Discovery Education is playing a large role in this week’s workshops sponsored by SCETV. After all, through their partnership with SCETV, all schools in the state have access to on-demand video via StreamlineSC. This evening I joined a large group of local educators who are part of the Discovery Education Network for dinner and discussion. It was great meeting new folks and sharing new ideas with the group.
As one might imagine, Web 2.0 topics are really hot right now. There have been several sessions on blogging and podcasting. At dinner, I listened to folks talking about their favorite applications – Jott, Twitter, Flickr, Blogger, etc., etc., etc. It seemed to me like some of these applications are variations or attempted improvements upon others. Brad Fountain of Discovery and I had a similar conversation earlier in the day. He was showing me Diigo, which he describe as “Del.icio.us on steroids.” That may be, but I’ve already invested a lot of effort in getting del.icio.us set up like I want with my Internet bookmarks. I’m not ready to jump ship to a new app which may or may not be better.
This is the problem with any innovative technology. Something new comes along and sets a standard or moves in a new direction, then you immediately have imitators. Some just try to ride coattails. Some are commercial ventures attempting to monetize what should be a free and open discussion. They often justify this by claiming to offer a “safe environment for students.” Then there are some that are real improvements over the initial original service.
Where the problem occurs is when teachers have to decide which of these services to implement. Blogging, Twitter, and Podcasting take huge investments in time, first in learning, then in implementation. Just determining how you’re going to do it and which service you’re going to use can be daunting. While a variety of services may provide options, it can also provide confusion.
I don’t think there are simple answers. I think you can do as we have tried to do with these workshops – provide a wide array of hands-on experiences, then let the teachers decide which to use based on what fits their needs and comfort levels. They certainly should NOT be made to feel that in order to be a good instructional technology teacher that they have to use ALL of these Web 2.0 services ALL the time. Find the ones that make sense for your classroom, and go from there.
[tags]Instructional Technology, Web 2.0, EdTech[/tags]