Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Integration of Web 2.0

This article focuses on schools that are beginning to accept Web 2.0 into not only their classrooms, but into the district in general. In a compendium, the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) profiled 6 different school districts that are embracing Web 2.0. This compendium includes a profile of each school district, the ways in which Web 2.0 is incorporated and librarians’ takes on the importance of school media centers when it comes to implementing Web 2.0 into the school districts.

The article acknowledges that Web 2.0 does still have problems and that it is not perfect yet, but also points out that the benefits far outweigh the possible harms. The author also grants that the integration of Web 2.0 will differ greatly; some school districts will be totally open to Web 2.0 and will change lesson plans and teacher tools to incorporate it, and others will only incorporate what is easy for them to do. There will always be different levels of implementation.

I think the article makes a very valid point; some districts will want to change their methods of teaching and will want to integrate Web 2.0, but other districts will wish to stay with the white board and overhead projectors. A lot of school won’t have the financial resources to make the switch, or the teachers may not want to change their methods. I do, however, think that the districts that do incorporate more Web 2.0 will continue to grow and test scores will continue to rise; and the districts that don’t incorporate Web 2.0 will see the difference. Web 2.0 gives students another method of learning; Web 2.0 is hands-on in a way that has not been possible before and I think it can really help students who haven’t necessarily found their perfect learning style yet.

facebook for school?

This article proposes that facebook, or other social networking, if used appropriately, can be beneficial in a school setting. They suggest that by using a group filter or lists to restrict access to certain content of facebook, it could be used as a means of communication to organize group projects and other similar activities. They are adding features such as group chat and document sharing, similar to google docs. The question is whether this is a good idea or not. As of right now, most schools have filters that will not allow access to facebook at school. If the restriciton is lifted for educational purposes, how will that affect learning and the school environment?

From personal experience, I feel that by restricting something, it makes students want it more. I think lifting the ban on it all together might make this less of a problem. I remember in high school people finding proxy sites in order to get around the firewall so that they could use facebook, but it was typically for school related purposes like getting word out about a game or extracurricular event, or trying to track someone down for information for the yearbook. More and more society in general is using facebook to organize things such as events. It's an easy way to get word out about extra-curricular activities for people still in school, but maybe not so much for curriculum based usage. I do feel that there maybe should be some sort of facebook tutorial or something about internet safety presented in classes, because, as much as educators don't want to admit, things like facebook are part of our culture and society and most people don't really know how to use it correctly. Only five percent of facebook users actually take advantage of the privacy and safety controls, which is a very minute number when one thinks about it. The executive director for the Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use "From [an online] safety perspective, I think this is really helpful, because it will allow young people to set up groups based on degrees of trust,” said Willard. “[But] there are other Web 2.0 platforms that I think are far more geared for effective educational use. To my knowledge, Facebook does not have a team of educational professionals who are working with [the web site] to design specific educational products.” Which is why I feel that facebook should be allowed in high school, but maybe only after school for extracurriculars rather than classroom related things. I still think google apps and other similar, free internet sites would be better suited for that purpose.