Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Teacher 2.0

It's about time... We've heard the phrase Web 2.0 for next generation software for the past few years and in 2007 more and more people began using the term School 2.0. I particularly like David Warlick's take on the differences between this 'new' school and School 1.0: "School 2.0’s greatest affect on teaching and learning is that it empowers both roles with a Yin and Yang affect. Teacher’s become learners and learners become teachers, and each side is empower with conversation, control over their information landscape, and connections with each other — with almost no constraints of hierarchy."

So as the year winds down, maybe this is the best time for 'individual teachers' to consider where they fit into the new paradigm... What is Teacher 2.0?

I really think that the many changes taking place revolve around how willing and able teachers are to make use of the e-learning tools at their disposal. After all, knowledge creation is no longer about learning for oneself, but rather, it is about moving communities of learners forward, and sharing the experience with 'outsiders'.

As classrooms continue to evolve, I believe that the changing of the blackboard has the greatest potential for engaging learners. Although interactivity is important, I'm not speaking of the use of SmartBoard technology, or even as Will Richardson reports: the evolving Wii-Mote controlled screen as created by Johnny Lee

Rather, I'm thinking about any technology that brings the world wide web to the blackboard. Tradition might say that the 'Web on the Wall' is equivalent to putting global knowledge on the wall, considering Web 1.0; but putting the Web on the Wall to me, means providing a large shared window through which your learners can interact with others around the world; and through which other global students can have virtual 'window-seats' in your classroom. Once the Web is on the wall, the interactivity and networking among global classrooms becomes the dynamic by which teaching and learning have no choice but to change.

So what are teachers to do? I contend that teachers need to commit themselves to becoming e-teachers by becoming familiar with one technology at a time. For a given school year, a teacher might focus on "How to engage presentation tools (PowerPoint; Keynote; Corel Presentations)"; or "How to leverage one of many available communication tools (e-mail; blogs; wikis...)"; or "How to have students produce content and products for a global audience (podcasting; video production; online publishing". Today's Teacher 2.0 Podcast is a brief call-to-action along this line of thinking.

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