Thursday, January 12, 2006

Web 2.0 Debate


Is our enthusiasm for web 2.0 technologies misplaced? I think that's the essential question Wesley Fryer was talking about in his post Luddite criticisms of technology and modernism on January 4. Wes, Miguel Guhlin, Ewan McIntosh and I are getting together tonight to discuss these 5 questions:

  • 1. Is enthusiasm in the blogsphere for web 2.0 overblown, since the realities of the modern, accountability-driven classroom overpower individual drives for creative innovation?

  • 2. Is there hope for systemic school reform in the United States? Elsewhere in the world?

  • 3. Should schools repurpose their existing educational technology budgets, which largely serve now to support a traditional transmission-based model (pedagogy) of instruction? (And do something radical instead, like pay their teachers more?!)

  • 4. Will corporate interests (Yahoo, Google, Microsoft, Apple, etc) overpower the energy of web 2.0 technologies in their drive to monetize the Internet?
  • 5. How much should our enthusiasm for web 2.0, technology specifically and modernism in general be tempered by the “costs” we hear and know about regarding globalism?

The planning for this event has been fantastic! Wes put together a wiki page for us to thrash out the details of our availability, what questions we would address and how we would structure the discussion. A brilliantly practical use of a wiki.

If you have any thoughts you'd like to share on these questions post them here before 10 pm central time tonight (that's when we're scheduled to "skype" together. I'll post a link to the podcast here sometimne after the show.


John Pederson said...
12/1/06 16:29  

1. If the conversation continues to drone on about the technology, yes. We need other voices in the edublogger conversation before it gets stale. Accountability won't kill it. We need to match up what we know about good teaching and learning with what we are doing...soon.

2. If not us, who? We have the ability to do a lot with our toys. If we put them to use.

3. Yep..

4. When all the toys are next to free (relatively speaking), who needs who? [I can setup a Moodle installation in 4 minutes these days on a $60/year hosted account. It's only going to get better.]

5. It's critical that we do a better job criticizing each other while celebrating what is good. It's the only way we will challenge ourselves, because right now, we are all we have got. (Which is a bit scary!)

Bud Hunt said...
12/1/06 20:33  

1. Is the enthusiasm overblown? No -- but it should be tempered with a healthy dose of skepticism. I fell into blogs and blogging because of their potential to help with writing -- this other tech stuff has been bonus, but for me, it's all about the three "R's." Always has been. Blogs are a tool that can push reading and writing in new and meaningful ways -- those're both skills that students need a big handle on. Add the problem solving and inquiry-based perspectives that so often accompany good blogging, and now you've got math in the mix.
The method is new and creative and innovative -- the skills aren't. They should translate well into the tests -- a "let's get the tests out of the way so that we can get back to the cool stuff" sort of learning. When it's done properly.

2. There must be hope (although I get frustrated and impatient with all the waiting). Change will occur -- but who needs to change and hoe long will it take?

3. Depends on what (and who) the money's being spent on. I can't tell you how much money is wasted when tools are given to teachers who aren't interested in them or trained to use them. Meanwhile, I wait for almost a year to get a wireless Internet connection and 20 laptop computers -- even though the school board approved the expenditure. I'm stuck asking for permission to get help.

4. Corporate interests are like people -- some will be helpful to education and Web 2.0 empowerment. Others won't. Consumers will ultimately determine what they want. Web 2.0 ideology almost requires that the companies respond to the will of the people.

5. I haven't a clue -- and am interested to hear what you have to say on the matter.

Miguel said...
12/1/06 20:58  

Nice job, Darren. I'm glad you didn't mind being dragged into this conversation...I've felt guilty about not ever having our blogging discussion earlier.

I started to respond to your entry but ran out of steam...check out Lounging Luddites at

Miguel Guhlin

Wesley Fryer said...
13/1/06 01:13  

Thanks for a great skypecast Darren! Here is the link!

Darren said...
13/1/06 22:03  

Bud and John, give the podcast a listen (Wes put the link in the comment above). I hope I represented you well. ;-)

Miguel, you didn't drag me in -- I walked in. ;-) And it's been a lot of fun. Looking forward to our next opportunity to debate the issues.

Wes, thank you. You really made it happen.

Bud Hunt said...
18/1/06 20:30  


You certainly did a fine job of passing along my comments. I enjoyed the podcast very much. Looking forward to the next one!

Darren said...
18/1/06 21:53  

Thanks Bud. I'll do it again next time ... unless ... you'd like to submit an audio response? ;-)

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