I ran across this post by Wesley Fryer in my return to the Web 2.0 pool. This paragraph in particular struck me pretty hard as I think about how to introduce more Web 2.0 technologies to my teachers.
The day of blended learning has dawned. Knowledge and learning requires BOTH the transmission of content and the construction of local schema focused on that content. Our methods for accessing robust multimedia content are going to keep exploding for the foreseeable future. HOW we access the content IS important, but a more difficult (and pedagogically challenging) question is, “What are you going to ask (or invite) learners to DO with that content?” What are learners going to create? How are they going to collaborate in that creative process? How are you going to document that process of creation and learning? How are learners going to represent their understanding of both content and skills related to the topic of study, in ways they cannot FAKE or a classmate (or parent) can’t do for them?
I know I talk about projects a lot with the staff development I present. Sometimes I feel a resistance there because teachers are pressed to cover their curriculum and projects take time away from that. But do they? Is the teacher-lecture-textbook-reading-completing -worksheets model THE most effective means for students to learn the curriculum being covered? Anyone who has been in education for the last 10 years knows the answer to that question is a resounding NO.
Students have changed. They are digital natives. They live in a world where they can record themselves and their friends with their cell phones and post those videos on YouTube. They no longer have to have email accounts because they keep in touch through MySpace or Facebook or any number of social networking sites. They post their deepest thoughts to a faceless audience through blogs. This generation learns and produces socially.
In the same post by Fryer, you’ll find the following chart:
I think this chart is a great brainstorming platform to leap from when it comes to discussing Web 2.0 tools in the classroom and justifying their use.
None of this should be completely foreign to those who have seen the learning pyramid.
From what I can see, when students are working in the interactive/asynchronous area of Fryer’s chart, they are working in all areas of the learning pyramid not just the top tier like the would be with the non-interactive/synchronous block. If students are going to retain more information by working on the bottom tiers of the learning pyramid, doesn’t it make sense to use what is familiar to them (Web 2.0 technologies) to engage them and cover the curriculum at the same time? Won’t we cover our curriculum this way and, more importantly, help students retain the curriculum we cover?