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I’m sure a number of teachers still wonder why they should consider starting a blog. I spent some time working through the considerable amount information that Will Richardson presents in just the first twelve minutes of “Here Comes Learning” the NECC09 presentation below (which is available on ISTEVision) and now I realize the question is much bigger than just blogging or wikis.

It’s not “Why should I blog?” but “Why should I be connected?”

Will Richardson is a renown author and leader in the field of Web2.0 technologies in education. He was a presenter at the NECC09 in Washington and I, fortunately, was able to attend the session. His message to teachers is that they must be part of the huge technological shift that is happening, that they must use and own the emerging technologies so that they understand them and so that they will be ready to teach students what they need to know about using web2.0 technology in ways that are effective for learning.

Here Comes Learning by W.Richardson and SNBeach

Here Comes Learning – Wiki with more links to this presentation

My summary of the Importance of Teachers being Connected by Will Richardson

  • Students use the online world for social reasons but, also, increasingly to learn things -see the video about the bow drill which Will mentions throughout
  • Will Richardson quotes Clay Shirky when he says that the ability to form global groups around the things we are passionate about which include people with all levels of expertise – and the power of the group in an online world are part of significant change – a “Techtonic Shift.
  • We have incredible access to raw data (see the Iran tweets, photos). We no longer depend on the traditional news sources to know what is happening. We need skills to critically analyse the information for importance and accuracy.
  • These new technologies are having an impact on businesses. Companies monitor the conversation and how people form groups around their products. This is easily seen in Twitter when businesses follow and respond to those who use the product name in their tweets.
  • Information Literacy has changed, not just the way we write (Twitter and blogs), but the way we read and critically analyse information. New literacy skills are needed and suggested by the National Council of English Teachers :

Develop proficiency with the tools of technology Build relationships with others to pose and solve problems collaboratively and cross-culturally Design and share information for global communities to meet a variety of purposes Manage, analyze, and synthesize multiple streams of simultaneous information Create, critique, analyze, and evaluate multimedia texts Attend to the ethical responsibilities required by these complex environments

  • Students are using the technologies primarily to socialise but now they are beginning to connect in interest based ways as well,  tapping into the millions of potential teachers, who are out there when and where they need to do it

The problem becomes that many children/students have no adults that can teach them how to use technologies for ways that are effective for learning. Teachers need to understand these technologies, understand the shifts, own the technologies and make connections for themselves.They need to take time to immerse themselves in internet type environments to meet the challenge of providing students with the skills they will need in the 21st Century.

The second part of this presentation was concerned with the Professional Development model that will support teachers to develop deep seated skills and connections.