Discussion Questions

Discussion Questions for December Blog Club "21st Century School"

Question 1

What obstacles are you encountering using 2.0 tools in your classroom?

Obstacles include web filters that are too stringent and prevent collaborative shared spaces (i.e. blogs, wikis, etc.).

Time to learn the tools in order to incorporate them into classroom practices is also a huge obstacle. Lack of time devoted to professional development for integration of technology has been identified in some research studies as the number one issue teachers identified which keep teachers from trying new ideas.

Lack of vision (from ignorance?) on the part of administrators and teachers for the potential and capabilities of these tools to flattern the walls of our classrooms and better prepare our students for the 21st century global economy.

(JWagner) I am not in a traditional classroom -- I encourage teachers to use technology in their classrooms via my online projects............however, I do see many obstables.
I think the #1 obstacle is the unknown -- they aren't ready to blindly go forward (grins, like many of us did) but they want someone there with them in case of confusion or error. I have made several powerpoints (as others have as well) to provide a bit of hand-holding along the way.

I belieive that the #2 obstacle is stubborness and comfortableness. There are some REALLY great teachers out there -- that web 2.0 tools would just be the icing on the cake. They are already doing a good job -- they know it -- their admin knows it -- parents and students know it -- and there is the reluctantness to break out of that comfort zone. There is extra effort to be better than great - and a lot of people, would prefer just to stay content where they are (which for some, is a pretty good place. Web 2 would only extend the great work they are doing)

Question 2

In the movie about the SLA, Chris talks about the aim of School 2.0 as being 'student-centered, constructivist, to teach kids to be critical consumers and producers of information'. What professional development approaches and methods are being used to raise teacher awareness and use of information and digital literacy tools?

The usual venue of conferences is a key place for teachers to be exposed to web 2.0 tools. Those of us who have had successful experiences using 2.0 tools should actively seek opportunities to present our practices at these conferences whenever possible.

Grassroots level of introduction of these tools can be accomplished through sharing informally at staff and department meetings. Those of us familiar with the tools should consider offering to be a mentor or coach to other teachers as we share our enthusiasm and successful experiences.

Teachers who are using these tools should consider blogging about it if they do not already do so. Blogging puts one's ideas "out there" and as we share our collective knowledge we can better establish networks for communities of practice.

Question 3

Has anyone defined "best practices" for different content areas using 2.0 tools? If so, where can this be found? If not, would this be an idea worth exploring?

Yes, a terrific idea! The other evening, someone (Darren?? Chris H. ??) said that a best practice permits the students to accomplish a goal they could not otherwise have done without the use of the tool(s). Please correct my paraphrase if I am off on that one.

Question 4

The idea of collaboration to me is the biggest benefit for the 21st Century. Does anyone have a progressive introduction of Web 2.0 Tools for the resisters amongst us?

When I have introduced some of these tools in a workshop, I first try to stress the importance of using something like the ASSURE model of instructional design:
Analyze learners
State objectives
Select instructional methods, media, and material
Utilize media and materials
Require learner participation
Evaluate and revise
(From this source)

It is important that the tools do not take precedence over the instructional goals. The learning goals for our students should guide our choices of which tool(s) are best to accomplish those goals. I happen to think that web 2.0 tools are superior to the tools of web 1.0 or earlier. The 2.0 tools permit collaboration, communication, and creation of artifacts that can be stored over long periods of time (which promotes the use of e-portfolios). We could not do this with paper-based learning.

My point is that some tools are better for some learning goals than others. I am not sure there is a gradual progression of web 2.0 tools - just an appreciation that they can accomplish different goals.

(JW) All my online projects from now on have an expectation that teachers will participate in some way with at least 1 web 2.0 tool. To participate, they must agree to be stretched a bit to learn more. The Charlotte's Web Project does just that. Though my numbers diminished greatly (we will have 90 participate rather than 300+ which is normal), I am encouraged to see that teachers are willing to take a step into the future -- with guidance of course -- to learn a new tool. I called it an ENCOURAGED EXPECTATION -- I don't let them flounder but I do expect results. :)


Fallout from the December Blog Club. Everything that does not fit anywhere else!