I’m sure it’s not difficult to tell that this is my first blog post. Call me wildly daring or dangerously stupid, I just learned about the depths of Web 2.0 about a week and a half ago. Now, it’s not like I had been living under a rock. Obviously, I had heard about blogs, wikis, Facebooks, YouTube…etc. But honestly, the “world” had taught me two things about Web 2.0 tools: 1) they are “toys” that college kids played with and 2) they are the perfect unlocked door for predators to waltz right through and do who knows what to my innocent and Internet-naive elementary students. As far as I was concerned, I needed no part of Web 2.0.
Then something almost magical happened. I signed up for a workshop at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ. Lisa Thumann was offering ed. tech workshops and I signed up for one that sounded interesting… (wait for it) “Project-Based Learning”. Sure, I saw the workshop, “Web 2.0”, but wikis and blogs were blocked in my district for students and teachers alike. Why would I go to that workshop? Well, the technology gods had something special in mind for me. There was a scheduling conflict and I was “forced” to choose the Web 2.0 workshop…and guess what? I loved it. Thanks to Lisa, I’m on Twitter, have an active iGoogle Reader and was exposed to many tools that I can’t wait to use with my students.
But wait… wikis, blogs are blocked in my school!! My IT team and administrators haven’t yet seen the light. Can I do it? Is it possible to show them that these tools can change the way our students and teachers learn/communicate/live? After immersing myself in this “brand new world” I realized my elementary students were NOT Internet-naive. Each year, we discuss Internet safety and the threat of predators. Many of them have email/IM services that they use at home. I’ve always been a supporter of supervised computer use with students… so what’s stopping my district?
Lack of knowlege: it was stopping me too, a week and a half ago. My plan for this blog is to share the steps I take with my students and our administrators. First, my fifth grade students are learning about Web 2.0 by reading ed. tech blogs. (If they are blocked, I print them out at home so the kids can read them.) Then, they will use the Persuasive Writing Tools on readwritethink.com to map out a persuasive essay arguing for or against the use of Web 2.0 tools in school. (I’ll send the final drafts to our administration…sneaky, I know) Next, I’m working on a project with my GT students. I’d like their final presentation to be a VoiceThread. I’ll see how my principal feels about allowing comments!
Thanks for reading. I hope that if you’re on the same journey as me (or have been through it already) that you’ll take a minute to respond to my posts. I’d appreciate any comments, suggestions or advice you might have!