Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Allegory of Web 2.0 tools
Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and other Powerful Web Tools for Classroom is an excellent resource to students, educators, and other leaders in the educational field. The author’s focus is not to provide a broad explanation “about technology, but to help move teacher towards connections, collaborations, and conversation” (vii) about various applications of Web 2.0 tools in creating innovative designs in learning. The three main goals of the book are to provide educators with some content knowledge about what technology means within a global society and educational environment; to challenge educators to rethink their pedagogy and curriculum design to incorporate technology tools to expand the learning experience of students; and provide case studies examples of current technology applications where educators can start to being the process of implementations.
The construction of the book meshes well with its organization and lends itself successfully to the study of different types of web 2.0 tools. Each chapter is broken down into concise sections, which typically fit logically into the topic of the chapter. All chapters are composed of several defining parts that maintain a sense of continuity throughout the book. The book is well-referenced, making skillful use of blogs, weblogs, websites, case studies, and references. A novice in technology application tools can easily digest information through chapter historical overviews and case studies.
The chapter on Wikis applications provides a clear historical overview of the evolution of the tool and diversity of applications. The author is very effective in addressing safety concerns, challenges of applications, providing examples of how tools and resources are utilized in diverse learning environments. The goal of the wiki is to allow the community of learners to create a collaborative product. Students are learning to create their own vision and evolution of their learning process.
The case study of the Paul Allison wiki on living organisms introduces the multi layers of the application. Students are learning to contribute content and actively collaborate with other students in editing, combining or remixing existing content with other material to create evolving product. The focus of the process moves from individualized work to collaborative efforts, from individual learning to collective knowledge, from passive learning to active participation. This in turn, allows students to think critically about the goal of creating information for real world audience. Students develop a sense of ownership in the process.
The secondary example of a wiki is the teacher lounge by Rob Lucas, which provides a site for teacher to exchange lesson plans. Through the use of library lesson plan exchange the social networking can facilitate team building across a global community, redesign of lesson plan through peer feedback, and identify and grow teacher leaders. The Wiki of the teacher lounge can provide a critical foundation towards the discussion of technology applications across the continuum of technology pedagogy and curriculum design.
This is a valuable book for the novice to the expert user on the applications of Web 2.0 tools. It provides the reader the knowledge to begin the process in creating their own technology pedagogy and curriculum. The flexibility of the web 2.0 tools provides the educator the ability to individualize the application to meet a broader learner base.
Richardson, W. (2006) Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and other Powerful Web Tools for Classroom; Thousand Oaks, California; Corwin Press