Expanding the Circle: Facilitating the Introduction of Educators to Web 2.0

I am Edubloggercon 2007 here in Atlanta, and I am in the first session — Expanding the Circle. How can we draw educators, reluctant or otherwise, into using Web 2.0 tools? Some educators are not just reluctant, but outright hostile about using these tools.

Some teachers do not see the value in using these technologies. Julia Osteen pointed out that in many cases, using Web 2.0 conflicts with some teachers’ beliefs about teaching. It doesn’t fit their style.

A huge issue for educators is time. When I presented a session on using blogs and wikis to my own colleagues, one of the first questions they asked me was how much time I spent doing this each day. The question inferred that these technologies take up so much time — is it really worth it, Dana? I gathered that they had already concluded they didn’t have time.

Steve Hargadon mentions that we are dealing with a wide variety of audiences — administration, teachers, parents, and students.

Tim Stahmer mentions that we can introduce teachers by showing them how many of the practices they are already buying into, i.e. journaling, are perfect for Web 2.0. He also adds that many teachers are afraid of allowing students to comment on their blogs. Is this insecurity?

Jim Gates asked how many of us have blogs blocked in our schools? Tim Stahmer mentions that Blogger is blocked in his. I don’t have as much of a problem with issues like this, as I teach in a private school, and I believe that many of these blanket blocking issues seem to crop up in larger schools and school districts, whereas smaller schools (like mine) still enable access to these sites. MySpace and Facebook are blocked at my school, mostly because the sites are seen as a distraction. Actually, when our educational technology teacher sent us an e-mail informing us of some blocking, he asked that we e-mail him if any sites we used were blocked. I found that Bloglines and my hosting provider were both blocked, so I e-mailed him, and he allowed access. Of course, I realize that with larger schools and districts, this involves much bureaucratic red tape. I think we initially blocked access to some sites when the big MySpace scare happened last year (and to be truthful, my husband contributed to our administration’s decision to block these sites because of a presentation he gave about being safe online to our students and faculty).

Our session ended on an open note, and it’s clear these issues are not resolved. Like Steve Hargadon said at the beginning of the session, however, I think many of us feel obligated to try to draw educators into Web 2.0 technologies because we ourselves have been transformed by them. I know my teaching practices have been transformed by the interactivity, feedback, and networking I have been able to do with other educators. I would like to draw my students into Web 2.0 even more next year.

[tags]edubloggercon07, ebc07ec[/tags]

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2 thoughts on “Expanding the Circle: Facilitating the Introduction of Educators to Web 2.0

  1. Blogger and Livejournal (as well as some of the other social sites, and any streaming video) are blocked at my district. In SOME ways, it's good, because it encourages me to bite the bullet and go ask some of my colleagues some of the questions I'd post to an LJ community. (If I'm going to look like a fool, I'd rather it be to a stranger! Plus there's always the 'delete' key…) It is kind of frustrating, though.

  2. As with all change, there are levels of discomfort, fear, and downright denial. Like you, my entire world has been transformed by the read/write web and the compelling role our students will play in the global society. Without change, there will be no progress – and inevitably, we either initiate change or react to it (I think there's a scientific principle in there, too!) (:

    And like you, I've encountered plenty of resistance as I introduce these new literacies to my colleagues – but nonetheless, I believe that transformation will occur (just maybe not in my lifetime – ha!)

    Thanks so much for blogging so many sessions at edubloggercon – As a 'virtual' attendee, I benefit from the connections you are making, as well!

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