"What is it and why should I care?"

I created this site to help teachers make the move to online learning spaces as painless as possible. Many teachers are afraid to embrace new classroom technologies as they don't realize how far we have come! Fifteen years ago you would have had to configure downloads, know scripting languages and your students would have needed a much higher computer skill level to to participate in these kinds of online spaces - but that was yesterday. Today you can click, type, and go! 

  

 Why should you be using it in the classroom?



Collaboration 

Students are using the web for social interaction. Why not use the tools they enjoy for learning? Collaborating using Wikis and Google Docs allows students to take group work to a new level. The social context of Web 2.0 lets teachers retain the structure required for instruction while encouraging co-operative and peer driven learning.




Personal Learning Environments

Students take more care if they know more eyes than yours will be viewing it. Publishing and sharing work allows students to take greater pride and ownership in what they do. When student are proud of their work - they keep it. Now your students can grow a portfolio of work that they may archive and share on their own networks.




Computer Literacy

Finally, as teachers it is our responsibility to ensure our students reach a level of literacy that will allow them to engage with the world. Computer literacy is key to success at any level of employment or study. Wait staff use computers to relay orders to the kitchen. Construction workers use portable laptops to track inventory. If we want our students to be successful we must give them the tools and the skills that go with them.



There are hundreds of online tools social media networks available. The tools presented here serve an an introduction to an online world that is growing and changing as I type. Before you start keep the following in mind:

  • Don't try to master more than one tool at a time. Find one you like and run with it or you will quickly lose patience (and time).
  • Be prepared to fail. It takes time for you to develop the skills to successfully implement these tools. It will also take time for your students to adapt to them. Go slow and learn from your mistakes (also known as falling forward).
  • Be creative! The beauty of these tools lie in the virtually limitless possibilities inherent in each.
  • Share! Vist our forum and share your successes and failures. Web 2.0 provides oppourtunities for professional development as well useful teaching strategies
                         

elizabeth collingwood, teaching technology classroom wiki blogs web2.0

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