Week 2: Does web 2.0 change teaching and learning?

The question seems to have two parts. The specific mention of 2.0 suggests that there is an assumed comparison with 1.0, but I think it’s also interesting to ask the question whether the web in general changes learning.

The answer to both questions is a resounding yes. As a teacher, anytime I have to look up something new, I immediately go to Wikipedia which is the case and point web 2.0 application which has not only changed the teacher’s resource boxes, but also the students first goto point for writing an essay or reasearching a topic. It’s still incredible for me to see students quoting Wikipedia as a source. Sadly, the teachers’ reactions to the students when they’re told not to use wikipedia as a source leads some of them to conclude that Wikipedia is evil and that is soooo wrong. Wikipedia is a great starting point for any research to get an idea of what is out there and where some good sources on a topic might be found. It is also likely to have a link to some of the newest reasearch on a particular topic which the most recently published book on the topic may not have.

YouTube is another great web 2.0 learning application (why on earth does our school block it in the computer labs!!!!!!!!$%@#$%). I show at least one or two YouTube vidoes in my classes every month. There are videos on every topic imaginable. It’s like having a guest speaker into class everytime I use them. The students love hearing other people speak and audio/video is a great tool for learning.

If we only look at wikis and blogs and how students personally use them in their learning, then I would still agree that web 2.0 changes learning. It’s very cool to have a class project and for the students to share their ideas and thoughts on wikis and blogs. We did this for ICare ’08 and it was superb. Every student got to read the reflections of the other students which was absolutely beautiful. It warms my heart everytime I go to the site and read their stories. I also believe that the fact that the students knew that their peers would be reading their reflections caused them to write even better reflections than they might have written had they only written for the teacher. Bing Miller gets at this same idea in his post where he also feels that the blogging brings out better work. This site is also valuable for future groups going to Zambales.
A question I am left with, though, is how much does web 2.0 change teaching and learning? I still feel that there is a lot of hoopla around web 2.0 pushing every teacher to get on board, but is the amount of time being spent pushing web 2.0 worth the effort? Is web 2.0 capable of changing every class, every day which would then justify spending a lot of time learning it, or is it something which fits in well once a week or once a month?
My experience thus far is that it fits in well with special projects and assignments and for some cool presentations every so often, but I don’t see it infecting my classes every day. I could put all of my class work on a wiki instead of putting it on the portal which would mean that I would be using web 2.0 everyday if my students were posting stuff and not just using it to get info, but I’m not sure that all courses need student feedback in that way every class. It would be cool, and maybe I should consider asking my students to write an online reflection every day. Perhaps that would help me in assessing them as well as improve their learning, but I would also be afraid of just giving them busy work or overloading them. Clay Burrell gets at this idea. He says that a student’s personal blog should be left to them to develop and that homework blogging should be done on a class site. His argument is that a personal homework blog will probably never get looked at again. This is my own struggle in creating this blog. These last two homework questions are personal for me, however my first two entries were more or less homework entries which won’t interest me much in the future or anyone else for that matter.

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2 Comments

  1. Clay Burell said,

    February 23, 2009 at 11:32 am

    Hi,

    Interesting when we experience web 2.0 as students, isn’t it? I went crazy a couple of summers ago taking a UCLA AP workshop on Blackboard. The professor did so many aversive things, I learned more from the aversion than from the content!

    It’ll be interesting to pick up on your ideas tomorrow in the Skype talk.

    (And I admire Bing a lot too. I think we both started blogging E/LA at the same time. He’s a thoughtful guy.)

  2. dickinsonn said,

    February 24, 2009 at 2:01 am

    Alan

    You raise a lot of good points here. I too use youtube in my classes OFTEN. There are so many good videos and animations available, and free, and quick to find, and often fun.

    Wikipedia – I agree – it is not the evil stepmother it is portrayed to be. I too encourage my students that this is merely a starting point and should never be the sole source of information.

    On the issue of wikis and blogs, I share your reservations as to it potentially just adding to the students workload. I think Mike mentioned something similar in his post . He talks about how to make the technology relevant.

    Are we getting to a place where students will be managing several blogs/wikis, just like they now manage several files/notebooks/textbooks? I do the interactivity and immediacy of some of these tools, and the fact that their peers are also involved in the learning process. But we still have to prepare our students for the pen and paper exams at the end of high school.

    Nadine

    PS – I just tried to link in a comment box using HTML, so I have no idea if it worked…..


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