Will Richardson had an interesting topic for his blog the other day and it caught my eye as some of the idea’s that I’m trying to get started at my elementary school. The five topics that Will asks about are:
1. Wikipedia–as in teaching kids about the collaborative construction of knowledge.
2. Cell phones–as in teaching how to use them effectively as tools for “just in time learning.”
3. MySpace–as in teaching the safe and effective use of the Internet to build networks and publish content.
4. Martinlutherking.org–as in teaching the skills necessary for navigating a world where editing occurs post publication.
5. Google–as in teaching the skills to find the information we want.
What other “basics” would you add?
Now lets take these 5 items as I see them in our school district. These are in no particular order other than what I considered most important when I read them.
First of all MySpace is blocked by the websense filters as I believe it should be, but there is no reason to not teach Internet safety. I believe you can create a teaching situation that is behind the firewalls that you create a social networking site for the kids that teaches how to interact, publish and be safe at the same time.
Secondly, I see Google as a great source of information. We have already used it to research a 5th grade project called Heritage Day. The students Googled their family names, got relative background and coat of arms, came up with some background from their parents and put it all together on poster boards for an evening program for their parents. Teaching about Google as a media, new library source is the way to give children the step up into technology that they need.
Thirdly, I feel that cell phones have no place in the learning environment. With the latest technology kids have learned how to take pictures of answers, sent them to friends, text answers back and forth so well that it makes for too much of a temptation to cheat. “Just in Time Learning” is “Just in Time Temptation to Cheat”.
Fourth on this for me is Martinlutherking.org, which Will has pointed out to me in his comment below is a learning experience in what is not good in our society. This site rewrites history in an extremist view, and that this site even tries to influence our kids should be an example for us to teach that these views are the extreme minority of society. I can’t stress enough that after looking at this site any reasonable adult will see the hateful nature of the site and why we need to teach our kids why it is wrong to feel that way.
Lastly, Wikipedia and wiki’s as a whole are going to be one of the greatest tools in learning that has come to the front in technology. Wiki’s can be used by a class to create a complete lesson on any topic with everyone contributing what they have found in the course of studying. Wiki’s and blogs are where teaching can make great strides in a very short period of time.
It’s a lot to think about, but that’s what teaching is all about. Thinking, learning and adapting.
That’s what I think….What about you?