Throughout history, educators still struggle to effectively utilize technology to enhance student learning. I support Richardson's (2010) assertions, that we must be connected and engaged in learning how to use these new technological tools, so we can better teach and serve students. Learning by the traditional “skill and drill” or “chalk and talk” lectures, is becoming a thing of the past. Richardson's (2010) contends, that it is okay for teachers to be selfish in using these Web 2.0 tools in their learning practices. Teachers must shift their attitudes and beliefs from what they think is best for students, to what actually works. Students in the 21st century are more equipped with digital literacy now, than in years past. If we are to challenge our students to become readers, writers, and publishers using web 2.0 tools, then teachers must first learn to do so. Furthermore, a school environment can be established where teachers engage students in lessons that affords them the opportunity to create, innovate, collaborate, communicate, problem solve and think critically.
Internet tools I am excited to learn more about would be Weblogs, Wikis, and RSS feeds. I want to learn more about these Web 2.0 digital tools, because I hear bits and pieces of information about them. However, I am still a novice at how to use or incorporate these tools into my teaching practices. I am also exited to use these digital tools to help engage my at-risk students, who often find school boring or irrelevant to their lives. Web 2.0 tools are just becoming more widely used now in my school, with the recent adoption of a blended learning model. Currently, teachers and students have been nudged into using 21st century technology and Web 2.0 tools to increase student achievement and learning. After reading A Day in the Life of Web 2.0 by David Warlick, I found it easy to recognize that use of these Web 2.0 tools occurs daily, especially at my school. Some educators are so experienced at using these tools, that it becomes second nature. In various classrooms, you will find the use of technology handheld devices such as the IPads and Kindles to deliver educational content to students. In addition, English classes are incorporating blogging into their lessons, as students write essays, and share their personal thoughts and opinions. Science classes have used padlet.com, Google Docs, Linoit, and Symbaloo, to organize thoughts, collaborate, share ideas, complete research, and display work that students produce. Teachers are using collaboration community tools, so they can share important files, and scheduled events in the calendar not just in the local school, but across the district as well. Moreover, students in digital and computer classes are able to publish their work on sites such as School tube, Prezi and Glogster.
Although we have incorporated use of Web 2.0 tools in my school, it is just a scratch on the surface. In order for our at-risk students to be successful in the 21st century, teachers need to learn more and become more comfortable with using these tools. I have used at least most of these productivity tools in my own personal practice, to not only enhance my teaching and instruction, but also to increase higher order thinking in my classroom. Tools such as blogging, online photo galleries, and social networking, will increase more engagement in my students and afford digital learners the opportunity to create products that can be shared globally. More importantly, these technology tools also are beneficial, because they avail not only multiple avenues for students to create and publish their work, but cater to all learning modalities, ability levels or cultures. Teacher must be adequately prepared in their pedagogical and instructional practices, to effectively utilize technological tools to help students reach their learning goals.
Richardson, W. (2010). Blogs, wikis, podcasts, and other powerful web tools for classrooms. (3rd ed.). Thousand Oak, California: Corwin