The Social Web
The evolution of the internet has had a significant impact in education. The amount of information readily available is literally astounding. The ability to interact with people around the world, on a daily basis, has further developed the global community.
So far I have been able to have contact with other people around the world through blogging. I started to blog about a year ago, but never had the drive to continue. Part of it was because no one was reading my blog. The “blogosphere” has changed this for me and has opened a whole new world of information and contact with others. Some tasks that I had difficulty with in the first week were easily fixed with help from others, people who I don’t really even know. Twitter and email helped me get direct contact and help from people. I am becoming a fan of screencasts as well. I knew the amount of info. on YouTube was significant and I believe this to an even higher extent now.
I believe the social web is a great tool for learning. In PLC terms, we focus on collaboration to help teachers get better. We should emphasize collaboration with students as well. In constructivist terms, the social web enables students to interact with others from all walks of life, in a timely manner. The “pool” of knowledge is vast and students should benefit from it.
Of course, this interaction needs to be monitored. With the web expanding rapidly, we cannot keep up and track all the bad elements with the internet. This is possibly why some educators are hesitant to incorporate technology. The traditional way of teaching is much easier, familiar and safer. However, I believe students are missing out on some fantastic learning opportunities if this approach is consistently taken.
I think Web 2.0 is providing great tools for learning. I also believe some of the tools are actually easier for teachers to implement in their courses. The difficulty is keeping up with all the new technologies. Actually, we really have not kept up. In fact, it is almost impossible to do that. But educators can take one tool, learn it, and implement. Starting small is the the key and gradually adding on.
Other opinions to add? Please leave a comment.