Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and other Powerful Tools for Classrooms
Julie Mathiesen welcomed everyone to this year’s TIE conference and unveiled the new web site, including these blogs and how to stay in touch vie RSS. After the warm welcome from Julie, she presented the first of two technology awards to Dave Ehlers, a technology coordinator from Kadoka. You can see what he has been doing with Classroom Connections at http://downloads.smarttech.com/media/education/pdf/ieSpring07.pdf%20on%20page%2028. Nice job, Dave!
Will Richardson has been blogging for about 6 years, which is a long time considering that blogs have only been around for about 8 years. He puts his presentations in his blog which you will find at: http://willrichardson.wikispaces.com/. Mr. Richardson spend some time talking about the way the world is changing.
The world is changing in politics. Barack Obama has raised most of his money through his Internet site. All candidates have a MySpace page. MySpace will be having the first primary online. There will be much few dollars spent on traditional advertising than ever before.
News reporting is changing. With cell phone still and video cameras, anyone can report the news. Hard copy newspapers are selling less copies because more people are getting their news online. The news is more current. Most newspapers have blogs that go with their stories and it becomes a conversation.
People look at advertising differently now. There are many sites to rate products and people blog about things they have purchased and used.
So far, education model is NOT changing. We don’t change very quickly or effectively. Our kids are changing and many of them know more about technology than their teachers. Kids are using technologies that teachers are not like MySpace. Technology is changing very quickly. Mr. Richardson showed us a short clip about new technology and the clip was a year old.
Philadelphia is making wireless Internet available for everyone. One in three people have never been online. How can those children compete in the world today without that?
Mr. Richardson has a Google cluster map on his blog showing all the places people have connected to his site from. He believes that everyone that hits his blog is looking for how technology is affecting learning and education.
While some students have highly inappropriate, they are learning social networking. Email is for old people. Young people communicate through MySpace, instant messaging, and text messaging. Teachers block these things and we don’t teach them how to use these medias appropriately. Bebo and Facebook are also increasing in popularity. Learning happens in MySpace. It may not be good learning, but we are doing nothing about this and teaching them how to use these tools well.
A few teachers are teaching how to build their own networks. They are preparing them for what they are going to encounter in the real world. (Rapid City’s own Geoffy Sheehy would be one of these innovative teachers.) The use of blogs and starting conversations with people around the world is a powerful learning experience.
Knowledge is also changing. 46645 (Googl) is one way to use text on your cell phone to get information. Content is everywhere. You can go to http://ocw.mit.edu/index.html and take courses for free. Content is changing – like Pluto.
Wikipedia is changing the way we look at content. It is a collaborative site that will allow others to edit the content. We need to be teaching what wkipedia is all about. They need to know what is good information and what is not. They need to learn to work collaboratively. The workplace now has team members scattered across the globe and yet they still work together online. Wikipedia is pretty accurate. There is a lot of chat about what should and should not be included in the wiki and this is true collaboration.
Kids have to learn how to edit as well. They need to be able to evaluate sites to understand who and why puts up a web site to determine validity. Some sites are put up for misinformation. We are still teaching kids to read linear text, but more kids are reading with hypertext. Are we teaching how to work with hypertext?
Teaching has got to change. We are no longer the content experts in the front of the room. If there is an Internet connection in the room, there is someone out there that knows more than you do. Through blogs, it is possible to have authors or other experts write back to your students and give them what a teacher can't. Connections that are possible are amazing and make the learning experience so much more rich. Collaborating with students from all across the world give the students information that a teacher can't.
Check out Marco Torres video about Buckle Up. What a powerful way to have students do work that matters. There are constructive, interesting ways for kids to learn.
Mr. Richardson is an amazing and engaging speaker. I was captured by everything he had to say. I will be purchasing his book and I know what he has had to say has made me think about what I do in MY classroom. Everytime I think I am keeping up, I realize I still have so much more to do. That doesn't depress me - it energizes me! Thanks for the inspiration!