Kevin Oliver is an Assistant Professor and Program Coordinator for the new online Instructional Technology program at North Carolina State University. His research interests focus on the application of Web-based tools, particularly those used in distance education, in support of student-centered teaching and learning.
In this paper I share my view to one of his articles that written on TechTrends Journal on March/April 2010. This specific article was very inspiring to me as a technology teacher and has helped me to discover how important to include Web 2.0 applications in ICT class for high school students.
Despite the fact that ICT topics nearly always involve many interesting areas, choosing the right topics to teach always remains a challenge for teachers. In these days, the word “communication” is a tricky one, when we are teaching ICT to digital native learners. Undoubtedly, students will come to class expecting teachers to integrate the social communication tools they use everyday into this class. They will be asking: are we going to use Facebook in this class, are we going to tweet a little bit, can we use the chat in this class?
As an educator, I feel their expectations should be met especially as I am a big believer in differentiation in teaching. As a technology teacher, I feel more productive in teaching those students many different ways of learning today’s technology and giving them the chance to explore more about using those different communication tools.
Without doubt, Web 2.0 tools have greatly influenced this generation of young people and they infuse their lives in many different ways. More importantly, these tools affect this generation and the way they learn. Many of these tools are very valuable for enhancing the students learning and achievement. The students have used most of these tools but do not recognize them as Web 2.0 tools. Examples are Facebook, email, blog, wiki, YouTube…etc.
Tech Trends Magazine has published an article titled Integrating Web 2.0
Across the Curriculum by Kevin Oliver, on March/April 2010. The article explores different web 2.0 tools that could be considered in instructional technology. In the article Oliver, K (2010) explained, “Web 2.0 refers to the current generation of Internet applications that allow users to collaboratively generate their own content. Blogs and wikis are among the most frequently cited Web 2.0 tools, but they are just the tip of an integration iceberg.” Pg. 52. The author also shared many different tools that fit different curriculum areas, which are really interesting to explore. What I mostly like about his article that he shared ideas and web 2.0 Websites by subject areas and refer to them be 2.0 examples of that are:
English – Language Arts 2.0
• Google Map
Social Studies 2.0
Physical Education and Health 2.0
The article also listed many other resources like Google Docs, Google earth and map, Wikis, blogs sites, and more. Since the article was assigned as one of the reading materials on my master degree, I found it really interesting and more attracting to explore more and more tools. The tricky part about all these tools is how to find the suitable one for your curriculum? But in this article the author divided it into different parts by subjects and gave examples of how it could be used to enhance students’ learning. A Labbo, L. et.al (2010) states, “Effective integration of technology is achieved when students are able to select technology tools to help them obtain information in a timely manner, analyze and synthesize the information, and present it professionally. The technology should become an integral part of how the classroom functions- as accessible as all other classroom tools.”
Inspired by all the ideas posted on the Kevin Oliver article, I implemented a unit in my ICT class for the high school students. The class was taught in second semester of the last school year and ran from January 8 – May 28, 2012. The title of the unit was Web 2.0 in Education and Business and most of the learning depended on the students’ exploration and sharing their findings. I used a Facebook group page to share our class ideas and inventions related to ICT in general. Here is the link to our Facebook group page (https://www.facebook.com/groups/ictclassemail/). The group page itself was an example of using Facebook in education. Students explored many different web 2.0 tools such as: Flikr, YouTube, Prezi, Voice Thread, Blogs, Wikis, iMovie, Diigo, Write Board, Linkedin, and more. Students were required to show their learning outcome in presentation format online or offline. Of all the tools we used I have found that students were really engaged more with Prezi, iMovie, VoiceThread, and YouTube. I think students learn better when we give them their own space to find suitable tools to show their learning and achievement. Usually they like to show off what they can do by themselves, so the four tools I mentioned are allowing them to be creative in their own way and share their learning with others. It was an eye-opener for me to see that some students had chosen some tools to presents their final project like blog or wiki but they changed their mind as soon as they started seeing other students who were enjoying working on Prezi or iMovie. So by the end of the class I had all the students present an iMovie presentation or Prezi.
Kevin Oliver’s article stands out as one of the most significant articles that really had an impact on me and affected my teaching style. It helped and inspired me to look at web 2.0 tools as more than just fun tools on the Internet. What makes his article valuable is that makes so easy to find tools by subject matter, which makes it easy for teachers to find what they are looking for.
Today’s teachers need to be aware of the fact that students always will be more techs savvy than the teachers because they are digital native learners. As mentioned in the article written by Harris and Rea (2009) “Web 2.0 and Virtual World technologies are making an impact on Information System (IS) in education. Our students are already savvy with the technologies. Our hope is that IS professors learn to harness the capabilities to engage students and promote active learning.”
As a technology coordinator I wanted to note that technology integration requires a lot of effort from the teachers side. Teachers need to allocate time on a weekly basis to educate themselves about technology tools and how they could be used in education. Before we integrate we need to ensure that the tool we are integrating will definitely enhance student learning and enrich their content areas. I’m hoping that one-day in my career, I can add to his article more incitements and create something that could lead and inspire other educators in their chosen fields.
Harris, A. L., & Rea, A. (2009). Web 2.0 and virtual world technologies: A growing impact on IS education. Journal of Information Systems Education, 20(2), 137-144. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/200117009?accountid=31683
Labbo, L. D., Place, K., & Soares, L. (2010). Fresh perspectives on new literacies and technology integration. Voices from the Middle, 17(3), 9-18. http://search.proquest.com/docview/213930718?accountid=31683
Oliver, K. (2010). Integra