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Creativity, Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking, Concepts – Web 2.0 is Speaking the Language

October 4, 2009

As Web 2.0 gathers a huge amount of momentum amongst K-12 teachers and when students convince their teachers that their assignments can almost always be digital, more and more Web 2.0 tools will be utilized by students to demonstrate their learning. The question remains whether the use of the tools can not only demonstrate academic learning but also develop and refine 21st century technology skills that students can apply to other learning environments and in the workplace later in life.
The rapid developments that are occurring in the Web 2.0 sphere suggest that students who are not exposed to them now, will not be able to quickly adapt to the world of learning and work of the 21st century either. Web 2.0 and the 21st century learner are intricately linked, and are a cycle of learning and creating:

– A student who is creative can use Digital Storytelling to communicate a powerful message, perhaps created in a unique way, to persuade an audience. The images may have been edited online using Picnic and presented to a wider audience using Slideshare.
– A student who communicates well can collaborate with others to create new ideas or products, perhaps using Voicethread, Wikis or Nings.
– A student who is able to gather, organize, analyse and evaluate information can research 21st century issues, and present their findings using a Glogster poster.
– A student who can think critically about digital media and make decisions can use Web 2.0 tools to help solve the problems of the 21st century by using shared documents, such as Google Docs to gather and organize the information required to act on these critical problems.
– A student who recognizes the value of other’s intellectual property, and honours others’ work by attributing sources, perhaps using Bibme or another Web 2.0 bibliographic tool, is a student who views the internet as a place that can used for the public good, creating useful and meaningful content with integrity and at the same time, in a safe manner.
– A student who understands the basics of technology and its role in society today, and into the future, is ready to adapt to the constantly changing world of the 21st century, recognizing that Web 2.0 tools have their limitations today, and will need to be improved to meet the needs of the next generation.

The Web 2.0 world is a parallel metaphor for the skills and knowledge of learning in the 21st century. But more than that, they are the tools that create the learning in this new millennium. It’s not too late to join in the adventure.

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