Saturday monring started off as usual: sleep in, make coffee, check Twitter. Since Twitter is a big part of my personal learning network (PLN) I never know quite what to expect or what I’ll learn each time I check Tweets from my Tweeple. Well that morning one of the first things I saw was that someone was streaming a workshop on Classroom 2.0 in Chicago. Easy enough. Just click on the link and I’m watching through someone’s webcam as they are presenting in Chicago. So far, so good. Free peeking into someone’s presentation 1800 miles away. Next thing I hear, they are going to be asking for people to Skype in and share about our Web 2.0 experiences. I look at the list of fellow lurkers and there’s only about 8 people on the list. One of them is getting cold feet already because it’s Steve Hargadon on the other end leading the workshop. I’m like, it’s only Steve. I’ve got my Skype account, my webcam setting on top of my lamp pointing at me, how hard could it be. After listening to several others Skype in without video, I dial up Steve and they answer. They’re glad I have video because using Skype with video is one of the facets they want to show the perople there. Now I’m up on their big screen and I begin to see how large the room really is. Educators from all over the Chicago area eager to hear what great things I am doing with Web 2.0 at my school. I start by sharing who I am and where I live. I am Tech Coordinator of my school and Chairman of the District tech committee. And then one of the attendees asked me, “What web 2.0 tools or web sites do students at your school seem to like best or use most?” Uhhh. My mind went blank. Well, other than the occasional podcast they create in 8th grade computer class, or the Wetpaint wiki I started for 6th graders last year, students at my school don’t really do much in the way of web 2.0 stuff because TEACHERS at my school don’t know much about what is out there. And I realized that I really haven’t been doing all that much to get my staff going in this direction.
So what are people in other school really doing? Or are there many like me who are learning a lot everyday, but not really sure how to get going? What is the best first step? What is truly considered a web 2.0 tool anyway? Did the people at the workshop see me as I saw myself, as someone who really isn’t using much in the way of web 2.0 tools WITH the students yet?
Steve noticed that my daughter was near me earlier when I Skyped in. He asked me what SHE liked to do on the Internet. I called her over and asked her. I knew she had been finding lots of great sites on her own that kept her busy in all of her spare time. So I asked her to tell the people what her favorite web 2.0 site she used. Her answer? Club Penquin. Yeah, I said, it’s a great tool for her to learn beginning social networking. OK. Well, that went well. Hang up. Thank you. Goodbye. Fortunately, I think they were all ready for lunch and weren’t really thinking too much about my lack of web 2.0 success at my school.
Today I really started thinking about it. What WERE other schools doing? I posted the question to Google and one link I found right away was “A Day in the Life of Web 2.0” by David Warlick and posted onthe TechLearning web site. The date? October 2006. Two years ago! And what were web 2.0 teachers doing? Downloading podcasts, blogging, using social bookmarks, syndicating using RSS, using wikis, recording class presentations for podcasts. And much more. This was TWO YEARS ago already!
At least, I told myself, I was heading IN THE RIGHT direction for the last 6 months anyway. I started my own Ning for teachers in my district, use Twitter everyday to keep learning, and keep putting new ideas in front of my teachers when I can to make them more aware of the great tools that are out there for them and their students on the Internet. But there is only so much they can accomplish and they always seem to be so busy do school the regular way. What is it going to take to convince them that there are some great Web 2.0 tools that will improve the way they teacher and students learn?