I’ve challenged some of my colleagues to take the 23 Things challenge to become more invested in online learning this summer. This website includes a 10-week game plan for learning some online learning and presenting methods that are useful for teachers, and that are appropriate activities for the age group we teach. There are other 23 Things lists out there, I know, but this is the one that we’ve chosen to work with, and that I’ve decided to complete.
The previous entries in this series are here:
- Getting Started
- Setting Up a Blog
- Starting with Flickr
- Find some Flickr Toys and Tools
- Blog about the role of tech in your classroom
- Initial experiment with RSS Readers
- RSS Readers continued
- Cloud Computing
Activity 10: Web 2.0 Awards
And…. here we hit another roadblock. For activity 10 in this 23 Things list, we’re supposed to select a Web 2.0 tool from the list maintained by SEOMoz.com for their Web 2.0 Awards. Trouble is, SEOMoz isn’t in business any more. They’ve morphed into something else, called Moz.com, which does cloud-computing analytics. So, we need a different list, or at least a definition to start from to find Web 2.0 apps, before I can try out a Web 2.0 tool.
Wikipedia, itself a Web 2.0 tool, defines Web 2.0 based on a definition from an O’Reilly conference in 2004, which focused on web-page based computing, rather than desktop based computing. Some of the key concepts of Web 2.0 are the rich user experience, user-generated content, emphasis on keywords and search terms, and the ability to ‘talk back’ to the developers/owners. Web 2.0 is a peer-to-peer environment, rather than an authority-to-audience environment.
And I think I see a real challenge to teaching here. Because the biggest, most 2.0-iest app of them all, of course, is Facebook. I mean, when I am asked to join a project or attend an event or plan a program outside of school, I’m asked to do it through Facebook. When I’m asked to share an article or a petition, when I’m encouraged to donate to a charity, when I’m greeted by name to assist in a game, it’s through Facebook. It’s the 525-pound gorilla in the Web 2.0 world, and I wonder what we teachers — who are definitely not supposed to use Facebook-y things for school or in class, should make of that.
Also, I found this list. http://edutechwiki.unige.ch/en/List_of_web_2.0_applications
It’s a list of Web 2.0 websites, tools, services and programs, and it was begun in 2007. In February 2013, the creator and maintainer of the site basically gave up. He says, in effect, that the Web 2.0 world has grown larger, and faster than he could have imagined, and he’s not willing to give his time any more to the creation of links to other people’s work.
Here’s another list: http://www.educatorstechnology.com/2012/12/the-best-of-teachers-web-tools.html
So based on this list, I decided to try out Prezi.com. It’s free, the sign-up process seems minimally invasive, I’ve tried it before, and — if there’s one thing that I think we teachers could do better, it’s make presentations to our students that are repeatable, embeddable, and reviewable for future reference and study.
Dear me. It crashed my browser.
My physical computer was built in mid-2008. It’s passed its 6-year anniversary a few days ago, and it’s long out of warranty. I’ve had it serviced and refurbished a few time since then, but it’s nearing the end of its useful life, especially for Web 2.0 apps that use some of my memory and capacity, but rely on web-based resources to run.
With some finagling, I was able to put together a VERY RAW Prezi about Palace of Memory. This isn’t a polished thing at all; but it’s a sense of what I could build with extra time and attention. I think that’s kind of the point — extra time and attention is critical to the success of any Web 2.0 program — because rich, user-generated content is key to the success of the experience.
I like the tool. But it’s not as valuable as the tools I find on SlideShare.net, where I can embed a presentation that I build offline, and then have the capacity to embed that presentation in this webpage, or a page on my school’s website.
Of course, that capacity to build offline presentations requires that one have bandwidth, and time to build those presentations, neither of which is completely available to teachers; and one has to have a fully working computer, which at the moment, I don’t really.
So, I think there’s a lot of complicated problems overlapping. This teacher doesn’t really have enough computing power to take advantage of the new Web 2.0 tools, and doesn’t have enough for the old 2.0 tools he’d already been using. But there’s some real potential here, overall… assuming I can figure out how to use it.