Twenty-first century literacy skills include the ability to use different kinds of media to collaborate and share information with others near and far. In order to develop these skills, today’s administrators and educators must embrace Web 2.0 tools for their own productivity and professional development.
A major component of Web 2.0 technology is the ability to access and work with anyone anywhere in the world, creating possibilities for learning opportunities that never existed before. For example, requiring students to use a word processor as a tool for typing a traditional book report no longer constitutes integrating technology into teaching. Students are not learning anything different about the book or the writing process by replacing the traditional writing tool with a digital one. Web 2.0 tools allow teachers to literally take the curriculum off the page by creating learning opportunities for students that simply could not exist without them. For example, a writing teacher can assign students to prepare a book report that will be edited by another student living in another part of the world or assign students to record their book reviews in audio form so that English as a Second Language learners can download them and listen to them on their iPods.
VoiceThread allows creators to upload images, videos, or documents and to invite visitors to leave audio or text comments on individual slides.
Blogs have also been instrumental in aiding collaboration and communication across subject areas, grade levels, and country borders. A blog is a Web log or online journal. Our teachers have embraced this tool to communicate with students and families between classroom and home. Parents are allowed to easily share text, photos, videos, and audio content produced in the classroom with the click of a button. Kindergarten teachers have integrated writing into
the classroom by instituting a weekly blogger. Each student has the opportunity to become a published author and showcase writing skills on the class’s blog.
What can administrators do to facilitate integration of Web 2.0 tools in their schools?
A quick survey from my personal learning network on Twitter (social messaging utility for staying connected in real-time) revealed that the recommendations are quite simple:
* Model these tools for your own productivity and communication within your schoolcommunity. Through demonstration, your teachers will begin to use Web 2.0 to connect and communicate with colleagues and experts around the world.
* Encourage your teachers to use the tools by rewarding early adopters.
* Require your teachers to integrate Web 2.0 tools into their teaching.
* Support your teachers in using Web 2.0 tools by making sure no outdated or fearful policies are blocking access.
Web 2.0 tools are just like any other vehicle to extend and enrich student learning. They enhance creativity and allow students to connect to content in ways never thought possible.
(extract of an article on Langwiches: Web 2.0 tools can foster literacy skills, global awareness, and communication among elementary schools and students. Leadership Compass » Vol. 5, No. 4, Summer 2008. by Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano)