It is exciting to be here at the University of Prince Edward Island to participate in this conference. I am sitting at a “blogger’s table” with Harold Jarche, Sandy McAuley, and Stephen Downes with Dave Cormier and Jeff Lebow hovering the background. Will Richardson is delivering the keynote and he is going through it to demonstrate how the world is changing and the social technologies that are being used by students, teachers, ordinary folks and even politicians. He points out in particular how Obama is using social networking sites in order to promote his campaign. Physical space can be transcended and we can now have meaningful conversations with people around the world. Will makes the statement that model of journalism has to change – we can add our own information so easily so instantly. I really liked what he showed about how a teacher was using twitter to teach about the student uprising in Myanmar just two days ago. Students were able to view photos and videos of Burma within hours after the incidents took place.
Will also looks at how business is changing and shifting as they exploit these web 2.0 tools. His wiki page is worth exploring for the information he has collected there. He reminded us, too, of the digital divide still due to socioeconomic disparities.
I like the way Will shows off his blog as a place where HIS learning takes place. “It is a powerful learning network.” However, there is a disconnect between this kind of learning and what is going on in classrooms. He also shows off FanFiction and MySpace (not a good site – he shows it as a bad model of how young people are using such sites).
Will and I both twittered before his session that the conference could be found live at edtechtalk.com with an invitation to join. Within a few minutes three of my twitter peeps had come back to say they were following us – Graham Wegner in Australia, John Pederson in Minnesota, and Alice Wells in Maine. How cool is that?
I particularly appreciated how Will put a focus on the importance of AUDIENCE. This is often overlooked as having any pedagogical value for students, but I think it is one of the most powerful and compelling reasons we should be using web 2.0 tools and environments. I have said it before – I think all student-created material should be up online. However, this is based on the premise that the material has authentic value. He mentions three great Canadian educators who have been so innovative in creating new pedagogies around these tools – Clarence Fisher, Darren Kuropatwa and Konrad Glogowski – and I heartily concur.
He challenges us to be participatory together during these exciting times – and to build our own learning networks. We also need to be modeling our own learning to our students.