Anyone else out there done with Classroom 2.0? I am and I'm sad to say so. Other than twitter, it's been the most powerful network I've been a part of. There's a great number of people that I would have never met and connected with if it weren't for Classroom 2.0. EduBloggerCon wouldn't have happened for me without it. I'm not losing sleep over my decision, but I want to talk about the process of how I got out of the ning that introduced me to ning and shaped a lot of my thinking on how social networking can work with teachers and students.

A few months back I got into a bit of an argument about how twitter could be used in the classroom. It was at that point I decided to step out for a little while. There were, what seemed to me, several people who had joined Classroom 2.0 that have little or no desire to
  1. use technology in the classroom as a transformative tool
  2. put technology in the hands of students and most importantly
  3. change the structure of the traditional classroom
After my August hiatus I decided to drop back in, today, and based on the forum topics not much has changed.

classroom 2.0 forum 11/22/07

Twitter's still being discussed (in two separate discussions) but I think that more people are starting to get it (not that my points in argumentative forum discussion mentioned above were ever really about twitter). There's a conversation going on about classroom management (which is a problem, specifically, because of the structure of classroom 1.0,). Most disheartening, though, is that there is an ongoing discussion of actively excluding students from the network. The level of discourse going on about including (or not including) students in our conversations and grand schemes to change their classrooms from 1.0 to 2.0 pains me. If there are students who are willing to give their input, I can't imagine a more important, relevant, or crucial voice to listen to. Excluding students from the conversations about their future is the cornerstone of Classroom 1.0.

So, I'm stepping out again.

I want to be realistic here it's not as if my presence is going to be missed. There are a great number of people here far more insightful, educated, creative, and useful (not to mention having the ability to spell and having a basic command of grammar and syntax) than I am to this network. There are over 4,000 members, and growing. From what I know about networks that's a good thing.

Farewell, Classroom 2.0. Thanks for helping me grow and may you spark the same in a great many others.

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I agree. Honestly, I am curious, though. Has there been even one case of a stranger kidnapping because of information on the Internet? A cursory web search yields no results.
The incidences you hear about on the news are perpetrators "met" on the internet, the victim going with them willingly. I think I read somewhere that there are about 300 stranger abductions nationwide a year, wonder what percent are kids were "found" over the internet? I looked around the internet--FBI, Missing and Exploited Children, but didn't find any numbers.
Nancy Willard has been very good about tracking this kind of information, and come to some of the same conclusions that you have. However, as the network administrator for this site, by Ning's terms and conditions, I am responsible for what takes place here. And since this is a public site, the publishing of first and last names of youth possibly under the age of 13 would be regulated by COPPA, my immediate responsibility was to remove the listings.

I do agree that older student activity here would be interesting and valuable.
Hi Glenn,
Sorry to see you go. I think vibrant communities are made up of many types of people that grow and change over time. Come back when you want.

Although frustrating, it's also encouraging to me to see the same conversations come up time and again. We aren't a monolith or a cadre of grad students all on the same road. Some of us have been traveling this road for months, some for decades. And it would be pretty silly of me to get mad at someone who has just joined the conversation that they somehow missed the brilliant point I made 3 years ago. That time has passed, and it's more important to keep the flame alive of believing that education can and should be better than to prove that I was the first person who said something. Because of course I wasn't!

People who find that technology tools unlock a long buried interest in learning theory need to be welcomed in and valued for their contributions. Someone who discovers Marc Prensky today will likely tire of the native/immigrant cliché tomorrow -- not because the cliché has changed, but because they have changed. But it opened a door for them.

It's tough to maintain this perspective, because what attracts you to an idea or group changes over time. Today, "sage on the stage vs. guide on the side" may seem like a brilliant insight, in a year you will roll your eyes and think, "how could someone say something so hackneyed?" Hearing the 47th person have the same ephiphany can either be boring or be validation that we are all on the right road, just at different places.

I think teachers are actually in a great place to stick with groups like this, and nurture newcomers with enthusiasm, after all, every year starts with a new group of kids and we'd never say to them, "hey, why didn't you learn this stuff last year!?"
Hi, Glenn! :) You should know that you are seriously one of my favorite people in the world. I just wish you had titled your post differently... As you'll see from the below, I think a lot of how "beginners" will find Classroom 2.0, and I hate for them to see this as the first forum post and leave before giving the network a try. But I also believe in dialog, and this one has been so reflective of what CR 2.0 is--thoughtful, considerate, and reflective--that I'm hopeful those who do look at it will gain added respect for the network.

I've been on vacation, and trying to keep my "work" time limited. I saw this conversation come up, and I wanted to respond, but I felt I would have to spend too much time doing so for my family to be happy with me. Happily, I've felt that the responses you have gotten have been very thoughtful and have addressed many of the points that I might have, and more.

Classroom 2.0 was never intended by me to be the be-all and end-all site for discussions on the influence of technology on education. I'm really glad that this has been discussed often, though, and I feel I have learned a lot when it has. But CR 2.0 was really created to allow educators who had very little or no experience with the Web to be able to see the value of Web 2.0 tools and watch or be a part of the engaged dialog taking place. At the time of starting it, the basic message to educators from the edublogosphere was: if you want to be a part of what we're doing, start a blog. I was in complete agreement that blogging is a transformational experience, but it seemed to me that the technical and emotional hurdles to starting a blog were going to make it very hard for most educators to find out why the read/write web makes such a difference in learning. There was general acknowledgment that blogging meant slogging it out and "speaking to the empty room" for weeks or months, and even then you weren't guaranteed to develop and "audience."

It was talking with Will Richardson and Chris Sessums and some others at an informal "edubloggercon" during FETC last year that set the stage for using Ning as an entry point for educators. Will was complaining that it didn't make sense for him to teach teachers how to teach blogs and wikis in their classrooms, since what they really needed was to go through the experience themselves before asking them to teach it. Soon thereafter I discovered Ning, and started a network called "School 2.0," with the idea that the technologies of the collaborative web would lead to a new way of looking at learning and formal education. But School 2.0 never really took off--I think, in large part, because of the connotation of reform. A light bulb went off for me, and Classroom 2.0 was born. "Classroom 2.0" didn't have the connotation of reform, it was just about discussing the use of collaborative technologies in the context of current structures, and it was immediately more successful than my School 2.0 network.

During that growth, a number of folks started branching off CR 2.0, building their own Ning networks. I had to take a step back and ask myself how I felt about that. Was I building something that was "mine" or proprietary, or did I care about how social networking and Web 2.0 would help enhance and/or change learning and education? This was a great learning experience for me in the "new way of the Web," and I tried to think about a higher path that would allow me to promote the greater, collaborative good and still afford to be involved. So I called Ning and asked them if they would hire me as a consultant to promote the use of Ning in education. They were very responsive, and that has given me a chance to be more expansive in my thinking about what CR 2.0 can do.

So what do I think it can do? I think it can help beginners come in and feel, quickly, the power of being involved in an engaged dialog. I think it can spawn a great professional development network around the use of collaborative technologies
(must be a limit to Ning's text fields--never hit that before!) ...

I think it can spawn a great professional development network around the use of collaborative technologies. If' I'm being really expansive, I think it might also be a platform for some larger professional development projects, and for collaborative and "inclusive" endeavors in educational environments that have typically been more "exclusive"--like conferences and books. :) More coming on that soon, I hope. Do I think that the tools of the collaborative web are going to lead to amazing changes in learning and formal education? Absolutely. Do I enjoy those conversations when they happen here? YES. But do I want to give up CR 2.0 as a place where beginners can come in and feel comfortable starting at ground zero? Absolutely not. If there are engaged dialogs about specific topics that are hard to focus on or find because CR 2.0 welcomes the beginner, let's find other places to have them. And let me know, because I'll want to be there!
Dear Steve and Glenn,

I am fairly new to using this Ning, and as a new member have been very encouraged and engaged here. I learn more each day by seeing what others are doing adding some of their favorite sites to mine, and have tried many more new instructional strategies this year.

The other point I think might need to be addressed is how one enlightened person like both you can make a difference and education-even if it is only in your own classroom, school building or district. Providing great examples where increased student engagement and achievement are realized do make others take notice. I was assigned to a new building this year where in the past the children basically did word processing, spreadsheets and used the Net as an on-line library.

I entered and just began teaching- using web 2.0 tools neither the students or teachers had used. In just 3 short months I have 6 teachers using wiki's, We have a building blog where we can post thoughts, areas of concern ect. Teachers who were used to just dropping their kids off-are now staying for part of class and are amazed to see how I can use technology to differentiated instruction and how while one class is receiving instruction, it is okay for kids from other classes to fill in empty seats to work on their projects. Just yesterday, the principal said the computer lab had become the learning hub in the school. I have requests to do in-services and the entire staff signed up. While I am not in the same league as Steve or Glenn-they provided me with inspiration-the students have benefited and as the kids have gotten excited and their achievement has shown results-the attention of the staff was captured! For me I use the Web 2.0 tools to provide a variety of interactive experiences to engage and encourage content rich learning experiences. For me the marriage between web 2.0 tools, differentiated instruction and project based learning seem to be a combination that is working for me, my fellow teachers and students.

My belief-we can education one classroom at a time!
Sounds like you are doing a wonderful job. If the time is right, share some of the things you are doing with kids. I'd love to see samples.
I agree, Steve, that CR2.0 is still invaluable for beginners. It, in and of itself is a wonderfully friendly place to get your feet wet with collaborations and tools, as well as begin handling the entire mindset.

I too, think I may have, for the most part, moved beyond CR2.0, but I do recommend many newbies to come here to find what the concepts are about. IF they end up coming, I know they're not here to listen to the awful nay-sayers.

So I say let's go on if we need to, but there is still a BIG need for this sort of network!
This is a great place to get up to speed. And it's a good place to go on from. In some ways now, I've got to consolidate some application of what I've accumulated. I've enjoyed the thinking space Steve's opened up for us, and will drop back in from time to time - (Now I've achieved enlightenment I can move on? - no!) - but I've hit my limit of social network finitude I'd raved about in various places here. There are only so many conversations I can be an active part of and still maintain a real and growing life, and now I have to cut down on this one. I don't think there's a replacement that I've seen, just a need to implement what I preach I teach.
There's a great book title about called "The Temporary Community" - and that really is what these networks are about - we find a community for who we are at present, but we don't stay at that point, and move to a different community/communities more relevant to who we've become (Hopefully it's a move because of growth rather than decline!)



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