I was asked to do an interview for a MLS student about Web 2.0 and here are my answers:
1. What Web 2.o/participatory technology have you used with your students?
Blog. I helped a language arts teacher get set up with an edublogs account and have book discussions for their reading of Animal Farm. She has a very low group of 10th graders who mostly failed 9th grade English and she wanted to get them motivated about the assignments. Instead of answering questions on worksheets, they had to post answers in the blog and then respond twice to other students. It took one class period to get everyone signed up. Almost everyone posted, and the students were more engaged than they would be in a traditional class. The assignment can be viewed here: http://denisedare.edublogs.org/ The only drawback was that it was difficult to get time in the computer lab, and the amount of set up time. Edublogs now has a way that teachers can set up whole classes with blogs.
Our AP Biology class has a blog: http://apbiology.21classes.com/
Webquests: I made a webquest for the computer applications class, which kept the students very engaged: http://www.westernhs.org/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=47678&type=u&rn=2978500
2. How many students are in your school and what is the technology level of the majority of your students? What is the level of excitement about Web 2.0 with your students?
a. The high school has 2200 students.
b. Not all of our students have computers at home, so they are not very experienced with computers. The biggest obstacle to implementing Web 2.0 is that there just aren’t enough computers on campus for many students to do projects on the computer. The computer labs are being used all the time, and it is hard for teachers to get an extended amount of time with computers to do a project.
c. I can’t say the students are excited about Web 2.0. When I have suggested to students in my clubs starting an online book discussion group, they felt like it was just another assignment and not something they would do for fun. When web 2.0 is used for an assignment, they aren’t more excited, but they are more engaged. However, it takes much more time to get through the content, since students are also learning to master a new skill. This is one of the reasons why teachers are resistant.
3. What kind of technology training have you had and what got you interested in Web 2.0/participatory culture?
I take trainings whenever I can at the Orange County Department of Education. I have taken classes in web design, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Acrobat, and using web 2.0 for professional learning communities.
I really got interested in Web 2.0 when I participated in the CSLA SchoolLibraryLearning 2.0 online course:
Here’s my blogs:
http://mrsgtalksbooks.blogspot.com/ (this one was an idea I just couldn’t keep up with)
I created two because I wanted to test the different functionalities. The one with edublogs is the one I ended up using because it is accessible at school.
4. How has Web 2.0 enhanced your curriculum?
Open Source Software is amazing! Students who don’t have Microsoft Office, which we use for everything, can download Open Office and have equal access to the documents we post on the website. http://www.openoffice.org/
I love Cute.pdf writer. I use it all the time to create .pdf documents. http://www.cutepdf.com/Products/CutePDF/writer.asp
We subscribe to a web hosting service that has helped teachers do some amazing things with posting their assignments and documents online. The site has an RSS feed, but I don’t’ think anyone knows how to use it. Here’s a teacher doing amazing things:
Photos & Images: photo mashup sites and photo hosting services like Flickr are blocked at school. I have used it professionally to share photos of my bulletin boards with other librarians. I love to search library tags to see what other libraries are doing. They even created a section for Banned Books Week. Here’s my Flickr page:
Our website does have a place to host photos, I think the art teacher uses it, but not many others use it.
RSS & Newsreaders: Our school website has an RSS feeder, but I don’t think any of our students take advantage of the service. I set up a google reader, but I never visit it. It’s enough to read my e-mails everyday. Maybe in the summer I’ll catch up.
Del.ici.ous: I love this service. I use it to keep track of all the websites I want to remember or access later. It is much better than keeping favorites on your computer because you can access it anywhere. I also like it that you can search what other people have tagged on the same topic and see lots of good sites I wouldn’t have found otherwise. I have heard of it being used to make an online syllabus for teaching, and also for students to use to keep track of websites during research. I haven’t recommended it for students doing research because a lot of the sites that come up as tagged by others are blocked by the firewall (i.e. one of our health topics was date rape, and all these “how to” websites came up – I just couldn’t risk presenting the idea to the whole class. Maybe if we were doing U.S. history or something. That’s pretty safe).
Wikis: I have used wikis professionally, but not quite yet with students. Blogs work better for student work because you need to be able to keep track of who is posting and control the edits. Also, on blogs, you can approve the posts before they go live to avoid inappropriate postings – and believe me, there’s always at least one student who tests.
I belong to these wikis:
I use Google Books to keep track of what I am reading. I also tried to do a book club with BookCrossing, www.bookcrossing.com but it just didn’t take off. When I asked students about the idea of an online bookclub, they just thought it sounded like more work, and not something they wanted to spend their free time on. Here’s the book club entries for A Series of Unfortunate Events:
Here’s my account at bookcrossing:
U Tube: Is blocked at school, but sometimes I can find the same thing on Teacher Tube, which is great. I have passed on some great videos to teachers, but I don’t know if they use them.
Podcasts: We just aren’t ready for podcasts yet. Not enough students have the technology. I’ve recorded a podcast at a workshop, but it takes too much time to set up. I don’t even listen to podcasts. I think it is too boring without video.
E-Books: I tried to get teachers to use e-books with some of the core novels, but getting access to computers for our students is a problem.
See the core works online webpage:
Most would rather buy the copyright free works in paperback for $1 so students can write in them.
Avatars: I love my avatars and my own children have fun with them too. I use mine on all my Web 2.0 stuff and webpages. I approached the art teacher about having the students create avatars, and she was interested, but that’s as far as it went.
5. How have you addressed 21st Century standards for learners?
Every department is so focused on their own standards, there really isn’t any room to focus on others. I’m sure we’re touching on these standards, but I haven’t taken the time to document which ones we are addressing within the context of our lessons. Our librarian’s group hasn’t taken the time yet to go over the document.
I think Web 2.0 is ideal for
1.19 collaboration (wikis and blogs)
2.14 use technology to organize information
3.1.4 use technology to organize
3.2.2 contribute (blogs and wikis)
4.1.6 organize information and ideas
4.1.7 social networks (if only they’d unblock them!)
4.3.1 social exchange
I would like to mention that Ethical use of resources is a really big issue for our school right now. We use turnitin.com to catch students plagiarizing, and even with the service and students know they will get caught, they still plagiarize. Some of them just don’t get what plagiarism is.
6. Have you collaborated with other teachers in your school for Web 2.0 activities?
Just the ones mentioned above. Business is talking about creating a class that uses Web 2.0 and they came to me to help write the course description. As teachers are ready, they come to me because they know I can get them started. It is a slow process.
7. Has there been resistance to Web 2.0 among your teachers?
Yes. Most are not ready. Many do not post homework on the website or answer e-mails. Honestly, we don’t have enough computers for everyone to be doing Web 2.0.
Even among the library teachers, only 3(of 9) of us have taken courses in Web 2.0.
My junior high just started a blog for discussion. I’m not sure how it will be received. We are using it now to discuss a possible change in dress code:
8. Have you faced any obstacles with your administration?
Only just getting sites opened up on the firewall. Fortunately, education is catching up and creating their own Web 2.0 sites that are “safe.” The Edzone mentioned above is one. They are supposed to add new Web 2.0 features this summer. Funding is also an issue. There just aren’t enough computers for all the classes.
9. Have you had any parent or community response to your Web 2.0 applications?
No. Our parent involvement is very limited, except in booster organizations like band and football. Our community doesn’t have much in the way of technology. The most interaction I get is e-mail communications through the website. Those that use technology heavily complain that not all of our teachers respond to e-mail or use the homework posting applications.
10. How does your use of Web 2.0 technology address information literacy standards?
Web 2.0 is great for
Standard 3: Use information creatively
Standard 5: Creative products
Standard 9: collaboration