Letting The Read/Write Web Into Classrooms

In RSS for Educators: Blogs, Newsfeeds, Podcasts, and Wikis in the Classroom, John G. Hendron writes about the importance of using the Read/Write Web (AKA Web 2.0) in education.

Hendron says:
What if a school’s success hinged on its ability to prepare students for an evolving, global society that demanded openness, peering, sharing, and acting globally?... The Read/Write Web ought to have a place in schools for a variety of reasons. For one, the Read/Write Web is where both business and society have turned to grow and learn. Whether our tool of choice is Google, Wikipedia or Ask Metafilter , we have access to a staggering amount of information online... The good news is that by applying the Read/Write Web into the curriculum, teachers can provide students with opportunities to improve critical thinking, as well as both written and verbal communication. Beyond that, students can creatively explore other forms of communication, including film, music, and visual art. A podcast, for instance, requires planning, storyboarding, and writing before the podcast is published. The Partnership for 21st Century Skills also calls for using “21st Century Assessments.” The Read/Write Web can make an excellent medium for assessing student learning beyond the now-popular standardized test. Student blogs can become student digital portfolios. Student video projects can reveal, among many things, the student’s attainment of critical-thinking skills. Collaborative, student-centered projects promote interaction with students from faraway schools, testing a student’s progress in working with peers.*
Of course, many schools (particularly in the K-12 years) actually discourage or block access to some read/write tools. In some cases, this is justified in part, but not when that eliminates entire modes of communication. In the "real world" outside schools, people make a living on the read/write web. If lifelong learning is really the mission of many schools, then this use of the web is one way to begin that process.

*Copyright 2008, ISTE ® (International Society for Technology in Education), RSS for Educators, John G. Hendron. Distribution and copying of this excerpt is allowed for educational purposes and use with full attribution to ISTE.


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