Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Spreading the word, looking for suggestions

Ok, here I go again...

It seems I'm not the only one grappling with how to start taking some of those next steps and spread the word about the best uses of these web 2.0 tools we all blog about. Dan, a math teacher in California, volunteered himself to research and suggest an educational application to bring to his district that will be easy to use for teachers of all digital proficiency abilities and interest levels. It seems some of those in his department suggested the school invest in some PD time on how to update HTML files and upload them to the school server. To do this, they also suggested buying more server space and some publishing software. That's when Dan rightly stepped in. And now he's taking a day off to put together some web 2.0 solutions. He's looking for some input. The best I could do was suggest he consider some of the ideas about blogging that have been bandied about recently. Based on what I've read of his blog in the last several months, Dan will surely come up with something that is both well thought out AND well-written. Check back to see.

Along a similar vein, Eric is in search of the killer EdApp, and he's gotten quite a bit of feedback from some people who know what they're doing. A lot more than I do, that's for sure. I also like the wiki resource that Patrick Higgins has put together for a workshop along these same lines. I'm glad guys like that are on the job.

All of this has kept me thinking about how these next steps are going to be taken. Finding that killer EdApp is a laudable goal, but I wonder if is reasonable to think there is just one. One of the defining characteristics of web 2.0 is the inter-connectivity between users, a dynamic consumption of information, and the remixing of data from different sources.

That seems to imply that even if there was a killer app, the very nature of our changing digital world is that the tasks and tools that it would provide could and should be reused and remixed as user needs change and evolve. Thus, today's killer app is tomorrows piece of the larger puzzle. I think that's how we need to approach our task of making such instructional tools more widespread in our classrooms. My immediate goal is to bring to F14 a more authentic writing model for my students, and it's looking more and more like it needs to start with some form of class wide blogging.

I'll get on that as soon as I get my Midsummer unit ready and under control.


B.Davis said...

-and therein lies the real problem. Patrick Higgins and I have had this conversation many times (we are in the same district). There is so much to do in any given day and the teachers I speak with are truly excited about the limitless possibilities of Web 2.0 and get excited when Pat brings something new into the school. As an administrator and a self proclaimed techie as well, I get excited too. Teachers are really trying to change with the times in my opinion but it can be daunting. Things are appearing at light speed, one thing better than the last and the trick is to choose one or two things to try out and master or you run the risk of letting everything pass you buy.

Brad Davis

Mr. Miller said...

Brad, I agree. I have found myself a bit overwhelmed with what to choose. It seems that once I start to get an idea about using one of these tools, I come across something else. And I think it's important that teachers play a major role in this process. In my school, I'm hoping to become a little more competent to eventually spread the word with a little more confidence and expertise. I fear that if teachers get overwhelmed too early in the process, it's harder to bring them back on board.

Thanks for your comments.