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August 13 Tech Session: Learning Communities and Web 2.0

Introduction – the Larger Context

Web 2.0 technologies are essential tools for educators to build collaborative learning communities in their schools, districts, states, and around the world. I believe such communities are necessary to expand educational opportunities for all students in an interconnected world.

Employing these technologies can enhance educational practice in several areas:

  1. Focusing and Extending Professional Development – Web 2.0 technologies are an effective means for educators to reflect upon new learning and to share that learning with other educators. Using these technologies, professional development opportunities can be expanded to have a larger impact on personal and organizational learning.
  2. Harvesting New Ideas on the Future of Education – New ideas about how we organize educational experiences for students are being published almost exclusively using Web 2.0 media. This is a large, global conversation. Educators need to be fluent in the tools necessary to aggregate, filter, and synthesize this information so that they can better understand the future vision of education and help contribute towards that vision.
  3. Improving Society – Students use these Web 2.0 tools in social networks 24/7. Educators need to be participants in the social networks of their students so they can shape the use of these technologies to serve the larger social good. This is the essential and historic purpose of schooling.

How to Move Forward

Looking at the various technologies available, I think it is essential that each educator establish their own personal account with Google. This will provide access to a variety of Web 2.0 tools under one account and allow educators to collaborate with each other in an easy manner.

  • Google Reader – use Google Reader to aggregate RSS feeds, take notes on them, and share feeds and comments with other educators.
  • Blogger – use Google Blogger to publish and share information about professional development and educational practices.
  • Delicious – use Delicious to bookmark or tag websites, and then share these tags and comments with other educators.
  • Twitter – use Twitter to share ideas and to follow the ideas of others.

Session Content

The focus of this session is on using specific Web 2.0 social technologies to assist members in creating professional learning communities within the Association and in their own organizations.

VSA Ning (http://vtsupers.ning.com)
-Ning features (blog, forum, video)
-subscribing to ning content
-create your own ning and more help

Using Feeds
Firefox
-setting up a Google account
-using Google Reader
-more help with Google Reader

Google Account Features
-blogging with Blogger
more help with Blogger
Google Voice
Google Wave

Microblogging with Twitter
-using a hashtag to create a group – #vsa
-Twitter clients (TweetDeck, DestroyTwitter – both of these require that you first install Adobe AIR)

Social Bookmarking with Delicious
-install Firefox Add-on
-using Delicious (create VSA group or tweet to #vsa hashtag)
more help with Delicious

Vocabulary/concepts
embed
RSS
feed
url
tags
Twitter hashtag (#vsa)

Social Share Counters