For a few weeks now, the focus has been on text-based Web 2.0. What happens when images, audio, and video are added into the mix? Based on our discussions this week, I would say that the potential for learning is encouraging…
First of all, we can’t pick just one method! Discussion revolved around the benefits of variety. John was the first to mention the versatility present in Web 2.0 tools and the resulting opportunities to provide learners with a variety of methods for interacting with content, peers, instructors, and other participants in the global classroom. In the comments, I pointed out that giving the learner options allows them to optimize their learning experience through the selection of the most appropriate method or methods based on their preference, circumstances, or any other influential factor. John also alluded to the learner’s capability for adapting content to fit their own unique context. In this manner, versatility in methods also supports ease of accessibility to content for a broader array of learners.
Second, we believe that Web 2.0 – as a constantly evolving group of methods and tools – has a bright future! John perceived Web 2.0 as a potential fix for the helpless learner feeling that he had to cope with when forced to learn math in a lecture hall from a teacher who had his back to the learners the whole time. Stephanie brought up the potential for creativity as she encouraged instructors to examine lessons from the point of view of their students. The potential in Web 2.0 for fostering learner motivation by integrating formal and informal learning was also considered.
Third, we find the Web 2.0 world engaging! From Beth’s “Flipped Classrooms” to podcasts for supporting students in overcoming learning challenges to the prospect of higher-order thinking, Web 2.0 represents a Web-connected global community. As I said before, global classrooms are not restricted by walls and rosters. They are student-directed, networked, participatory learning experiences.
In summary, it seems like we have concluded that emerging technologies and digital media do provide us – as educators, designers of instruction, and learners – with new tools and new opportunities for teaching and learning. They do give us versatility in how we present and exchange information and foster creativity in how we share media, apply it to our own unique context, and co-create new content through collaborative knowledge building.
Of course, there is no single or simple formula for selecting and implementing learning via Web 2.0. As I pointed out in a previous post, for example, it can be challenging to learn from a podcast where the speaker has a slow, monotone voice, or unfamiliar accent. In our rush to play in the sandbox, it remains critical to first consider fit – fit to objectives, fit to content, fit to context – as well as format. As members of the larger global community, we have a responsibility to at least attempt to understand the limitations of any method or tool for facilitating communication in order to avoid (or at minimum, reduce) the potential for misinterpretation of the message. Such misunderstandings could result in the convolution of the learning process or the derailing of learning altogether.