Where does the power of the Web lie? To me the power lies in using the opportunities that it can give you in your personal and professional life.
The 21st Century learner has been bombarded with new technology that gives access to global communication and information. This new world of learning needs us to be aware of how we and our students are interacting with the world. The awareness of how to deal with issues inherent in our technological world helps to see the power of it as well.
Making a digital video is a powerful, transformational, educational tool. When students participate in video projects they practice all their academic skills in a productive, real world context. I experienced this when my students created a documentary interviewing a native South African. Not only their peers and teachers have acces to it, basically the whole world can view their project now since it is posted on the web. http://vimeo.com/11219915
Another amazing powerful tool is skype. The video posted on our course page, watching how a student who is unable to attend school due to sickness can still be part of a classroom was very touching and again showed the importance of being connected with the real world. I recently brought an author into my class, we read her book and the students discussed a variety of topics with her giving great insides of the author’s craft and the content of the story. The reason why I came up with a f2f meeting came from the connection this group of students had made after reading another book and visiting the author’s website. The author, Majorie Cowel encouraged the readers to ask her questions, which we did and she responded to. My kids were truly amazed to be connected with a real author. The next step will be to make a skype connection with her and have a live interview.
Michael Smith wrote this week in his Pricipals Page blog that this schoolyear is finally over, which makes me realize again that I am going to miss my son who is graduating this week and will be leaving the nest. After reading that the communication tools that exist today are powerful mediums to help spread positive change and global awareness, I don’t have to worry too much about how he is going to survive……. If the web has the power to flatten classrooms it will do the same for my livingroom.
If virtual connections via global projects can promote enhanced understanding and a world view, I also realize what a face-to-face opportunity it can bring exchanging ideas and giving suggestions of how to use a washing machine, in exchange of helping me using information technologies. For me learning new technologies is often a messy business. “Messy” learning is part trial and error, part waiting and waiting for something to happen, part excitement in discovery, part terrible frustration and part the most fun you’ll ever have. Time can seem to stand still – or seem to go by in a flash. The best part of my messy learning is that besides fixing and solving the problems, it is also difficult to get out of your memory! So, Olaf, my son, your mom is going to use the power of the web; she will use skype, facebook, email, msn and practice learning all the other communication tools that are out there so it feels that you’re still connected with….the nest.