For example, Will Richardson claims that many teachers need to recognize that they have a "digital accent"
Marc Prensky says that students are Digital Natives while most educators are veritable Digital Immigrants who were not born in to technology and will always keep their accents. We print out our e-mail, prefer plain paper to digital paper, and still use phone books to look up numbers. This divide makes bringing technology to our students more difficult, and our accents many times get in the way of our use of technology. But accents are easier to lose than you might think, especially when all sorts of constructivist technologies are lowering the bar to entry.To some extent I would buy that, but I do not think that students really understand Web 2.0 at all. My experience is that beyond e-mail and instant message, your average student is as "passive" a media consumer when it comes to the Web as they are with TV. The great majority of my students have never published a website until we make them do so. When it comes to Web 2.0, the environment of Blogs and Wikis mean something to students but Podcasts and RSS mean very little to a great majority. I teach mass media and when I ask students about podcasting very few of them partake in either end, consuming let alone producing. And if I was to ask a student to mkae their own Wiki they wouldn't know how to do it, despite the fact that PBWiki makes it very easy to do so.
Bryan Alexander notes in EDUCAUSE REVIEW | March/April 2006, Volume 41, Number 2 that
the concepts, projects, and practices of Web 2.0 as a whole, insofar as we have surveyed them, are fluid and emergent. They are also so accessible as to be launched and interconnected at a pace rapid even by Web standards. At the same time, many services are hosted externally to academia. They are the creations of enthusiasts or business enterprises and do not necessarily embrace the culture of higher education.This is true of the entire culture: both educators and students. As a scholar who tries to teach Web 2.0 this is an area where so much is up in the air right now. Don't believe me? Download Firefox 2.0 and page through the "Add Ons" portion of the Firefox home and you will see a number 2.0 like extensions, each of which allow users to tag, comment and interact with and on the web. And these extensions, like Diigo will mean the creation of a World Wide Palimpsest. I am all for that and I think students and scholars should be too... however, so many of them have no clue how to utilize any of these resources. Right now we, student and scholar alike, are in a position to play collective catch up. True those students grew up with Web 1.0, but all of us new to 2.0, and we need to understand that.
So, how to teach it? Here are a few suggestions...
So, I will continue my thoughts on this later, including some thoughts as to why I believe that this connects to a number of media issues that have, historically, operated with little academic or professional attention given to them.
1) First and foremost, develop exercises that are low risk and allow for "maximum play" -- When you teach Blogging and Wikiing I firmly believe that the deepest, most profound lessons come from repeated, short term engagement that see the exercise as something that has low-level consequences. Much like a videogame, the proficiencies can only be developed over time, with repeated engagement and with a sense that this means very little in terms of grade. I often add a wiki or a blog to a course but do not "grade" it so much as I check to see that is done. This works well with small classrooms (I wouldn't even bother to do this with a 200 person classroom) where you can build groups and teams who you can hold accountable with a checkmark. The issue of the grade is counterintuitive to many, but has precedence in writing and oral competency: You give small assignments that have minimal impacts on the grade, but they all add up. What I have found is that by making web work as additional to a larger paper then you can a) avoid grading web work that feels punitive (and, I would argue, severely unjust) for most people unless they are in a Web Design class and b) you find that it actually benefits the organization and composition of the traditional paper.
2) Make students work in groups if possible -- The whole point of 2.0 is collective intelligence and students get a better sense of what this means if they can see how others can and do contribute. This includes the shy kid who never speaks up. When they work in these groups it teaches the students that the power of Web 2.0 is where you get intelligence from non-traditional sources and unexpected places.
3)Do one 2.0 thing at a time in a class unless that class is explicitly about the Web-- Teaching Web 2.0 should really be seen as an additive, not a main course. If you are a historian and you would like to have your class use Zotero simply to acquire bibliographic information, then you are not asking much other than you require them to use free and easy-to-use browsers and attachments. You may ask them to do little more than write Zotero and tell them what you like and what you would like to see their device do (or be better at doing). In my eyes, this allows students to understand how research is dependent on collective tools and standards. You can take time to discuss this in class, with other students as well as peers. This is a moment where you can begin to discuss many "inside baseball" issues that are pertinent to your work and the work of your colleagues.
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