I've decided it's about time I actually wrote something on my blog. I created this blog on the 30th March and since that time have been doing as the name implies; wandering web2.0. It's a whole new exciting world and I can see some incredible opportunities for engaging teenagers.
I feel the best way to learn and appreciate these tools and their use in education is to actually use them so I've jumped in boots and all and created this blog, created a del.icio.us account (and even have my first fan!), subscribed to zotero, created a flickr account, read wikis created as class projects (a solution to the heavy textbook problem?), watched vodcasts and listened to inspiring podcasts from educators who are already using these tools in their classrooms. My teenage children have been amused to see me with my new MP3 player listening to international educational speakers I would never otherwise have the opportunity to hear. My favourite podcaster would have to be Chris Betcher, in the Virtual Classroom who happens to be an Australian like myself, but the interviews he has done are with educators from around the world.
As several podcasters have referred to Thomas Freidman's book "The World is Flat" I decided to read it and have been amazed at the changes in the digital world that he talks about. I thought I kept relatively up to date with technology, but as he titled his first chapter While I was sleeping, I feel the same sense of amazement at the massive changes that have taken place in the past few years which will have an incredible impact on the lives of our students as they mature. Although I was already sure that web2.0 tools were important to bring to the classroom(and hence my study topic for my masters), I now think it is imperative that as 21st century educators, we have a responsibility to adapt our pedagogy in order that our students are well-equipped for the digital world they live in. While a majority of high school students already utilise these tools for leisure they do not necessarily appreciate the value for their lifelong learning, and I believe that it is our responsibility to enable them to recognise this, assist them to develop collaborative skills and at the same time guide them in safe usage.
I recently mentioned to a teacher that I was learning about blogs , wikis, podcasts, etc and they waved away these terms with the comment that I was talking a foreign language to them. How can we educate these digital natives if we don't understand the world they are growing up in? While I can appreciate that this is a steep learning curve for many teachers, it is essential that we bring our pedagogy up to the 21st century, if it is to have any relevance to our students. Of greater concern is the fact that many new graduate teachers have no idea of Web2.0. According to a lecturer I spoke to there is no time to cover this in any detail, however I would suggest that a major rethink of the areas covered in an education degree is long overdue.
My major frustration is not having classes of my own so that I can practice what I preach, however at least I can use my free time to educate myself and reflect on the many ways the read/write web, as Web2.0 is often referred to, can be used to facilitate learning.
So ends my first blog. I'm off to explore the new world some more!
Please feel free to add your thoughts and experiences.