Monday, March 31, 2008

Vision of the Future?

Some thoughts on Web2.0 and how it's helping to professionalize this thing called teaching. Check it.

Jeremy Wagstaff, author of the Loose Wire Blog, just came out with another worthwhile article about the impact that technology is having on education. Don't think that he's saying anything that the edublogoworld isn't, but the fact that Jeremy is picking up on these vibes says a lot. His category cluster on the right hand side of his blog shows that he's NOT part of edublogoland. The largest categories seem to be Software, Security, Internet and Journalism (with dabblings in Luddism and Voting).

You can check out the full article at this link, or you can go right to his blog here.

Especially liked this section:

Then there are issues with overcoming the traditions and entrenched interests of academia, such as the concerns some lecturers have about their livelihoods if they put all their material online.

Mr. Wiley's response: Adjust to the new reality. He points to the almost "pop star" popularity of some who have posted lecture videos online. Some have boosted class attendance and have raised interest in their courses, while others have overhauled and improved material in the process of submitting it. "What it has done is to expose teaching to peer review," he says (emphasis added).

Peer Review. Yeah, that sounds fun. A bit scary and daunting, but also full of potential and reward.

Right now, it's the universities that are being directly affected by this. I think that secondary education is still about five years away from facing tough competition from the web. Now, I'm not saying that what's happening on the web right now isn't more interesting than our classrooms. Sad to say that for my students, Japanese prank vidoes on Youtube and "playing Facebook" (to use their wording) is highly engaging, much more so than my mini-lessons on grammar and vocabulary and plot structure.

I'm thinking more that it's not likely that you'll have an activity in class about the development of Ponyboy's character in "The Outsiders" and then a student will walk into class the next day and tell you that your lesson wasn't as good as the one they found online last night. If you think that example sounds far-fetched, go check out MIT's OpenCourseWare site. Don't believe that a freshman could might get so fed up with the lousy lecturer in their Intro to Chem course that they might turn there to find out how to pass their exam? And you better believe that dan's graphing stories lesson is only a long day of work away from becoming a stand-alone awesome intro to linear time graphs.

Speaking of dan, and of peer review, if you're a teacher and you've made it thus far and your name isn't dan or damian, check out this conversation at dan meyer's blog. Want to start that peer review stuff? Raise your hand!