The Machine is Us/ing Us was thought provoking. Although created in 2007, the issues the video brings up are very relevant today such as copyright, authorship of what is on the web and how humans are using technology to shape their world in a very different way from even a decade ago.
My thoughts on this week’s lesson were on Web 2.0 and how it has affected education in a positive manner. I want to focus on that as I always hear too much negativity about online social media, blogs and other types of Web 2.0 when it comes to education.
I feel the advantages in the educational use of Web 2.0 far outweigh the negatives. In my opinion the connections that can be made through online social networking are extraordinary and its potential is still in the discovery phase, at least in North America. Interestingly enough, social networking in developing nations seems to have taken off as people use it in education, communication, collaboration and to incite change on a political level as seen in Egypt (Ali, 2011).
Why isn’t Facebook or Twitter being used more in classrooms, from the elementary level to the post-secondary? Loralea provided an excellent example of how Facebook is being used successfully in a Grade One classroom so it can be done but there seems to be immense reluctance on part of educators to use it more.
I am guilty of the same. I realized during that lesson, as I answered a question in the course Ning, that I use it in the classroom because I am teaching it to my students as journalism tools however I don’t use social media to engage them outside or inside of the classroom as much as I should. Seeing that I see its immense potential for learning and collaboration I have been falling short when it comes to using Web 2.0 in the classroom. I know that one problem I have is just having time to maintain it. I wonder if it is the time one needs to spend on it that becomes the official reason educators are not embracing Web 2.0 more.
Going back to the positive aspects, I am more convinced of Web 2.0′s collaborative potential than anything else. As Hughes (2012) points out, using Web 2.0 (in this case a Ning) to supplement a synchronous class allows diverse learning styles to be reached, it gives students who don’t like to speak out in class (like me) a chance to express their points of view and it gives students times to really reflect on their peers comments as they compose their own. The last factor, among the many others, really speaks out to me.
A real community of knowledge is developed through this sort of online collaboration and because it is posted it will be available for others to see in the future. On the Digital Literacies Ning there are postings from the last class that took this course. I have been reading some of the past students’ remarks, comments and observations with much interest. As well, students have posted videos and links to interesting content. The knowledge will continue to expand as more students participate in the conversation.
What will this Ning look like in ten years? That’s a question I have but I will try to come up with an answer. I predict it will be a great resource on digital literacies with diverse voices from different backgrounds providing snapshots of what was happening in that academic area from year to year.
Ali, A. H. (2011). The Power of Social Media in Developing Nations: New Tools for Closing the Global Digital Divide and Beyond. Harvard Human Rights Journal , 24 (1), 186 – 219
Hughes, J. (2012) Connecting and Reflecting with Ning, a Social Networking Tool. (From WebCT as article hasn’t been published yet).
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