Sunday, February 22, 2009

Let's do away with Web 2.0 in education.

So, there's lots of discussion about Web 2.0 and the use of Web 2.0 tools in education. I recently joined the eLearning Guild and was struck by a presentation about Learning 2.0.

I like the term Learning 2.0. It puts the emphasis where it should be for education -- on the learning rather than on the tools. Yes, Web 2.0 tools can be cool. (blogging is in that Web 2.0 tool box) But the general development of Web 2.0 tools has more often than not, been about the social networking and making a buck, than about education and learning. But educators should be looking at Web 2.0 tools for the application and benefits to learning. Hence, Learning 2.0.

It may seem like a small thing, but I think words, and how we use them, can be big things, and Learning 2.0 focuses on how the tools are used, rather than just on the tools.

Second Life revisited...

Do you have a presence in Second Life? Have you had meetings in SL?

I do have a SL persona, but I'm still a novice. I saw an article recently (and now can't find it :-( ) that was reporting on teacher professional development (TPD) taking place in Second Life. I think that's potentially a good use, reaching folks who are already in SL. I'm concerned however with offering TPD on non-Second Life topics to folks who aren't familiar with Second Life. There was quite a learning curve for me, and I had an expert to guide me.

But what troubled me more, was reading that the TPD was subsequently encouraging teachers to begin using Second Life for student instruction. Oh, I think SL can be a very useful platform for a variety of different learning experiences. My concern is that Second Life is not completely accessible to some people with handicaps. I think there's an obligation to point out to teachers when encouraging them to explore Second Life as an instructional platform, that there are issues of access. There are issues of access with a variety of uses of technology in education, and there are those of us who have been pointing out the access issues for a number of years. I just want to be sure that the advocates of Second Life mention the issue when encouraging educators to explore it. The point is to expand the reach of education not to restrict access to education by locating it in places that segments of the population just can't get to.