It's a verb! You won't find the word 'Netpodwikiblogmarking' in any curriculum documents, but Teacher 2.0 will be harnessing a full range of Web 2.0 applications including networking, podcasting, collaborative wiki development, blogging, and social bookmarking. These tools are so very closely connected, that we may one day need such a multipurpose moniker.
Networked learning has never been more simple or more complex. Simple, in that those familiar with the tools, quickly come to realize that they are very user-friendly; Complex, in that there are so many choices to make in how/when/why to use any particular tool. With evolving Web 2.0 tools, educators can only truly understand their power by making productive use of them in their own personal learning.
Realizing that that these tools are tightly interconnected, and that educators have varying levels of expertise, the differentiated guide below invites you to start anyplace you like discovering the world of 'Netpodwikiblogmarking':
Option 1: It's about producing creative products. Try creating lessons in new media, then invite students to do the same. Create a podcast for your class, teaching them something by means of a self-produced audio recording. It doesn't have to be long; it doesn't have to be great. Be ready to accept criticism from your audience and invite your students to demonstrate their learning by producing their own pieces. Then make a bold step and consider posting student work online for a global audience. The same model can work for creating a webpage, a digital poster, a newsletter, an electronic portfolio... Just be sure to do it yourself first, so you can anticipate the challenges that your students will face. A great Blog to follow if you'd like to pursue novel products with e-tools is Wesley Fryer's 'Moving at the Speed of Creativity'.
Option 2: It's about collaboration. If you'd like to make meaningful connections with other teacher-learners, begin learning about tools that allow you to collaborate with others. Post to existing Wikis. (Yes, you can edit Wikipedia if you like!) Edit documents collaboratively with peers via Google Documents. Start your own Wiki page to support your own learning. A voice that seeks to provide avenues for sharing the voices of students and teachers alike is David Warlick's '2 Cents Worth'.
Option 3: It's about learning. Read Blogs. Comment on Blogs. Write Blogs. The topic doesn't matter (except that it has to be something you care about). What matters is that you become engaged in some kind of passionate discourse on the web. This public thinking will lead you to new resources be they people, websites or ideas. Explore your passions in the blogosphere. For a sample voice that challenges as much as it affirms, check out Gary Stager's 'Stager-to-Go'.
Option 4: It's about sharing the good stuff! You need to get yourself a social bookmarking space and to subscribe to some good 'gatherers' of resource links. The Clever Sheep maintains bookmarks at Del.icio.us. For more details, you can revisit my post about how you can use Social Bookmarking in the Classroom. In no time you'll be exposed to a plethora of rich resources. In differentiating for the advanced tool-user, I recommend you keep ahead on the learning curve by following Robin Good's Latest News.
Option 5: It's about networking. Through the activities above, you're bound to build relationships with others. Take time to follow like-minded folks via Twitter or Facebook and subscribe to a manageable collection of blogs. Take time to participate in the discussion by posting replies to posts that move you. To harness the power of your personal network, you can't do much better than tapping into Will Richardson's 'Weblogg-ed'.
Carve your niche! While I really believe that changing the chalkboard is the quickest way to impact education, there are many voices out there to be read/heard. Don't be shy about joining in the discussion; after all, it's what we ask of our students every day. What are you waiting for?
"Let's get Netpodwikiblokmarking!"