Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Introducing the Read/Write Web – Tim Wilson

Opportunities for the WebThe internet is the future for technology for education. It is up there with the ancient library in Alexandra and the TV. Web 2.0 is an emerging platform where the web is the platform. There will be a move from a classroom webpage to a weblog. The weblog is instantly updated and interactive – this is what makes it a read/write page. In addition, with RSS (really simple syndication) allows the subscriber to be updated when new content is posted on the weblogs you are interested in.

Compare New York Times and ohmynews. New York Times is written by professional journalists for stories that sell papers. Ohmynews is a Korean online paper with both professional and non-professional writers that brings the daily news to the public.

Encyclopedias vs Wikipedia. Most online encyclopedias are fee based and fairly static. Wikipedia is dynamic – with people who are passionate about the topic posting information. The incorrect information is quickly erased and rewritten. A recent study showed that Wikipedia is as accurate as any published encyclopedias. This would allow students to contribute to the world of knowledge. It is also available in other languages. There is also opportunities for discussion within the article.

Tagging is a way of adding keywords for for arrogation. It allows links between blogs and on going conversation.

When students have a broader audience, they write differently and with more enthusiasm and significance.

How do we keep kids safe while working online?
Keep students on your own network and servers.
Monitor what the students are reading and writing.
Teach appropriate online behavior.
Recognize that young people will encounter unsavory things online, just like in real life.

What professional development is needed?
Avoid the “just in case” PD and look for “just in time.”
Build on the trail blazers so they can show the way for others.
Leaders have to lead – the admin must show what they want in technology.

How to assess student work?
Develop or adopt curriculum standards for information literacy.
Create uniform rubrics for use across curriculum.
De-emphasize individual assessments. (Wikis and blog are interconnected, assessing an individual would be difficult)

Equitable access is important – all students should have the opportunities to work with technology. Consider extending the hours of the school's media center and computer labs to better serve the community. Teachers can give classes on internet behavior or software lessons. Converse about the equity within your own school.

The implications of not getting technology use correctly in school. Change is happening so fast that we can't keep up. We are in a relevance race with our students. The social sites feeds the students' passion – we need to understand what this passion is and how to harness it for education. We should not divide students' “real life” outside of school and what happens within in the classroom. Our “digital immigrant” accent is clear to many students. We need to consider what the job market will look like in the next 10-20-50 years. Students need to communicate across cultures, without time lag for jobs that don't exist yet. There is the potential that students may move on to private tutors rather then public schools.

Tim Wilson's site -

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