So I took a much needed day away from the computer yesterday to go skiing with the family…it was seriously a perfect 10. (Right now, the slopes are getting another 9 inches of powder. Sheesh.)
Anyway, this morning I was greeted with a whole bunch of great thinking about the Read/Write Web in the classroom. And the good news is that this is becoming the rule rather than the exception. The bad news is that it’s a lot to capture, and it’s getting harder and harder to do justice to it all. (Especially if I want to go skiing with the kids from time to time…)
Here are some snippets and some pointers.
The possibility that personal webpublishing might encourage a move toward autonomy is real. Just as Fromm argued that the social structure determines which aspects of the social character are dominant, perhaps likewise the semantic social network as learning environment might play a role helping learners become more autonomous in the way described above. If institutions of learning founded their pedagogy and practice on learning methods that allowed the learner to develop this kind of autonomy en route to cooperative knowledge creation and the development of useful skills, we could indeed achieve at least a partial degree of sanity and peace in this world.
But, more significantly, I haven’t heard a peep from anyone about creating a blogging system specifically for schools. That isn’t too surprising either, because it also seems inherently unprofitable, especially with school budgets being stretched ever more tightly. We’ll see if blogging starts popping up as a feature in other school-based applications at NECC, but it is looking unlikely to me. Moreover, there doesn’t seem to be much demand for much demand for school-specific blogging tools, even among school-based bloggers. Perhaps I should point out why I think they would be important.
And we all know the dirty secret. When you control for everything, socio-economics is all that kids need. Traditional teaching and measurement, and traditional “rigorous” curricula, are only relevant to certain socio-economic groups. They are only understood to be part of the formula for success by students who come to school ready to learn. They will never deliver on the promise to be a ticket out of disadvantaged communities, because they will never be relevant to a student who experiences more strife on the way to school than the high-socio-economic kid experiences in his/her entire life.
Educating the Net Generation (Educause e-book)
The Net Generation has grown up with information technology. The aptitudes, attitudes, expectations, and learning styles of Net Gen students reflect the environment in which they were raised—one that is decidedly different from that which existed when faculty and administrators were growing up.
This collection explores the Net Gen and the implications for institutions in areas such as teaching, service, learning space design, faculty development, and curriculum. Contributions by educators and students are included.
What our students understand (and that we, as teachers, seem blind to) is that the very nature of information has changed. It’s changed in what it looks like, what we look at to view it, where we find it, what we can do with it, and how we communicate it. We live in a brand new, and dynamically rich information environment, and if we are going to reach our students in a way that is relevant to their world and their future (and ours), then we must teach them from this new information environment.
I’m awed and overwhelmed. Very cool.