The following post was previously posted in a discussion forum as part of my Graduate Certificate in Educational Leadership. The tools mentioned have been mentioned before, but this brings them all together in one place and puts them into perspective.
Education and schooling are in a state of constant change as they try to remain relevant to the needs of a changing world. Schooling of today should not look the same as schooling of 50 years ago, nor 20 years ago, nor even 10 years ago. The Internet has brought people together in ways that no one would have predicted possible. New applications for this technology are being created all the time as people invent and reinvent, build and extend on one another ideas. As minds around the world connect, this online collaboration is creating greater synergy and growth.
Web 2.0 allows people to become contributors of knowledge rather than simply consumers of knowledge. As a teaching professional, my world has been enriched through the development of an online Personal Learning Network (PLN). I maintain my own blog Teaching Challenges and read and comment on blogs of other education professionals. On the 7th of every month I compile a Blog Carnival which outlines great posts submitted to me by educators from worldwide locations. I use Twitter to chat online with other teachers I’ve never met face to face. We talk about teaching and current educational decisions and practices. I also connect with a broad range of teachers through the OZ/NZ Educators Ning and Classroom 2.0. I can bookmark the links I find useful and share these with others using Delicious. At the same time, I can access the bookmarks that other educators have found useful and add these to my teaching toolkit. This sort of knowledge doesn’t fit nicely into a textbook but rather is created by individuals collaborating and sharing their knowledge, resources, experiences and ideas.
When away from my computer, I can use my iPhone to check my email, access the internet and complete the readings for this course. I can watch YouTube videos or TeacherTube videos and listen to podcasts. Every minute of every day I can be accessing information and developing my learning. Most of my learning in the past 6 months has taken place online through internet resources and the connections I’ve made with my PLN.
In terms of my students, developments in technology allow new opportunities for teaching and learning. Interactive Whiteboards are a useful tool for bringing computer applications into everyday use. Online Learning resources can be accessed and used in lessons. Kidspiration, Inspiration and Webspiration can be used to develop thinking and planning through graphic organisers. Students can become “Google Jockeys” researching relevant webpages for students to view during lessons. With My Classes (similar to Moodle but for younger students) I can post information for parents and students, provide games and resources for students to access at home, post photos and videos of student work and even provide homework tips using a webcam or Jing.
Teachers need to be aware of new learning technologies and be open to exploring new possibilities in their classrooms. Schools need to allocate appropriate funding to purchase resources that provide these opportunities to students.
To finish up, watch this video that gives a glimpse of the needs of our students both now and in the future.