Web 2.0 – how a teacher became a student

22 Jul

There are a multitude of ideas, plans and philosophies that a teacher has, has had, and will always have. The tools, resources, concepts and stories are now growing and we can expand on those ideas, plans and philosophies that are there. Many teachers today complain about the changing behaviour of students, the drop in values, the lack of respect. However, it is not exactly a change in just the students themselves: society is not even a shadow of its former self, we have ALL changed and youth are simply going along with everyone else.

There are also many teachers with whom I have spoken to in the past that have proven, time and time again, to beat those old cliches of change and deliver an adapted pedagogy that makes the most of interactive tools and resources. Students are extremely confident and technically resilient today, teachers have to accept the fact that they will prove to know more than we do about interactive technologies, let’s just use them in the classroom anyway, even if it means being shown ‘how to do it properly’ by one of our more bold students.

I myself am not new tools such as: blogging, wikis, social media and social networking. Yet for some reason it has not been until the last two years that I have made these a staple of my teaching and learning plan. Why?

I can’t answer that question. Perhaps it was an unwillingness to change the styles that I had developed during professional internships where the resources weren’t readily available and I was far too concerned about actually passing to take risks in my lessons. (I mean, far out man, the most outrageously technical thing I did was a blasted Power Point presentation!)

Or perhaps it was the lack of colleagues who were so far immersed in new user-based web publishing that I didn’t have the frequent conversations and incoming knowledge about them that I have today.

Whatever reason it was, that is in the past. The future now (or the past I should say… a good 3 or 4 years that is) is Web 2.0 – user-based, social publishing and sharing of information. And I love it!

I am a keen student of its tools and its ever-expanding library of information on those tools. I base whole lessons not just through these tools but also ON these tools. Teaching Media Studies has changed a lot recently. The Internet, specifically it’s impact on society, is a strong focal point.

The challenges that teachers now face is to come to terms with the fact that some of those tools, which may be last beacons of hope and light in their lives outside of the classroom, such as Facebook and Twitter, will become a part of their classroom life. They will have to come to terms with the fact that not only are their friends and family will be social networkers, but their students also will. A whole new door of problems may arise such as duty of care and what-not, however a responsible net user should have no problem whatsoever.

A further challenge is for those who lack knowledge of more recent technology to become familiarised with current tools and resources.

I myself am always ready to lend a hand and explain something that needs to be explained to someone with any number of doubts.

The final challenge is a difficult one that lays ahead. I challenge all teachers, no matter how old, how experienced, how technology savvy, to consider themselves a student first, before they consider themselves a teacher.


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