The evolution of writing: Have we hidden the true meaning of Web 2?

simulpost with TechLearning

Have enjoyed reading a blog of a newcomer, Gran, who is taking a class with a trainer named, Geoff.

Gran says:

Until today I’ve had a disdainful attitude abt blogs, bloggers, thought, “HOW narcissistic!” Hah! Our lives ARE narcissistic. Who’s running around inside our brains all the time, anyway? Only ONE person, and that wud be moi. Humans are wired for narcissism. Nobody else runs our show, the movie of our lives, unless we give our power away.

When the focus is sharing and connecting, narcissism is a nonissue.

I’m excited about what we’re doing, and I say thank you, Geoff!

It is important to take a look at what people coming on board with technology say. I think this whole discussion is less about blogging or twittering or whatever-ing but rather about electronic publication.

We are trading in pen and paper for electronic modes of publication, whatever they are called.

It just so happens that the medium for many forms of easy electronic publication is called Web 2.0 but let's not get so tied up in the words and terms that we escalate them to late great innovations like Cuneiform and the slateboard and the pencil or pen when it came along in mass quantities. This is yet another evolution in writing and surely, though we cannot imagine them, there will be many more to come.

I wonder if more educators would be more friendly to modes of electronic publication if we called it “electronic publication!?”

We (or perhaps the marketers) wrap these new modes of publication up in new words and hide their meaning like Gollum hiding “the precious.”

What we're doing on blogs, wikis, podcasts, and yes, even microblogging platforms (twitter) has been around, it has just been reinvented in a very dramatic and exciting way.

It is about improving communication and facilitating effective, meaningful, educated, civilized conversation. And when it gets students excited about communicating and learning, then it just becomes a number one friend of a good teacher.

Welcome, Gran, to the world of electronic publication. It sounds like Geoff is doing a great job! Would love to see Geoff share with us some of the blogs of the other folks in the class.

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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Durff August 8, 2007 - 2:27 pm

It is not just about communication, which it most certainly is. It is about quality education. This is our responsibility, our honor, and our inspiration.

Ben Fulton August 8, 2007 - 2:49 pm

I would go farther. It’s not about electronic publication; it’s about global publication.

Theda Rudd August 8, 2007 - 10:47 pm

Today I posted a blog entry about a conversation we had yesterday at our school retreat. Like Gran, I am new to blogging, but am very hopeful about what all of Web 2.0 may mean for my students and me. During our retreat we talked about how we use technology in our classrooms. I said that I thought it was time we moved beyond Google searches and PowerPoint presentations.

I was surprised by how very resistant some of my colleagues are to these new tools. It seems that they think they will spend a great deal of instructional time teaching our students how to use the tools. Additionally, they don’t believe that these tools enhance instruction. I don’t believe my students will need a whole lot of instruction. I also believe we lose credibility with our students when we aren’t users of these tools in our own professional lives.

I was a bit surprised by how much some of my colleagues and I disagreed. I became defensive, and perhaps bombastic. I said something about our going back to quills and ink wells.

In the end, I just want the freedom to explore these tools with my students in my classes. And I want IT professionals who will help me do so. I know that right now I am the dewy-eyed new convert. Give me some time and some room and some technology, and then let my actions and my students’ actions speak for the benefits of Web 2.0 in the high school English classroom.

I am so very appreciative of this online ed tech community.

David August 10, 2007 - 2:44 am

Blogging is revolutionising the way that our students are learning and communicating. My concerns are that there are teachers in my school and in other who are jumping on the bandwaggon without thinking blogging through. They want to use the tool but not adapt the way that they deliver in their classrooms and this is causing a tension that is blamed on the blog and not the method of delivery. Where it works it is brilliant and would urge you all to take a look at the blogs that my school teachers have set up. You can access them from our school website on the link on the left hand side: the tohatoah blog is a partnership that I have set up with a school in the UK and we are always looking for partners in other parts of the world, so please take the time to visit us. Thanks. Cool video by the way and be sure to check out our where in the world video so that you can locate us!

Tonia Johnson August 10, 2007 - 12:56 am

I was just in a seminar today with Darren Kurpatowa learning about the various ways that we communicate. I think that the real gift we can give our students is the ability to see themselves as contributers to the world-at-large. And not only that, it stretches them to become active members of their classrooms and their world by putting them in charge of their own learning. Web 2.0 is a great tool for enforcing METACOGNITION. Without real reflection students will not really learn.

astevens August 13, 2007 - 11:04 pm

Vicki –

I think you are right. The terminology of Web 2.0 throws some people off (especially those who still don’t feel comfortable with what is now considered Web 1.0 by many); however, I think it is useful to have a common term in which to refer to the collaborative tools that are increasingly growing in popularity.

And although I wish simply referring to the tools as electronic publishing would make my teachers feel better, unfortunately I don’t think it would. As an English teacher (and instructional tech specialist), I spend a large portion of my time trying to convince my teachers that students can learn how to write (compose) digitally – that they do not actually have to manually pen a composition in order for it to be well though out.

Although my teachers teach in a 1:1 school, many of them feel the laptop is only good for the “final” copy of the writing assignment… frustrating. However, since our standardized test (TAKS) is still paper-based most of the English teachers feel that students need the practice of actually handwriting their compositions.

It is a touchy subject, and I am torn. What do you think?

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