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Read Write Web Learning

  • What do you see as the greatest benefits of the new Web 2.0 technologies? How have you used technology to transform your teaching?
These technologies integrate several different types of media. With blogs and wikis you can include and access text files, images, video, links, and widgets all at the same place. Combining these tools in one makes it easier and more interesting for students to get in-depth, current, and varied information. Another benefit is the time-efficient and user-friendly formats that allow teachers to establish and maintain their blogs and wikis within the limited amount of time they may have available. I've used 1.0 technology to transform my teaching through the use of home-made webquests. Instead of a textbook, the primary source of content in my classroom is educational websites. These websites are categorized links on my portaportal page.
  • On the flip side, what do see as the greatest pitfalls of the new media? What might educators do to mitigate some of these problems?
A couple pitfalls of 2.0 media would be decreasing face-to-face interactions and discussions, and taking time away from teaching subject curriculum to teach, and manage the use of, technology. Decreasing face-to-face interactions is a legitimate concern. I'm also concerned that an increase use of technology might also affect the nature of those interactions. As far as taking time to manage technology there are definitely times when I have technology break downs and just move on to something different. It's frustrating but I know that when it works correctly it's worth it. To mitigate these problems, teachers should ensure that their lessons encourage and schedule time for verbal whole-class and small-group discussion. Teachers can also organize their blog or wiki to be simple to navigate (easier for them and students) and relevant to the curriculum.
  • What do you think educators most need to know to navigate the new digital landscape? What technological skills are necessary? How can teachers build the skills and knowledge they need?
Teachers need to know how to find, copy, and paste varied media into their blogs and wikis. They also need to understand the basic organization well so that they can design and update easily and quickly, and guide their students in using it successfully. Comfortably navigating within and among tools, like those in google, and various applications, like keynote & i-photo, is essential. Teachers can build these skills through professional development, learning from colleagues and students, and exploring on their own. Sorry to sound like a broken record here but I think a supportive administration is important for making any major changes in the way you teach.
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