Try telling everyone this! It is a great thing to discover what is changing around us with the uptake of Web 2.0 – but it is not always as easy to communicate this to people who are not engaged in these discoveries via the blogosphere.
A post from Doug at Borderland asks "terms like social and networking are used to describe the change, but what do those words mean?" Indeed! and it is not easy to explain this to newbies to Web 2.0. However, I would say that reading about and dipping into social networking tools is probably the best way to explain.
The paper from FutureLab looks at Social Software and Learning and the 'shape' of learning as a result of the transformation in the new technology environment of our students. However, the post by Doug draws together some of the key people and ideas. Read it – it will make you think. Also Dough alerts us to Blogging as Participation: The Active Sociality of a New Literacy, a paper that Colin Lankshear and Michele Knobel presented at a recent AERA conference demonstrates the difference between two of various possible mindsets regarding traditional and new classrooms.
I have found that the visual image of Web 2.0 – the extended mindcloud – has been a great visual starter at sessions I have run. 'Participation' and 'Remix' provide two good concepts to open up the discussion with people, before actually going into showing and discussing social software. I am also adding Michael's Academic 2.0 concept model to my discussion pool.
Take 'remix' as an example – and ask just how many kids now buy a CD or album, and listen to it in total, just as they bought it. Everyone understands that kids like to remix their music, and they like to deliver it to their ears via an mp3 player. This alone marks kids as different to the adult generation's experience of adolescence.
In schools we still need to 'introduce' teachers to new ways of thinking, organising and doing. Until we do that we will not see the required curriculum change to 'learning space', 'learning times'. The blogosphere is a great tool to point teachers to blogs that discuss, demonstrate, and showcase great school initiatives. I like squidoo and some wiki as well for this. Much easier than talking about it!