Many of the conversations lately have been a bit downtrodden. Brettâ€™s Skypecast last night, Will Richardsonâ€™s recent â€œdeflatingâ€ experience, Jeff Utechtâ€™s NECC experience, Miguel Guhlin’s recent post and others.
Weâ€™ve been bemoaning that the access to web 2.0 apps is not going well. Some districts block just about everything, teachers arenâ€™t embracing them quickly enough and the list goes on. But maybe there is still plenty to use and the â€œmarketplaceâ€ will take care of the rest over time in that either users will find safe â€œworkaroundsâ€ as they use MySpace, ODEO, FLICKR, etc. (not everybody is blocked you know) and if these work and there is a demand and it seems safe things might open up. Iâ€™m definitely not saying give up or donâ€™t think about or try to use these apps â€“ just that things might not be as bleak as they seem. Would it be great if you could just jump right in and use many of these tools â€“ yes â€“ but many have issues of safety no matter how frustrating that is. Will Richardson (and others â€“ including me) have spoken about how kids are exposed to worse images and ideas at the local convenience store and in some cases street corner. But youâ€™re just not going to get past peoplesâ€™ fear and loathing of their kids being exposed, even by accident, AT SCHOOL – At least not now. Iâ€™m not satisfied with that but â€¦
The good news is that there is so much that can be done that is safe and valuable for anyone to use â€“ the web, digital photography, web pages, email, blogging (monitoring comments) and much more – and those of us that have unfettered access will have to use these new tools in ways that make others see past their fear and want to embrace them. We can even teach the ethical use of social applications so that students that use them outside school learn about ethics from someone.
There are so many applications available now, how could anyone use them all? Yes, we need to get going â€“ I believe that strongly â€“ but who can keep up? There seems to be at least one new app every day â€“ yes we need access, and the ability to innovate – and what is more exciting than seeing something youâ€™ve never seen before and immediately getting an idea on how it fits what you are or want to be doing with students and you want to do it NOW. Some of us will be able to do that, be the trailblazers, and some will have to wait (but fighting and scratching the whole time) until these new tools and methods are acceptable.
Beyond that, I would be thrilled if we could just get educators to embrace and utilize tech as a tool AT ALL! Iâ€™ll probably get attacked by some of you for saying this, but more than 80% of educators I know canâ€™t cut and paste, or send an email with an attachment, or know you can have more than one window opened at a time or more than one application at a time, or what a browser is (or that Internet Explorer isnâ€™t the only browser), or how to attach a printer or camera or use them, or any peripheral, or what USB or Firewire are and the list goes on. And we want them to be blogging AND Flickring, AND Skypeing, AND digital video, AND podcasting, AND making web pages and more? I have experiences with teachers showing them cut and paste that I should video some time. They get so excited â€“ some do it over and over with big smiles on their faces â€“ Iâ€™ve just made their day (but I was really showing them FLICKR and how to use an image in student writing).
Yes we need to keep the training and education and innovation on web 2.0 going, but letâ€™s not forget than most havenâ€™t embraced web 1.0 yet. We need to get many more trained and comfortable with tech in general and the new teaching that goes with it AS we continue to use and innovate with the new tools. If we build it they will come?