Sunday, January 18, 2009

Teaching with Web 2.0, long-tail applied.

I created a power point stack two years ago for a series of workshops I was providing to the faculty and graduate students of Memorial University. This stack has since been used a few times to assist in describing how the Web 2.0 can be used for teaching. Now, two years later I will be interviewed regarding the content of this presentation. Its the long-tail applied to teaching materials... Something I created years ago still has value today. Surprisingly, the presentation does not seem dated. Though, I would add tagging, micro-blogging and Communities of Practice (CoP). The interview is to be loosely based around a number of questions regarding this power point presentation. The questions and related answers are as follows;

Q) Define Web 2.0 and how it can enhance teaching?
A) I like Tim O'Reillys' definition of "What Is Web 2.0" and I particularly like the idea of the wisdom of crowds. I am often amazed at what I learn from my social network. In a nutshell I see Web 2.0 as the read / write web with access to the collective intelligence found within the people who participate in reading and writing to the web. I believe it enhances teaching by having the learners reflect more deeply than they would if the potential for being read by millions wasn't also a part of the web. I believe it is a big motivator in deepening knowledge by being articulate and researching more thoroughly. I believe the act of writing has positive impacts to learning. The web 2.0 also connects you to people who share interests and development of understanding. Many of these people cn become mentors and cohorts in learning.

Q) The "Teaching with Web 2.0" pdf is used for professional development workshops in Colleges?
A) Yes, I have used it a few times... Mostly with Memorial University in NL. It was used for both faculty and graduate level workshops.

Q) Social Constructivism, Progressive Inquiry and the accompanying image. How do these concepts relate?
A) I believe Social Constructivism is a variety of constructivism that emphasizes the collaborative nature of learning. Progressive Inquiry models itself on proven practices in building knowledge. It includes the knowledge of expertise and the importance of engaging this expertise as a learner builds knowledge. Social constructivism, progressive inquiry and the accompanying image all relate back to knowledge building is a social activity... that can be well facilitated by Web 2.0 technologies.

Q) What are the educational uses of blogging? And what are Mash-ups?
A) Exploring the educational uses for blogging is too big a question for a single post. I believe blogging (particularly when you consider mash-ups) should also be described with RSS. Really Simple Syndication (RSS) is the technical protocol behind blogging. A great way to explore blogging and RSS is through a pdf titled "Web 2.0 Ideas for Educators" written by Quentin D’Souza. This pdf also has many great suggestions of how to use blogging in teaching. Mash-ups are the idea of re-combining and modifying existing works to create a derivative work. This has traditionally been the realm of multimedia, yet it can be a very powerful tool for learners to dive deep into content and create something new and meaningful while learning along the way. I believe the idea of the mash-up in education has yet to be explored fully, I do believe the day will soon come where learners will use mash-ups to fulfill assignment requirements.

Q) Why did you bring David Kolb (see pages 12 & 14) into this presentation?
A)I really like the immediacy of Kolb's experiential learning and how it all starts with the first exposure to a subject. Even if the exposure is a glance at an image. The idea of using the poem was to show how a blog could be used with podcasting to encourage listening to, critiquing and writing poetry. And how that would be done with a Kolb based approach. It really is about tying Web 2.0 techniques to solid pedagogical practices. The second example I used was in using the periodic table and how the teacher could post a basic periodic table and engage the students in looking at the table and providing initial reactions through commenting on a blog or creating their own blog post. this would then continue into coloring the periodic table and further examining its contents. All of the experience with the periodic table would bring a greater familiarity and experience.

To build on these topics even further I would suggest everyone read the "Minds on Fire" article by John Seely Brown to be well aligned with how I also see social media, learning and all the related changes.