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?

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