The Four Step Web 2.0 exercise

The four step plan is something that we’re planning on trying out in various ways all this fall. It’s an introduction to the web, in a way, an attempt at encouraging some good habits, a transitional step between the luddite and the blogger. In broad strokes the plan is simple… Get several people together and have them text message on a topic for a while. The goals for that chat are to choose a topic for everyone to work on, to choose roles for each member and to set a timeline for accomplishment of that goal. The next step is to move to the BB and start posting back and forth developing those ideas, accumulating media, doing research. The finished bits of research should eventually migrate their way into a wiki, the project organization center. Here things are refined until each member is ready for them to be published. They are then blogged out in the world somewhere.

This is the part of the process that has come up against the most criticism. Jeff thinks, and he may be right, that this step could be ommitted as it creates too many complications. What platform do you use? It has several advantages. With a site like tapped in, you can get records of your chat emailed to you(Drupal, for instance, also does this). It is a good way to make sure that contribution is evenly spread across the group, and also a way to get a better window on the entire process, from start to finish.

Bulletin board
The bulletin board is where the process starts to come together. Students are encouraged to put their ideas out in whatever way they come in. Interesting photos, bits of audio, video or text found and thrown into the pile. From this research, and the peer-editing that goes with it, a project starts to develop.

In the wiki, the finished bits of the project start to collect. There are a bunch of different ways that this could come about, whether the students end up working on parts of the same project, or different interrelated projects, but a quick link setup in the wiki would accomodate any needs.

This is the key part of the whole process. Giving the students a goal to reach for, and somewhere to put the work they are working on. There are several options for this, many schools now have their own blogging system, there is a cool project going on at where your students can post their own stuff alongside work from people around the world… and then connect with other students, starting a dialogue.

An after thought – Last night on the edtech brainstorm Todd Vanek was talking about eportfolios (another form of publication) being controlled by the students. Controlled in terms of access, giving them the option of what they wish to share and when. I think it’s a solid idea. That’s what i like about this educational process, it’s a constant struggle to open my mind a little further everytime i come across someone with a good idea. And that seems to be all the time these days.

comments lost in the server disaster of ’06

  1. Jeff Flynn Says:
    This post was very helpful to me. I have had a great vision of an online portfolio process much like Elgg. While I am chasing that thinking it was the way to go, I started thinking of the group collaborative aspects of Moodle as a bridge step. But I think you have articulated a nice developmental sequence for new online learners. I am not sure it would spoil chatting for my students but I am thinking how positive it would be to expose and guide them first. Most of my 8-10 year old students are not yet messaging.
  2. dave Says:
    Yeah. I think chatting has many advantages as a first step in the K-12. It gives an instructor a chance to monitor what many people are calling the plague of written English… instant messaging. I think it also has great brainstorming potential. Jeff L. keeps saying that VOIP is better, and I may agree with him, but text has the advantage of being an easier record, and also of being in the format that many of the projects will be exported as… written text.
  3. Susanne Nyrop Says:
    I agree – although Jeff insists on voice, for non native speakers it is not always the best way to express deep thinking. Speaking for myself, as someone who did not have much purposeful English spoken communication after graduating from high school, and until I started around 1999 to become an international Webhead, for the first few years text chat was far easier for me to follow, than a spoken conversation. I joined an online community just two years ago where longish teleconferences with many people were a must. I just sat in there, listening and trying to follow the stream of fast speaking people with all sorts of difficult sounding dialects, even foreign accents. But I could not come to think of much to say myself, as the conversation partners were often from a different context than my own, and most of the time it was also very academic and research oriented. Rather embarassing for me to stay pretty silent, as I wanted to show my benevolent presence. I was more than happy when someone took minutes, and if there was a recording of the cal, I would perhaps listen again and get more out of it for a second time.Then, virtual classroom sessions with bonus text chat added to the voice, came in from another side. I was invited to speak as a virtual guest teacher with students who probably had less experience than myself with authentic coversation in a foreign voice. Their teahcers were my virtual colleagues and our collaboration was more informal, down to Earth so to speak :-)

    First, I could see who was speaking! We also used slides and whiteboard a lot. And, if I needed some clarification on a difficult term, I could have it spelled out to me. And soon after I started to relax and chat naturally with my own voice. Remember, I needed practice as well as a stressless, supportive context. And today I feel OK with a podcast interview, although I think next time I would prefer to prepare myself a bit. I see myself as a lifelong learner in this case, supposing this could refelct the different between being primarily a visual learner, or an auditive. This is why I think the mixed mode blog/podcast is excellent.

  4. John Issitt Says:
    Hi. This all looks really interesting and exciting – some great ideas that celebrate in the individual in the process. However – a note of caution directed at the technology aspect of this idea – is this about liberating us or unconsciously developing a technology for the self and thereby doing the opposite of liberating us? What I mean is there have been many educational technologies that have been sold using the rhetoric of liberation and empowerment, whilst – it seems to me – they have had the effect of policing the imagination through creating a technology that looks benign but carries its own structural limitations – sold as geting beyond structure it provides yet another. Having said all that it looks really good. I try to get students to write books together with a similar sense of trying to get students to genuinely own what they are doing.John

Author: dave

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