WEB 2.0 – WIDENING THE LITERACY GAP?

June 8, 2008 at 10:26 pm | Posted in ICT, literacy, Technology | 1 Comment
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Authored by Chris Woods
(Each student in GMST has written their own post for our class blog.)

The Thornburg Center blog quotes Chris Dede, who In a 1997 statement to the Public Communication of Science and Technology Panel says,

The most dangerous experiment we can conduct with our children is to keep schooling the same at a time when every other aspect of our society is dramatically changing.
Although this was penned in 1997, it perhaps rings more true today than ever, considering the prevalence of the idea of Web 2.0. The tools available to classroom teachers are more powerful than ever before, and without any doubt, more and more educators will begin to take advantage of these tools, providing great long-term benefits to their students.

One unfortunate aspect of the Web 2.0 concept that exists is its availability, or the lack thereof. As a prospective urban teacher, how can I be excited about the use of Web 2.0 in my classroom when my district’s resources are a mere fraction of surrounding districts? Will Web 2.0 simply widen the literacy gap between students in high-needs districts and those who are not?

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  1. From the information that I have read, teachers have access to technology it is just being underused due to lack of knowledge, time and professional develpment. Researchers find that extracting the full learning return from a technology investment requires much more than the mere introduction of technology with software and web resources aligned with the curriculum. http://www.cisco.com/web/strategy/docs/education/Multimodal-Learning-Through-Media.pdf. In many urban, rural and suburban schools, technology is accessible but is underused or is primarily used by administration and not for instruction. http://www.nea.org/research/images/08gainsandgapsedtech.pdf. In many respects, the public and policy makers do not seem very supportive in technology advances for teachers (what a suprise?), yet want to have technology implemented in the classroom. At this time, being creative with the resources that teachers do have is most important in implementing technology for instruction in the classroom. If the funds are needed and the technology is not available one possibility is writing a grant. http://teachdigital.pbwiki.com/grantsforschools. In my observations in the Rochester School District, I have noted a Math teacher who obtained a smart board through grant writing, but it I did not see the advantage in having the smart board because it really wasn’t being used for instruction, although the teacher had good intentions. For professional development, I have found that online collaboration is free and I can use it at my convenience without having to approach an administrator for approval. http://www.speedofcreativity.org/resources/videos-for-pd/
    I am not currently a teacher, but have heard that collaboration within a school is often underused—-what more powerful way to implement technology in our own learning? On my on journey of blogging and gaining access to not only free resources but a beginning in using the tools that have become available to me as a pre service teacher, I have noted Wesley Fryer’s http://www.speedofcreativity.org/ website as a resource for professional development in educational technology and teacher collaboration.


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