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Classrooms Discover Web 2.0 (well kind of!) June 25, 2007

Posted by davidit in Education, Education 2.0, ICT Integration, Web 2.0.
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I often get the impression that I create my own natural blind spot! By that I mean that often when I suggest an idea to staff in school it is often not heard, almost like it was never said at all. In other words it can often appear that there is an inverse law in operation. When I enthuse about a new tool or idea the staff back off ever faster as I enthuse more! Well not all staff, I have a very loyal and experimental group of early adapters who love the challenges that integration of ICT into the inquiry model are throwing up. I have been bashing on about various web 2.0 tools for a while now, most notably netvibes and del.icio.us but people are not listening!

Well anyway, this week flickr, bubbleshare and teacher tube have been discovered, embraced and loved by my early adapters. If you have been following the blogs from the previous post you will have seen the various scrollers and album collections appearing in the blogs. The teacher tube phenomenon is happening mostly on this blog. However, what is happening is that other staff are starting to see and crucially, to want to have some of these cool options appear on their class web pages. It is almost a viral infection within certain parts of school. The Bubbleshare slider is cropping up all over the place and this is a good thing. Firstly the storage of these large files is now being managed by someone else and for free! Secondly Staff are starting to realise that time invested in learning how to utilise such tools is worth the effort, because uploading the images is a one shot deal. Once the images have been loaded to bubble share or the video uploaded to teacher tube it is then a simple process of making albums and linking photos to different locations, in other words a time saver.

The blog is also starting to come into its own. We have used it this year deliberately as our only form of recording our professional development in our plc groups. It has taken some time to take off, but now it has teachers are starting to see the potential that it has for curriculum work. This blog I set up as the result of a partnership between my school and a school in the UK. It has taken all year for the partnership to flourish and we are still in the early stages of establishing meaningful and authentic links, but the teachers at my school are starting to see the benefits of using these tools to create authentic learning opportunities that have relevance and resonance with their students. Needless to say the students are really enthused about such ideas. To play Devil’s Advocate for a moment, I wonder if student enthusiasm is because it is all new? I hope that it is because of a resonance to them, that school is finally getting them! Only time will tell.

I have no doubt that the Bubbleshare slider will be used to death, however I suspect that this simple tool is acting as a Trojan Horse; little by little ICT is being integrated into differing areas of teacher consciousness. It is a short step from a teacher using a tool like bubbleshare to display work, to actually using it as a teaching tool for students to independently use. The same is true of Teacher Tube, pretty soon the students will be using these tools independently in class, like they already are at home with Bebo, Myspace etc! Once this happens the teachers will be well on the way to their conversion from sage on the stage to facilitator.

Long live the revolution! We have already moved 10 degrees, maybe this last week represents a further 5 degree shift.

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