Thing 3: “Web 2.0… What Am I Waiting For?”

It is very clear that Web 2.0 is not only the future but is the “now” in all aspects of society.  The tools and resources that have been created by Web 2.0 are so numerous with seemingly limitless possibilities and are very inspiring, especially on the education front.  However, I can’t help but still feel a bit overwhelmed by a spoken/unspoken expectation for a complete overhaul of teaching and the way students learn in the classroom.  I guess this fear is rooted in my life outside of education.  Although I am only 28 years old and was in college as Facebook was becoming mainstream, I do not take part in social networking.  I have never owned a Facebook account, I am not a tweeter, I have never even left a comment on a website/blog/post (although I’m about to as part of this course!).  It is not that I see no value in these mediums and outlets; it is just that I choose to spend my time, get my news, learn, keep in touch, etc. in other ways.  And I can’t deny that I have a tendency to let the negative aspects of social networking (I do teach juniors and seniors after all) overshadow its positive impact.  So for me, since I do not partake in social networking in my personal life, I think it makes it that much more difficult to break into the arena in my professional life.

Regardless of my own personal issues, I understand that I need to/must embrace these opportunities available through Web 2.0.  In just six years, I have seen a gradual change in my students as technology has become more widespread.  Today’s students are constantly stimulated with all the information and entertainment they could ever want right at their finger tips.  It’s no wonder most of them don’t want to sit still, in a quiet place, reading a book, alone.  Can we blame them when their entire lives have been supplemented with electronic stimulation?  We can’t, but this doesn’t make understanding and analyzing text any less important.  It doesn’t make having the ability to craft a convincing argument or a captivating story in writing any less important.  So, it is for those reasons that I need/want to dive into the 21st century.  How can my students understand me if I’m not speaking their language?

As for my classroom, I currently “use” technology, and by this I mean I use supplementary videos every now and then, I require the use of databases and the Internet for research, I require projects that can be completed through technological mediums if students so choose, and a class webpage “exists.”  Unfortunately, that is the extent, as appalling as it may sound ;-).  However, if I think about my educational philosophy and my ideal vision of an English classroom, I could/should be using Web 2.0 tools and resources to make my vision a reality, while making my students active and invested in their own education.  I truly want my students to lead the discussion and to choose the direction.  Blogging, portfolios, social bookmarking, podcasts, skyping, etc. are all ways that I can make students collaborative and life-long learners and also arm them with skills needed in the 21st century.

It seems so simple.  Web 2.0 is clearly valuable and should no longer be avoided.  It can transform my classroom and my students’ learning.  So what am I waiting for??

2 thoughts on “Thing 3: “Web 2.0… What Am I Waiting For?”

  1. I love this. I am hesitant and wary about implementing the whole thing, too, but I know that I’m going to need to. You’re right – if I’m not speaking in a language my students understand, how will they understand me? (Though I secretly just want to convince them that reading a book quietly and alone is super awesome, even more awesome than tweeting and Facebook. Hard sell, I know.) I admire you for keeping out of social media in your personal life. It’s something I participate in and sometimes (often) wish I didn’t…but I think you’re right that a class blog or skyping or portfolios or social bookmarking will all help my students energetically collaborate with each other and learn to be life-long learners. I’ve heard that “slow and steady wins the race.” So, here’s to starting slowly!

  2. There are a lot of Web 2.0 tools available, almost to many. There is no way to master them all. But… If you pick just two and try you can and will be successful. It does take time and there is a pretty big learning curve but it is worthwhile. It really can transform your classroom.

    I have really enjoyed reading this blog. You are a very reflective teacher and writer! That my friend is half the battle! Knowing that tools exist and that tools can help is one thing. Having a willingness to try something new is awesome! My hope is that we can create an environment at school where you can try something innovative and mew knowing that if it fails its just part of the learning journey!

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