I have recently been reading the book Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms by Will Richardson. The book discusses Web 2.0 tools and their uses in education. The final chapter of the book talks about big shifts in education that have occurred as a part of the Read/Write Web. The shift that struck me the most was the first shift- “Open Content”. Richardson describes education of the past where schools and teachers “owned” their content through the textbooks they used, along with films they showed and resources in the library that could be accessed. This is very different in education now where it only takes 2.8 seconds for a student to “Google it” and find any information they want. This is a dramatic shift in education. I found the following picture the other day and it fits perfectly with this topic-
How funny and true is this picture? It speaks exactly to this big shift in education. I grew up in the era where we used card catalogs and did research in actual encyclopedias (remember those?). It was towards the end of high school and beginning of college that technology found its way into my learning and school.
This shift has affected my teaching in many ways. From even before I actually started teaching, I was using the internet to find ideas for lesson plans, videos to watch, images to share, and anything I could use as a teacher. This is very different than the resources my teachers had when I went through the education system as a student. I think this shift of open content will continue to affect my teaching because I will continue to use the internet to search for resources. I now am a part of social groups and listserves that are specific to high school science education, which allows me to find resources in a more direct way. I am learning more and more about how to incorporate this shift in my teaching and to teach my students differently than how I learned in high school. Through the use of wikis, blogs, websites, and other resources my students can learn science in a collaborative, inquiry-based way with the help of technology. It is much easier for students to find answers and information to questions they have with the use of technology that was not available several decades ago. I am excited about the future of technology with these Web 2.0 tools that making education better for students.
Richardson, W. (2010) Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms. Third edition, Corwin Publishing.
Image retrieved March 26, 2013 from: http://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/c0.0.340.340/p403x403/486059_458973554172725_1155529184_n.jpg
I was recently able to Skype with a fellow teacher, whom I have been completing projects with in an online course. I have used Skype previously, usually to Skype with my sister-in-law to see her and so she can see my daughter. Using Skype for the purpose of collaborating and connecting with a teacher was a new experience. It was nice to be able to see the other teacher and put a face to the name that I have been working with in class. We chatted about school, our kids, and a few other topics and it was a nice conversation. I can see many benefits to using Skype in education, both for myself and my students. Personally, I would like to Skype with other teacher who teach the same grade levels and classes to get ideas for projects or lesson plans. This could potentially include Skyping with the teachers in my secondary education classes in college. There is one person in particular whom I used to collaborate with but has since moved away. He would be a great Skype buddy to talk with and share lessons. Using Skype has benefits that other technologies don’t have because we could visually share projects and see what the other person does, instead of just talking or writing about our ideas. Skype could be used in class with students in several great ways. We could Skype with other classrooms all around the world to share information and create a newer version of pen pals. We could also Skype with professionals to share their knowledge with the content students are learning. For example, in my Anatomy & Physiology class I could schedule an appt with a doctor as one of their daily appts and have that appt be a Skype session with my class. By using this technology I hope to expand my students’ view of the world and broaden their horizons. I also hope to collaborate in a new, exciting way to enhance my lesson plans and deepen my lesson plan ideas.
Another new, exciting web 2.0 tool I am delving into is social bookmarking. Sites such as delicious.com or Diigo.com can be used to find, keep, and share websites for your own personal use or to share with others. I plan on using my delicious account for my own professional use and resource-sharing with colleagues. The other members of my department and I are always sharing websites and resources through old-fashioned methods and then when you want to go back and find something, it can be very difficult. As the members of my department have grown (from 3 when I first started teaching 8 years ago to 5.5 starting next year), it gets harder to collaborate and keep track of everything. I think it would work well to convince my department to start their own delicious account and create a group tag, so whenever a teacher found something worth sharing, they could bookmark it and everyone could see it also. We could also expand that and create a custom tag for all the staff members in my school to use, so they could tag and share resources and whoever wanted to create an account and take part in the sharing would be able to. These ideas are making me very excited for the benefits of using social bookmarking! So… I will talk to you later, I’m going to go bookmark some sites! 🙂
I have recently created a NetVibes page, to have easy access to feeds and information that interests me. Included on my resource page are some sources for my career- science, education, and web 2.0 tools, as well as some blogs I follow and feeds for various news sources to keep up on what’s going on in the world. Click the link below to check it out!
Some questions were posed to me recently about online learning and teaching that stated “What would you like to accomplish? What are your goals for yourself and your students? How do you envision your ideal teaching practice using these technologies?” These are very thought-provoking questions. I am near the end of earning my certificate for online teaching and just beginning my journey into putting what I have learned into practice. I am currently beginning to develop two one-semester Biology courses for students in my district to take to earn their Biology credits for graduation. I know I have a long way to go, but am ready for the challenge.
The question of “what would I like to accomplish?” seems very broad. While I would like to accomplish many things, I will keep my answer to this question about my online teaching accomplishments. 🙂 I would like to develop a good, authentic online Biology course for students to learn the important concepts and content standards for Biology. I would also like my online course to utilize multiple types of learning and activities, including many web 2.0 technologies. My goals are for my students to learn and understand Biology and how important the knowledge of life science is important for their life. Through that learning, I also have goals for my students to learn how to use technology to their advantage and have a good grasp of web 2.0 technologies, because they live in a world with technology and need to understand how and when to use it appropriately. A goal for myself is to create a fun, interactive, engaging Biology course and incorporate a good mixture of activities and tools, while using the tools for a specific purpose not just include them to include them- they need to be relevant to the learning.
So- here we are at the beginning. Keep reading my blog if you want to keep updated about my journeys into online teaching and web 2.0 technology! It will be quite the ride!