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Friday, October 23, 2009

Why Web 2.0 Teaching is Hard



This blog post is for Gerry Paille from British Columbia (http://twitter.com/tuchodi) who asked me on Twitter to explain a tweet about that Web 2.0 teaching is not easy. Here, Gerry, I Hope this is something you can use.

When you play basketball yourself - you work on your shot and you practice. You're in your own mind - your own head.

But then, one day you grow older and become a coach. Now, you have to get in the minds of other people. You have to not only understand basketball but psychology and team dynamics, motivational speaking, and the technical aspects of equipment. You have to not only see a player for what he/she is today but for what he/she could be. (Like how much are they going to grow in 3 years.) You have to put people in the best place that suits the team and not necessarily the person. It is a much more complex task than just managing yourself.

This particular example embodies why using Web 2 in teaching can be more challenging than the traditional test and lecture because you are moving from just speaking and giving a lecture and having them memorize and take a test to methods that require much more individualization and personalization as well as more collaboration. Each person has to ENGAGE. They have to JOIN. They have to WRITE.

They are moving to a more active tense which quite honestly, can make the teacher TENSE.


"Mrs. Vicki, I cannot join the space? Mrs. Vicki, I cannot find anything? Mrs. Vicki, what do I do? Mrs. Vicki, I am lost? Mrs. Vicki Mrs. Vicki?"

(Most teachers have nightmares where their name is called over and over and they don't know why.)

You are evolving into a coach.

Now, good teachers can be coaches and not use Web 2.0 tools, however, if you are using Web 2.0 in the classroom you HAVE to be a coach.

You cannot do it for them (the golden rule is that I never touch the mouse) - you have to teach THEM how to do it. (Isn't that what we are supposed to do anyway?)

This, my friends, is why I tweeted the other day that if anyone thinks using Web 2.0 in teaching is easy is not doing Web 2.0 teaching. Web 2.0 teaching gets past the tools (signing up and USING the tools for the sake of the tools) and allows the tools to mash together to create learning experiences.

This is not something any of us have perfected, I think. (For example, I fell flat on my face trying to work out with my students using some of the Skype extras this week and wasted at least 20 minutes!) However, this is something we aspire to!

So, using Web 2.0 tools in teaching is not easy but it is worth it.

It is worth it in engagement and thinking skills and the polish that comes from being buffed and buffeted by the sandpaper of the problems we face any time technology is involved.

The world we live in is full of change, technology, problems, frustration, and lots and lots of people and these are things you cannot condense to words and put in a textbook but are only written upon the textbook of experience when you engage students in positive learning experiences online.
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