such classroom tools or I'm sure we will find fewer teachers using them.
What tool(s) would you consider indispensible for a classroom? How much would you be willing to pay to keep using them?
I was thinking the same thing Eric. When I first saw it, I thought of how I could make it an assignment for the Techno Group and then have them use it with their students, but thought it was cool so I wanted to share it with the entire group. Let me know if you do it with your students.