The pedagogy behind the tool: Looking for like-minded folks and resources

Hello everyone,

Boy, it's really been a while for me, but I'm back on this wonderful site. I've spent a lot of time thinking lately on the purpose behind the tool and what we educators are taking back to the classroom when using these tools. How is this all changing our teaching and our classrooms? I've been looking for solid voices on the pedagogy behind the tools... the purpose for using them. I have found Kim Cofino's work exceptional. Who are the other voices out there discussing the implications of Web 2.0 (is it still 2.0 or am I already dated?) in our classrooms?

I feel there are likely many schools and districts just beginning to see the impact of all this and 21st century learning. Where is the dialogue about why we should change the way we teach and why we should connect students, mold them into producers who communicate understanding? And, more specifically, how do we go about this without focusing on "making a blog" or "doing a wiki project"?

I am very interested in this topic because I think there will be a time (if it's not already here) where there will be a critical mass and a shift in our teaching practice. In my district, we base most of our Web 2.0 workshops on UBD philosophy (in the background). The premise is that there should be a why behind the what. This topic is also near and dear to me because it fits so well with the ADDIE process in instructional design. As teachers using Web 2.0 tools, we should be focusing on the design of our lessons, the understanding we want our students to have, and structuring the lesson (which may or may not include a Web 2.0 tool) to get them there. The tool is but one medium we use, but there should always be a standard, an essential understanding, that the student gains from the experience of using that tool in that project or assignment. Any other like-minded folks out there care to discuss?

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Hi, Amy,

Your emphasis on the "why behind the what" is essential. In my philosophy, integrating technology should take a backseat to delivering content. If the technology itself becomes the reason for a lesson rather than the content, the lesson plan is flawed, and the technology piece should be reconsidered. This is why I believe technology integrators should be hired who are certified teachers rather than IT personnel. Instructional technology is a unique professional blend and requires more skill/expertise/training than a regular teacher or an IT professional, but it will ensure the most effective and meaningful use of the technology in the classroom. If you're interested, please visit my post about this topic in my blog:
Hi Amy,

I don't know if this book will be specific enough as far as pedagogy goes, but I just finished "Web 2.0, new tools, new schools" by Gwen Solomon and Lynne Schrum. This is a good read and they talk a lot about these concepts.

With the faculty that I work with I always impress on them that web2.0 technologies are tools, just like a hammer. A hammer can be really useful if it's the right tool for the job. I always encourage them to figure out first what they want to accomplish with the students and then I'll help them match the tool. So instead of focusing on what can I do with a blog, wiki, etc... I encourage them to become familiar with the tools available and then as they develop their curriculum, they'll have a whole toolbox of great technologies to consider.
Hi Amy. I am a kindred spirit in this thinking. I think that learning should direct the purpose and nature of the technology that we use. However, I think that in many schools at present the technology directs or fits the learning. I love that question "why" and I think that we, as teachers, should be asking 'why' all the time. We should also be sharing this with our student- 'what are we learning and why do we need to know this'. I think that this does not mean that if we can't find a good reason for why we need to know something or do something, that we can just drop it. I think that it stimulates thinking about finding the reason for why we need to know something or be able to do something.
I love your statement about the "why behind the what".
Just some of my thinking
Amy, I agree with you and sometimes feel alone in my opinions. I'm just not seeng that the txting, tweeting, uploading, downloading, IMing, chatting, is going to a lead to generation of creative, forward thinking problem solvers. Even though I use computers or other technologies everyday in the classroom everyday I find some tool-usage time consuming and low level. The tool is not the thing.
Hi Amy,

Thank you so much for your kind words about my posts! I am so glad that the "why behind the what" is coming through in my blog. I agree wholeheartedly that the "why" is almost more important than the "what" - the tools are constantly changing, what we need to truly understand is why we are using them and how they can have a positive impact on our learning experience.

I have found that those new to technology often prefer to focus on the "how" of these new tools, rather than the changing "why." Often I think this is because it's easier to figure out how to retrofit a new tool into an old model of thinking, than it is to understand the "why" and not make changes in your practice. It's certainly a difficult transition to make.

I agree that the UbD method is a great way to focus on goals for a unit (no matter what the discipline) and I really believe that technology is only an amplifier of the teaching practice. If good, pedagogically sound classroom practices are in place, technology will amplify those. If not, those not-so-good practices will be equally amplified by the use of technology.

Thanks again for highlighting my blog!

OMG!! I'm star struck! I seriously felt instantly, insanely happy when I was reading your blog because THAT sort of conversation and thinking is exactly the kind of thing my district tries to implement in our teacher trainings. Changing the teaching practice is what makes critical, creative thinkers, not plugging in a wiki instead of a worksheet. I would love to discuss further and maybe even have you in our Second Life discussions. My district has land we're setting up to use for PD. You would be an awesome speaker. I read the post on Working with the Willing and about died. It's so nice to find a kindred thinker in all of this newfangled, techie goodness. LOL!! OK, I'm gushing now. ;-) If you would like to be a guest speaker, can you email me at mrscapelle [@] gmail?
Hi Amy,

Thank you! You're much too kind :) An e-mail is on its way!
Hello Amy from Wales!

I couldn't agree more about the need for a pedagogical perspective on Web 2.0.

You may be interested in a UK view of Web 2.0 as it impacts on higher education...

Best wishes




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