As I’ve previously mentioned, I’m teaching a special topics course this summer titled Teaching and Learning with Web 2.0. I’ve enjoyed engaging with many people from around the world on the topic and content of this course and encourage anyone with an interest to join the fun.
Kimberly McCollum left the following comment regarding one of my previous posts on this topic.
I also teach a course about technology in k12 education, so I [am] really interested in your curriculum. What is the balance between pedagogical theory and tool training in your course? Also, with so many tools out there, how did you decide what will be included or excluded from the course?
I think Kimberly has asked some very important questions – questions that many others will be facing in the very near future – and I’d like to start a dialogue here. Here is my slightly edited reply to Kimberly’s inquiry.
Wow, these are good questions that do not have simple answers.
This course will primarily focus on teaching and learning with the understanding that the technology is meant to enhance learning. You can look at the draft version of the Course Topics and see that we’ll begin by looking at various instructional models, rationale for networking, the principles of web 2.0, related current topics and issues, and more before we ever look at any specific tools.
We’ll survey a variety of Web 2.0 technologies and the learners will have some flexibility in which tools they choose to use (For example, for the social bookmarking unit the learners could choose to use Diigo, Del.icio.us, etc.). Again, the tools are not the primary focus as many will be vastly upgraded or obsolete 18 months from now. The idea will be for the learners to become familiar with each general group or genre of tools and begin developing strategies for integrating them with teaching and learning in their own classrooms during the coming school year.
I’ve tried to group the tools according to use in the classroom. For example, I’ve grouped everything related to audio together. This class does not seek to be on the bleeding edge of innovation so we’ll look at tools that have examples of being implemented in classrooms and have at least a small community of edu-users. I intend to allow for some flexibility to allow for emergent learning opportunities as learners discover topics and technologies of particular interest to them individually.
The number of groups of tools that can be studied will likely be more than we can study in the course, so I anticipate that we’ll all learn some of the most common tools together (blogs, wikis, microblogging, etc.) and then I’ll allow the learners to customize their learning by picking 4 or so of the remaining half dozen groups as they deem most appropriate for their needs, interests, personal/ professional development, etc.
As we survey all these tools, we’ll always bring the conversation back to the educational merits each brings to the design of instruction. I do not believe in using technology for the sake of using technology, nor do I wish for anyone to leave my class with that misconception.
I encourage you to join in the development of the content through the course wiki and welcome your input, suggested resources, ideas, engagement before, during, and after the course.
Those are my thoughts at this point. I still have just over a month until the course begins, so let’s discuss this more.
- How would you balance the "pedagogical theory and tool training" in a course like this one?
- How would you suggest organizing the content?
- With which technologies do you think it is most important for educators to be familiar?
- What suggestions for improvement can you offer?