I'm curious to know what types of resistance people have met introducing Web 2.0 into the classroom. Our faculty had a somewhat contentious discussion of this topic and I was wondering if other people have encountered the same thing. I'm also curious to see how you addressed the issue.

In essence, a fair number of people view these developments skeptically and worry about the "corrupting" influence it's having. Thoughts?

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Corrupting? hmmm....there will always be naysayers. Just do what is best for your kids and use the tools than enhance their learning.
I'm reading Here Comes Eveybody by Clay Shirky and he goes over the loss of professional status among journalists. I wonder if some of the resistance is similar in our faculty. Opening up kids to the sort of connections and opportunities we now have available calls into question some of our authority as teachers and that frightens people. I don't think it makes us redundant (I'd actually argue quite the opposite) but it does change what we have to do in the classroom.

All this would be interesting if I weren't in the middle of it all! ;-)
I wonder if part of the solution is to get teachers more comfortable with web 2.0 technologies. I've heard Will Richardson talk about personal learning communities in the past and I think I've finally figured out why he's right (I'm slow and not afraid to admit it).

Has anyone had any experience in creating these personal learning communities? How were they set up? Were they effective?
Dave, another good issue. I work with lots of teachers in professional development projects. We are always trying to create learning communities with teachers. It's a difficult task, but incredibly rewarding when it works. There are lots of great resources available, and I won't bother to list any because you can just Google them. My big understandings from my own personal experience are: 1) make the topic salient to the participants, 2) create opportunities for them to experience the subject as actively as possible, 3) support them in their learning, 4) support them even more in the initial stages as they struggle with all the new things 5) Balance the support and enabling issue. Ultimately, there has to be an investment of time and effort. (it's often harder than it sounds).

Again, some great things to think about. Thanks Dave for bringing them to our discussion.
We had a dreaded "improvement of instruction" meeting yesterday about this very topic. In the middle of the meeting I got charged with finding a speaker who could explain "kids today" to our faculty. Specifically, a cranky subset of our faculty. I pointed out that there were several hundred experts on "kids today" cruising around our campus every school day, but got shot down. Oh well. I tweeted it on the spot in a moment of frustration but didn't get everywhere. Upon reflection, I realized of course no one replied. It was a snippy tweet. I disparaged a whole generation of boomers, many of whom are fluent in classroom 2.0 and deserve better. Sorry for the gen X angst.

I think there is huge resistance to the fact that 21st Century learning means unlearning 20th Century learning. Our students are successful (I'm in a school that sends most kids on to college) why should anything change? The problem with what I call the "vision" thing--if our vision of the future is just more of what we're already doing, then don't change. If a teacher's vision of education is limited to their next 10 years in the classroom and making that as easy as possible, then that vision has to change. There's the real question--how do you transform someone from a "if it's April 28th, this is my folder/lesson plan" teacher into a model of a life-long learner? My answer is inspire, don't threaten. So, back to my speaker issue. Now I get it. If these teachers were going to be inspired by the kids, it would have already happened. Has already happened for many teachers who are going about transforming their classroom in exciting ways.

At the end, I showed the ubiquitous A Vision of Students Today (which I still love) and this video
which is an awesome extension of the concepts that I blogged a few days ago and that seemed to get a few folks excited. I'm off the ledge now.
Thanks for letting me process my thoughts on your discussion!
Sounds like we've been traveling the same road on this one. This video's great. Keep us posted on your progress!
Dave, Great questions. I would offer there are several issues here with skepticism being a valid one. I think teacher understanding of read, write web being another one. I always try to get teachers that I work with to think about what they want to accomplish and then think about how web 2.0 might help them achieve those goals more effectively (through higher student engagement, more dynamic representation, better information, teaching students to be critical consumers of information, etc.). Sara Kajder is a great thinker in this area and one of her mantras is that the tool is not as important as the learning goal. If you can show teachers how to achieve their goals more effectively, help them create an example or two, and then allow students to use several different tools to achieve their visions then web 2.0 might make more sense to those teachers.

More globally, I think that teachers who don't understand the world that we are preparing our students for are the ones who don't see the 'need' for all of this 'stuff', so instead of focusing on the tool, just continually show them the issues that their students have to face, show them the best of the best, and help them learn the value of the tools and to see others using them effectively.

Someone once told me that change doesn't take very long, in fact it happens instantly, but creating the opportunity for change to happen takes a long time and lots of work. Good luck!
change doesn't take very long, in fact it happens instantly, but creating the opportunity for change to happen takes a long time and lots of work.

Love this! Thank you!
Well said! We're about to start up another round of strategic planning. One of our goals is to get our faculty to tackle the "vision thing" so perhaps one thing to do is provide teachers with web 2.0 resources to help them think this through.
Hi David,
This is an absolutely wonderful discussion--so many thoughtful people talking about an issue that REALLY MATTERS. How do we overcome the resistance? In some cases, with just one colleague at a time. A visit after school to "look over some stuff," with specially selected sites chosen on the basis on that person's interest--or curriculum... Just taking the time to share, and show, and converse one on one can make a whole lot more difference than a PD workshop or "orders from the top." It's personal, and it spreads.
BTW, thanks to Sarah for posting "A Vision of Students Today," which I hadn't seen. I'm putting it up on Fireside.
I think your idea of one colleague at a time really is the way to go on this one. Trying to do this top-down doesn't really work (we educators tend to be just a bit on the independent side...)
Hey, y'all, Shelley Krause here. I work as a college counselor in a pretty techno-positive independent K-12 school in central NJ, and have been charged by my upper school head with talking with our faculty about "living online" at our upcoming faculty meeting (on MONDAY!).

We seem quite comfortable asking our students to participate in a virtual environment (Moodle is huge here, with some podcasting and video-making around the edges). Our Headmaster is requiring everyone to participate in some kind of Moodle-facilitated activity over the summer, and we had a series of well-attended faculty-generated tech talks that ran all year this year. (The "power users," evangelizing.)

But we seem to be less sure about what to do with folks like me... the few faculty/staff who have an active blog and/or wiki and/or Second and/or Twitter life that are not explicitly tied to our school-based jobs.

Can anyone point me towards "best practices" with regards to walking the line between one's professional life and one's (partially public) personal life? Should Twittering faculty protect their posts? Should blogging faculty be forbidden to address anything having to do with school. What kinds of Facebook entries are grounds for termination? What about Flickr pics?

Grateful for any input you can offer, apologies if this is old hat and I just missed the conversation,
(reply here, or message me @butwait on Twitter, or shelleyq (at) yahoo (dot) com)



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