“Me, myself and Web 2.0.”

22 03 2009

Web 2.0? What? Hey? Oh dearie me…I feel my age again. Who knew? Heeeeellp!

These seem to be my brain cell responses lately to any discussions about technology. Somewhere in my grey matter, the cell that’s supposed to keep me updated on technology is hiding from the tsunami of applications. I feel that I’m sitting in a room of people who speak a language of which I only know “Hello” and “Goodbye”, and can thus not participate at length or in depth. However, during the holiday, I’ve gone searching for that brain cell and have dragged it out of hiding, whipped it into shape and given clear orders that now is not the time to fear, but the time to take risks and overcome the horror I’ve felt blanketing me for some years. Like Morpheus in “The Matrix” I’m wiggling my fingers at Technology and whispering my battlecry fiercely, “Bring it on, buster!”

I find the most difficult part about learning how I can use the resources of Web 2.0. as a teacher and a learner is that there’s so much I have to discover that I don’t know before I can think about the educational applications and impact on my and my students’ learning.

So, I decided to draw up a organiser to determine what I need to discover. A-ha – just discovered something I don’t know how to do. Can I create a table in a blog? I tried Tools and to copy and paste from a word document, but no go. Who can help? Instead, I found the Web 2.0. Meme Map on the O’Reilly site useful to get a picture of how the web developed, and is developing. I also found John Lewis’ slideshow interesting as it got me thinking about Web 2.0. in more detail and the quotes he used were particularly mind-opening for me. 

Interface: My students have been accessing GoogleDocs to access tasksheets and worksheets, as well as posting their assignments on GoogleDocs. However, although it’s easy to edit each other’s work, I wished that there was a way in which students can share their comments about their own writing and that of their peers. So, I’m looking forward to the next assignment on wikis. I’d like to explore sites that serve as discussion forums, such as Ning. I definitely need to explore Ning. 

With Web 2.0., I think it may be so much easier to hook up my students with other ESL students around the world. I simply have to find sites where those students are – could we go seeking on Facebook? Or shall I piggyback on Jillian’s use of Skype – could I get my students to converse with other students through Skype? I want to give this some more thought and definitely want to discuss this with my colleagues in the ESL department.

It’s a question of finding out what’s out there, get hooked onto some RSS, technology blogs and sites (even if I don’t always understand the language), and then going through a decision-making process to determine what can be used best as a learning and teaching tool. I’m discovering that more and more teaching is changing from us teaching and imparting our knowledge to the next generation to us sharing learning with our students. I have discovered that my students can teach me a lot about technology and how I can use technology to help them learn.

The dawn is rising for me, at last.




2 responses

25 03 2009
Ståle Brokvam

When typing a blog post, click the tab that says HTML (top right-hand corner of the box where you enter the text, just above the formatting toolbar in your WordPress dashboard).

You will then see the HTML code for your new post. This will include the text you’ve typed in, but also some HTML tags. For example, italicized text will have an opening italics tag before it and a closing italics tag after it. The italics tags consists of the letter ‘i’ inside a symbol.

You can create a table by pasting in the HTML code for it. Here’s an image that shows the HTML code for a table with four cells, two rows and two columns:

(In case the image doesn’t show, you can find it at http://techism09.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/table-html.png.)

25 03 2009
Ståle Brokvam

As for Facebook, I wouldn’t touch it in class. Kids like it, but it’s a can of worms if you start using it for school. For a start, the Facebook terms of use explicitly state that it’s for people who are at least 13 years old AND in High School or beyond.

Also, there’s been plenty of cases where Facebook friendships between teachers and students lead to all sorts of grey areas:

* What if you witness students bullying each other on Facebook? You only see it because you’re their “friend” and this is not a school activity, so what authority do you have to intervene?

*What if someone challenges a teacher’s impartiality if they’re friends with some students on Facebook and not others?

*What if a teacher (or his/her friend) posts inappropriate material on Facebook and the students see it?

The list is much longer – I just mentioned a few I could think of.

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