Wednesday, November 4, 2009

What's Cool about the Web 2.0 Tool?

A recent blog post by Jim Gates really resonated with me. Jim is a retired tech integration specialist from an Eastern PA intermediate unit who now has his own consulting business. I've attended a couple of his workshops and read his blog and Twitter feeds religiously. This guy is very passionate about using technology in the classroom to promote student achievement!

However, he is now reflecting on the use of Web 2.0 and other tools simply for the "cool" factor. He realizes that we need to pull back and determine the educational value of these tools first. Do they help students work at the top levels of Bloom's Taxonomy? How do they help students meet the PA Academic Standards? The National Educational Technology Standards? As Jim puts it:
I suppose that this is a natural evolution of things. You first become enamored with a web app (cuz we're geeks, after all) and you have to get over that before you can focus on the learning. But, from now on, when I mention a "cool tool" I'm going to be certain to talk about which NETS-S it matches, and where its use falls on the new Bloom's scale. If the tools doesn't make students think in a different or deeper way, then I'll be certain to reevaluate before showing it to anyone. Where does a talking carrot fall on the new Bloom's scale?

It's easy to get caught up in the "That's so cool!" bells and whistles when we see a new web site or Web 2.0 tool. (Guilty as charged!) But as educators, we need to step back and ask ourselves how students will learn and grow and be challenged by using the technology. Where's the educational value?

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