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Is Web 2.0 Working for You?

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I've joined LinkedIn and Facebook. I blog and Twitter. I've hosted Web chats, downloaded and posted video, and I've even fiddled a bit with wikis and podcasts. But I'm still wondering if all this has been an effective way to reach Ed Week and Digital Directions readers.

According to McKinsey & Co., many companies are wondering the same thing. In the February edition of the McKinsey Quarterly, the business journal of the global management-consulting company, there are some tips for making Web 2.0 work for you. The second generation of Web usage is all about communication and collaboration, as well as sharing information safely and effectively.

In "Six ways to make Web 2.0 work," McKinsey's experts make use of the company's survey of 50 early adopters of such technology to highlight successful strategies and practices. You may be relieved to know that as many of the survey respondents are happy with their efforts at Web 2.0 applications as are dissatisfied. Many of them are like me, confused about the value of social networking and viral marketing, especially when results aren't always recognizable. If I send out a tweet about this blog posting, will it get the traffic I want? If I update what I'm doing on my Facebook page, will I reach more of my target audience for Ed Week and DD content?

I would bet that most educators are equally perplexed about how to use the tools that have become an obsession with many of their students to improve learning and engagement with content. I know many teachers are using blogs and wikis to share ideas and collaborate with other teachers, and perhaps even to communicate with students.

Here's a YouTube video with one educator's take on all this:

While the McKinsey article is targeted mostly to corporate types, I wonder if these guidelines can apply to schools, administrators, and teachers as well. What do you think?

Of course you can continue the conversation on Twitter, @McKQuarterly.

10 Comments

Oh yes, web 2.0 tools are working well for me as a learner. I am hoping by modeling what I learn by subscribing to twitter, reading blogs and managing a school wiki, I will encourage my staff to use the tools as well. I work as a techie in a school where technology is not used much except for student research and word processing. We don't have fancy equipment, but we do have laptop carts and a wireless network. My goal is to get the word out that teachers can use the tools we have to access the web 2.0 tools online instead of waiting for whiteboards we may never get or being afraid of jumping in and teaching with the what's readily available on the Internet.

I am very excited about what's happening and appreciative of all the folks in the know who are willing to share with those of us who are not there yet.

Thank you for all you do.

I definitely see the significance that web 2.0 tools can have for teachers in getting students motivated to learn. I am a huge advocate for technology in my school and I try to incorporate these tools as much and as often as I can.

The problem that I am running into is resistance from other teachers and administrators. Currently at my school, all social networking sites, any website with "blog" even remotely attached to it, and all wikis are blocked by our filters. Because of this, it's almost impossible for me to use these tools with my students. I understand that we need to teach students Internet safety, but how do we teach this if we simply block everything? I fear that they won't know what to do if they do stumble upon something inappropriate.

So for my question, how do you convince others of the importance of web 2.0 tools and alleviate some of the fear that many people have about opening this sites up to students?

I definitely see the significance that web 2.0 tools can have for teachers in getting students motivated to learn. I am a huge advocate for technology in my school and I try to incorporate these tools as much and as often as I can.

The problem that I am running into is resistance from other teachers and administrators. Currently at my school, all social networking sites, any website with "blog" even remotely attached to it, and all wikis are blocked by our filters. Because of this, it's almost impossible for me to use these tools with my students. I understand that we need to teach students Internet safety, but how do we teach this if we simply block everything? I fear that they won't know what to do if they do stumble upon something inappropriate.

So for my question, how do you convince others of the importance of web 2.0 tools and alleviate some of the fear that many people have about opening this sites up to students?

The tools that web 2.0 provide for teachers and learners are incredible opportunities to reach some of the students that we don't reach with traditional tools. I have always been very interested in technology. The ability to do things quicker, faster or just the ability to do things that are completely different from the creations of the past is so exciting. I can think back to the 5 1/4 floppy disks that I had to use in the earlier days of computers or the graphics that were "incredible" within video games of the past. The jump that has been achieved in technology is inspiring. The things that we only dreamed of are just a few years ago are now reality.

Harnessing the power of these tools to enhance teaching is the key. As teachers we shouldn't throw away the knowledge that we can impart on our students, instead we need to use the tools of web 2.0 to present the same knowledge in a different way that will connect with our students.

Luis,

I agree with you that we should harness web 2.0 tools, but how do we do this when there is so much resistance from administration? I have tried using blogging and wikis with my students, only to called out by administration.

How do you go about convincing others of the importance and significance of web 2.0 tools?

I just wanted to share my experience this weekend with setting up some wikis for use with my classroom. The process is not at all that difficult. I visited wikispaces.com and pbwiki.com. Both were very easy to setup and I am very excited to begin using these tools with my students. The tools are available we just need to get over any fear that we may have.

Cindy

All I can do is prepare myself as best as possible and provide my administrators with all the information that will convince them. I am lucky though to have an administrator that see the benefits of the technology that we have at our disposal. I have also been involved with the technology teachers through the past years and have been able to help others teachers become more comfortable with the use of technology. Maybe them fell that they can trust me.

Do you have problems getting your administration to see things as you see them?

Luis,

Thanks for the response. Unfortunately, I do have trouble getting the administration, more specifically - our technology coordinator, to see things my way. Currently, any website with forum, blog, wiki, etc. in it's name is blocked. I think I need to be more proactive and go to the administration above him and state my case. He has total control over what is and isn't filtered and no one else seems to know much about technology, so they all just trust his judgment.

I am joining the technology committee on the school board, so hopefully this will allow me to inform some people on a more formal level, as well.

Thank you for your advice!

Cindy
I glad to hear that you going to take those steps in order to get the administration to the how beneficial these tools can be.

Maybe this blog can be of help.
http://www.openeducation.net/2008/10/10/using-blogs-to-enhance-learning-%E2%80%93-some-helpful-tips/

Good Luck

Web 2.0 promises to offer a lot of useful applications for the classroom. However, schools and districts will need to adapt or they will get left behind. As an administrator I am constantly enforcing a cell phone policy, but I wonder how much more useful it would be if we had a code of ethics and began using these as tools.

Likewise, applications like Facebook have a place in the classroom. I came across a education-based version of this called FatClass http://www.fatclass.com I think this might be a step in the right direction

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