Web 2.0 and classrooms of today go hand in hand. If our students are using these technology tools, we should be using them in our classrooms. Something that struck me was what Steve Hargadon said in his presentation, “We will not feel good if students are turning off their best learning when they go to school.” Sharing, socializing, collaborating are how our youth learn today. I remember a couple of years ago, I had some students who were into sharing movies/videos that they had created and posted on YouTube in their free time. I was amazed at not just how well they knew the technology to create the videos, but that some of the content of the videos actually had educational qualities to them. I remember thinking, I need to have this class create projects and let them choose to create videos as an option for an assessment. After studying about the renaissance, I gave students a list of project options, and sure enough the three young 7th graders collaborated and created a “commercial” promoting “products” or inventions of that time. With little to no guidance, they hit the mark spot on. When sharing their project, I remember the excitement from them and their peers. If I had only allowed them to write a report or just take a test, would they have “turned off their best learning?”
This year, all of the teachers in our school are using wiki spaces to create classroom websites. We are all just learning, and I don’t believe any of us have started using our classroom wikis for student collaboration on projects or assignments, but we will get there. Just getting the hang of how the wiki works, setting up student usernames and passwords, encouraging students and parents to visit the classroom wikis for information and classroom assignments has been a little challenging. I am hopeful though. With ideas that some of my colleagues and I will come away from this class with, we hope to share with the others from our school. The ideas are certainly flowing; we now need to set them into action. With all of the “free” tools of Web 2.0, the possibilities are endless!