Thursday, April 30, 2009

Barriers to Web 2.0 in Schools

"Teachers and students are largely driving the adoption of Web 2.0 technologies in schools, but human and technological barriers are holding back the use of these as learning tools in many classrooms, according to a new study..."

From an article in eSchool News.

Here's an area where many of us can make a difference. We can connect with teachers and officials in our local schools and help improve their understanding and use of Web 2.0 tools.

Why would I recommend this? Educating students utilizing the ways that they learn today requires using the tools they use today. Web 2.0 tools can bring an "immediacy" to the classroom that outreaches traditional textbooks and other tools.

However, teachers are at a huge disadvantage in our classrooms; so are the students. It's a two-pronged problem that has nothing to do with Web 2.0. You can continue to read to see what I think about some of them (just the tip of an iceberg--it's early morning and I have to get to work). But you may be able to help your local schools in their understanding and adoption of Web 2.0 tools that improve teacher and student access to information that is relevant to their learning.

Unrelated to Web 2.0, what are some barriers to learning?
Teachers often are disadvantaged by the students themselves. Admittedly, and thankfully, it's not all students. But so many are disrespectful and disruptive in the classroom. Some don't want to learn. Some resent being in school. Some just don't know how to behave because no one has ever expected them to behave in a manner that's conducive to learning. Teachers end up becoming peacekeepers and disciplinarians. It reflects on the phrase, "When you're up to your ass in alligators, it's difficult to remember that the objective was to drain the swamp." It's difficult for the teachers and for those students who want to learn.

Students are also at a disadvantage. Some teachers don't know how to control a classroom. Some don't know how to engage youth in the learning process. Many of today's teachers cannot read and speak properly themselves. I am not talking about teachers who learned English as a second language. I'm talking about teachers who grew up in the American school system and never learned the basics themselves. They don't correct students' grammar because, "I'm not an English teacher," or some other silly reason.

Educational materials often create problems. Students bring homework home with instructions and worksheets. But if you read both, you'll see that the instructions use different terms than the worksheets. So the students are being taught one thing in school, but are bringing home assignments that use different terminology which they don't understand. I blame the publishers for this problem; they're so busy creating new editions of books each year to make money that they don't proofread and cross-reference properly before they publish. Again, it's not all of them, but it's enough of them to be a problem.

So, read the article and add your thoughts. Can you help your local schools in breaking down Web 2.0 barriers or any of these other barriers?

...Read, Think, and Discuss...


I don't know what I'll end up putting on this blog. Some of it will be related to my work, I'm sure. It'll be a way to get my thoughts down somewhere public, so I can then write some useful PSAs (public service announcements), pamphlets, and other stuff for clients, consumers, and colleagues.

But I may also just write what's on my mind about other things.

Comments are permitted, but they will be moderated. I want people to engage in a conversation. Disagreeing is okay. Name-calling, arguing for the sake of arguing, without furthering the dialogue, etc., is a waste of time. Be constructive. Offer advice that makes sense. Ask questions. Offer solutions. Suggest related topics.

But if you're the type who posts to every public forum out there with a diatribe on unrelated topics, or the type who tries to advertise on them, don't bother. It won't get posted and I'll end up blocking you from ever posting to any blog I control. And you'll end up in my email black lists as well.

When I have a topic to speak on, I'll add another post. Meanwhile, seize the day and do something positive for yourself and then for someone else. We have to work together to make our lives better, improve the planet, and enjoy our own corner of the world.