Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Web 2.0 and Diverse Learners

How does web 2.0 address the needs of diverse learners? I asked my PLN on Plurk:

From Ed Tech Learning Reflections

Our class discussion started with the following voice thread. Feel free to add your own comments.

For some of our classmates, it was the first time to participate in a collaborative environment outside of Blackboard. Others were more familiar with web 2.0, but learned about a new tool. But, I think we all agreed that the tools we discussed have value for learning. They are not without disadvantages. Not all students have access to using these tools. Some students are not willing to do what is necessary to gain access (come early or stay late at school, walk to the public library, etc.) But, as one teacher put it, "my students somehow find access to look at MySpace and Facebook." So, maybe if we engage our students in the same way, they will also find a way to access the Internet for homework!

I truly believe that web 2.0 tools can help teachers differentiate learning in so many ways that we are not able to do without the tools. I challenge teachers of all levels to allow your students to use these tools to demonstrate their knowledge. A written solution to a math problem or an essay are not the only ways we can do this anymore.

Readings and resources:


Darren Draper said...

According to Clayton Christensen and his co-authors (Disrupting Class), technology has the potential to shape the learning experience for each individual student - a problem we've consistently struggled with in teaching without technology.

The problem is that with one teacher and many students, differentiation can be difficult - especially on a consistent basis. With computer-aided instruction, however, I suppose that experiences could be custom fit - all given that software designers can improve upon what we currently have today. Personally, I don't think we're there yet, but the potential is certainly great.

Keep up the great work, Heza!

Heather D. said...

I don't think web 2.0 tools can do the ultimate job of differentiating learning all the time for all learners. But, I think they make it easier for students to demonstrate what they know in different ways. Perhaps software designers will someday create better computer-aided instruction to do this.

This conversation reminds me of what I imagine the old one room school house was like. Students all learning different things that were age and ability appropriate. Ironically, maybe technology will bring us back to the one room school house model in the future.