There is a tsunami heading towards your school and your classroom. It’s a wave of newlearning and technology generated by a seismic shift deep within the geology of education. For twenty five there has been a growing tension between two educationalmovements – digital technology and our understanding of learning. For the most part theexpected shock waves have failed to make an impact on the fabric of learning andteaching. All this is about to change with the arrival of the Read/ Write web, socialsoftware and increasing awareness of what needs to be done to prepare students for theknowledge based economy.
The Social Software Revolution. The Web is Us
Web 2.0 or the Read/ Write web has proliferated a new generation of social software toolssuch as Blogs, Wikis, RSS feeds, Podcasting, Video Casting and Social Book Marking
.This has supported the evolution of whole new communities, in which individual cometogether to learn, collaborate and build knowledge. Technology which is enabling peopleto do things for themselves and changing the way we are able to deal with knowledge
.The key words in this new learning paradigm are
creation, collaboration and communication
. The Pew Internet and American Life
project found that more than 53million American adults had use the internet to publish their thoughts, respond to others, post pictures or share files. Technorati.com lists more than 25 million blogs and Timemagazine officially voted You as the person of the year. Web 2.0 has put the We back into the web and changed forever the modality of communication and where theemphasis has shifted from the producers of content to the users of content.
The Education Revolution. Networked Learning Communities
There is a growing conviction that schools must move away from the institutional logicof school as factory to the network logic of the learning community. Educationalresearch makes the case for a new understanding of the learning process whichacknowledges the value of connected learning. The writings of Jim Hewitt, G Salmon
and others all comment on the potential of on line communities to engage learners in theco construction of knowledge and the collectivisation of knowledge. Scardamalia andBereiter’s ( 2003)
work on the Knowledge Forum showed the huge potential of this typeof medium to support collaborative learning and creative problem solving. From aslightly different perspective West Burnham and Otero make the case for building socialcapital through networked learning communities as a measure of school improvementand improving standards rather than solely focusing on improving classroom practice.James Surowiecki in Wisdom of the Crowds argues that the large groups of people can becollectively more effective at problem solving than small groups of specialists.
See appendix 1 of Social Software and learning. Futurelab report in Digital Natives for list of examples
See the Googlezon video
See report in Digital Natives
Jim Hewitt From a Focus on Tasks to a Focus on Understanding: The cultural transformation of a Torontoclassroom
Scardamalia, M and Bereiter, C (1994) Computer support for knowledge building communities.