At the beginning of the year, Will Richardson commented on his lack of enthusiasm for 2007. The problem seems to be (amongst other things) a lack of progress in relation to changes in classroom pedagogy and Web 2.0-style 21st century learning.
While I sympathise with his frustrations (he IS an evangelist), I also consider that it will only be our evolving understanding of these contexts that will make 21st century learning work.
For example: the debate in 2006 around the value of Wikipedia as a significant online knowledge resource. There were those who insisted that Wikipedia showed the way of the future. There were others who spoke about the significance of this collaborative model. Just a few spoke about problems. While stuck in this debate, the real issue remained untouched – a shift of control!
Where is ‘judgement’, and what are we doing to create learning that promotes ‘judgement’? Learners need to be engaged in activities at a level of deep understanding about why or what they are trying to learn. So what did you tell your students about the value of, and use of, Wikipedia within their learning? Have you praised it’s value?
John Connell, in Fact and Fiction and Wikipedia shared a ‘must read’, salutory experience with Wikipedia from Joe, an authority on John Donne. This is the real Wikipedia – valuable, and invaluable at the same time! Judgement needed at all times – the kind of ‘judgement‘ that is nurtured by information professionals.
All the promotion of Web 2.0-style learning will not change anything really – I guess the source of Will’s ‘down‘ moment – unless we include ‘judgement‘ in the mix. This is where regular Web 2.0 evangelists don’t quite ‘get it’.
What do I mean? I mean the whole idea of searching for information, comparing, contrasting, and synthesising, and engaging deeply, and if needed, slowly in the way that Geetha Narayanan has shown us has great value. I would throw literacy and reading into the mix as well.
But for now, I suggest that Web 2.0 envangelists must consider a more proactive approach to ‘judgement‘ in Web 2.0, built on good searching and sourcing of knowledge components – otherwise we are in danger of building global parochialism!
So…… go and learn more about the Web 2.0 tools of searching. You could start with the Top 100 Alternative Search Engines.
Go learn how to motivate and challenge learners by supporting students online and offline in their information-seeking behaviour . Read They Might Be Gurus – a good-humoured account of the strengths and weaknesses of teen researchers and you’ll get my drift.
Then consider how you will foster ‘judgement‘.
Our kids need to think deeply and think well in a Web 2.0 world.