I started out my career as a middle school classroom teacher teaching computer literacy and language arts. Go figure. At the time I was asked to teach "what" a computer was, not really "how" to teach writing and literature using a computer. Being the rebel, I thought I would kill two birds with one stone by having student learn about main idea and supporting detail through learning how to use a word processor and a floppy disk. I did more because I didn't want do two lesson plans or grade hand written papers and I thought the technology was cool. We have definitely evolved in our classrooms. We don't teach students about a floppy or how to turn on a computer or how to hold a mouse. Our kids have taught all that they are well beyond that.
So now we move to the next frontier. And of course, we want to teach others about what a wiki is and how to upload a video or make movies with our web cam. And again the kids are saying - lame! And of course they are right again. As they go about texting their friends, uploading images to their Facebook or Myspace or share some crazy video of a guy doing the a crazy dance, we try to catch up yet again. Only this time, there are so many tools for teachers of all types and of course learners. I shared a great list of Web 2.0 tools in a previous post. So what have we learned?
As more an more folks jump on to Web 2.0 bandwagon, the less and less it seems to be a phenomenon and more and more a way of life. This really excites me. As I shared earlier, when I first started teaching in '89, I was asked to teach computer literacy to middle school kids when the first Mac SEs came out. Oh the joys of teaching students about what a floppy drive was and a mouse, keyboard, etc. It was terrible how the texts were written. All of the teaching was about what the tool was and not about how to use the tool. I don't recall being taught or having a class on how to use a pencil. Just as we have evolved to use the technology to as a means to an end, I'm sure we will experience the same process with the new Web 2.0 tools that are coming out everyday.
As we begin to embrace these new Web 2.0 tools, we need to use some of the thought and process as we have evolved. The tools will be great if they are a way in which we can accomplish the larger task and not dwell on "how" to use the tool or understanding key terms. This goes back to 21st century skills, not classrooms.
Below is a great video of folks sharing their key learning about Web 2.0 and the focus needing to be on the pedagogy. Thanks to Darren Kuropatwa for sharing.
Click to preview.