Sunday, February 25, 2007

Teacher 1.8 in School v .9 using Web 2.0 Tools!

Confused? I sure am! I am realizing that there is no road map to the school of the future. I think despite the efforts of people like Will Richardson and David Warlick, it's an experiential thing. Don't get me wrong we still need to keep moving forward, upgrading each classroom one by one, but can we move a little faster please?

I sometimes get impatient. When I do I have to sit back and reflect. I have realized that it has taken me over a year to get to the understanding of the concepts of web 2.0 and how it impacts education. How can I expect a casual conversation in the hall with a colleague to have the same level of impact?

I came to understand these tools and concepts in a backwards sort of way. I was podcasting and using podcsting in my classroom for almost a year before I even new about web 2.0 or school 2.0. Once I learned about the tools and concepts behind them I started to think about my teaching differently. You can listen to this in our recent podcast at the TechPodZone. We have immersed ourselves in Web 2.0 and you can hear our take on things.

What's frustrating is not getting everyone to the same level of understanding. My other podcast, PSUCast, is about our student management system. We are periodically talking about how there are a few reluctant users. One of the methods we used to bring everyone to use the system was a mandate. This makes me wonder if that's what we will need in order to get all teachers upgraded to teacher 2.0.

I admit that I am not fully upgraded at this time. Only a few more patches to be installed and I will be up to date. Does this mean I am now caught in the never ending cycle of upgrades? We used to call that "Change". Oh no! The "C" word.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

W2.0 Syndrome

You know you may be obsessed with something when your friends tell you so! Last week one of my podcast partners on the TechPodZone podcast came into my office and proclaimed, as he usually does, that it was time to do another podcast. Normally it takes us about a minute or 2 to decide what our topic will be. This time he added within the same breath, “….and I have the topic”. He then proceeded to tell me that he thought it would be fun and informative to discuss Web 2.0 overload. In fact he said it would be good therapy for me.

It seems I have been going around our school talking about the Web 2.0 and all of it’s’ virtues so much that people are wondering about me. You can listen to our show and judge for yourself, but the Web 2.0 tools are just too cool.

It’s interesting that this topic came up in our school because I noticed David Warlick stated in a recent blog post, "I am so not ready for this",about his trip to Shanghai:

“The work has gone well, and my energy has been what was needed, exploring the qualities and instructional applications of digital content and one session on video games in education. But twice, since I’ve been here, I have experienced a sickness that I’ve never felt before. The only way that I can phrase it is Sensory Overload. “

I do believe that this can happen and has happened with me. My life style has changed somewhat because of the Web 2.0. I know longer sit passively in front of the TV to be entertained. I am now sitting in front of my computer devouring information and more importantly dispensing information as well. I am producing podcasts, creating wikis, and blogging. If that doesn’t change your habits nothing will.

I subscribe to about 12 different podcasts and listen to 3 or 4 religiously. I subscribe to 16 different blogs and read them almost every night. What keeps me coming back? I always find something new that I can use or share with another teacher. I use Google Notes to save everything I find. My list has grown substantially.

I need to figure out a way for people to be curious about the web 2.0 and not my affliction.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Find the Map! Which Way do I Go?

It is easier to travel alone than in a caravan, especially if you are in the front. I have been implementing the many suggestions of my newly discover colleagues of the Web 2.0. The results have been wonderful.

I am in the third iteration of podcasting in my classroom. This time though I am combining it with a classroom wiki and blog. This has helped to transform my classroom. It has not been easy, but anything worth while is often hard work.

I have discovered that the immersion into the Web 2.0 has transformed my thinking as well. I can walk into any classroom, view a lesson, and immediately think how it can be applied using the new tools. Sometimes I share this and sometimes I don't. It all depends on the teacher.

Changing my classroom has been easy though compared to bringing on board the teachers in my district and area. How can we effectively introduce the Web 2.0 concepts? Introducing them is not enough. Somehow it has to be sustainable. Teachers have to embrace the concepts and create a long lasting change for themselves and their students.

Podcasting is the area I am most comfortable with. This is the activity that I have been involved with for almost 2 years. My enthusiasm has been transferred to other classrooms, but in some cases for only a moment. I have noticed that when the initial excitement wears off the teachers go back to there old habits. It also takes a long time just to get the word out.

The problems as I see them in the trenches are:

1. Web 2.0 is more contradictory to what's happening in this day and age of test scores and it's relationship with accountability. It has to be developed to run parallel.

2. The Web 2.0 concepts need to be more effectively communicated to the masses.

3. Web 2.0 needs to be packaged somehow so everyone can get their hands around it.

I have only recently come on board with these concepts and haven't discussed them as long as some of you. I am now starting to hear several of you say we are at a cross roads and something must happen. I agree!

I am in the process of creating a half day technology conference day in our district. This day best illustrates the fork in the road we have come to. I have several workshops that will show teachers how to use the tools. I have only a few that relate to the Web 2.0. We have several people who are just learning to use things like email. We have several people who want to learn about Web 2.0 but just cannot find the time because of the mandates. We have a small few who have come on board, mostly because they are not tied to the mandates. It is extremely challenging working with a diverse group. Kind of like a classroom, except the adults are not a captive audience.

I will be conducting a workshop entitled "School 2.0 Let's All Upgrade!" I will let you know how it is received and which fork we take. The caravan is a long one and my rear view mirror cannot see the end. Hopefully we move at a pace that will avoid a pile up and will not lose anyone!

Anyone have a GPS navigation system that has been programmed to reach the Web 2.0 safely?