Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Reflection on Sylvia Martinez's Presentation: Web 2.0 Share The Adventure

As I watched Sylvia Martinez's K12 Online presentation, "Web 2.0 Share The Adventure" it brought me back to yesterday. Yesterday I was fortunate to take part in Edubloggercon East 08 in Newton, MA. Early in the day I had the chance to discuss whether teachers should know about all the tools they use in their classrooms with the attendees of this "unconference" and particularly Ewan McIntosh. It was a great discussion. I found myself disagreeing with Ewan on this topic.

I feel that teachers do not need to know how to use each of the tools their students use to demonstrate their learning. The classroom teacher should be an active participant in observing their student's work throughout the process and ensure that their students are achieving the learning goals of the activity. Ewan feels (please correct me in the comment section if I'm not articulating this well) that a teacher should know how to use the tools that their students use. I'm curious how Sylvia Martinez would respond to this discussion. After viewing her presentation, I would guess she would be in agreement with me.

There are so many web-based tools available to students and teachers to demonstrate learning I do not see how a teacher can know them all (or should). Should students be limited to the handful of tools a teacher may be aware of and know how to use? Should all students demonstrate their learning using the same tool? I believe this can provide great opportunities for students to help teachers learn about more and more Web 2.0 tools - let their students teach them how to use them.

The key here for me is that the teacher can not leave the student to his/her own accord to just complete the project. The classroom teacher should be continually assessing how his/her students are progressing towards the completion of their project and how well they are reaching the learning goals of the project. Students are willing to learn new tools on their time. I have found in the past 6 years of working in one-to-one environments that students really enjoy teaching their teachers about new ways to use technology in the classroom. Why hold them back?

On a separate note...
I am looking forward to the creation of a student podcasting team at my school in the fall. I have a new lab set up for multimedia work and I'm tremendously excited to learn with my students as we create podcasts for our school community and the world. I'll use many of the ideas that Sylvia mentioned in this outstanding presentation to move us forward.

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1 comment:

sylvia martinez said...

Thanks for the nice comments, Mike!

I think you've made a good argument here, but I wouldn't necessarily disagree with Ewan, especially without hearing his whole commentary.

Of course teachers "should" know the tools. A teacher's understanding of the tool will help take classroom and instructional use to the next level. You can't expect students to guess at learning objectives simply through tool use.

But if it's a roadblock, if teacher discomfort gets in the way of trying anything, why not work around it. From what I've seen, some teachers NEVER feel comfortable until they see the tools being used by students.

So avoiding that Catch-22 is critical for wider adoption.

I think this is case for "both/and" not "either/or"