Notes from a Laptop

April 2, 2008

Obstacles to adopting Web 2.0

Filed under: obstacles,Web 2.0 — Lindajay @ 2:27 pm

obstacle.jpgWeb 2.0 tool were big on the agenda of School Libraries Leading Learning, the conference of ASLA NSW, held at the King’s School last weekend. Several comments were made about the slow adoption of these wonderful tools, but unfortunately in many schools there are often obstacles. Here are just a few observations on possible hitches which come when adapting Web 2.0 tools to school situations, for which we need to find solutions (or at least be aware of):

  • access to sites blocked at server (departmental) level – e.g. schools unable to access webmail products like Gmail, or viewing of Youtube blocked for protection issues
  • inability to download plugins to school computers – sometimes only the administrators can allow this (try and find them and pin them down to do it!) – e.g. problem accessing tools such as del.icio.us toolbars
  • reading of, and access to, blogs may be blocked by school filters – e.g. filters using word blocking
  • different levels of online access may surprise teachers – e.g. teacher access to some sites that are blocked for students – YouTube – lesson prepared on teacher’s login but to run on students’ logins
  • peak periods of demand on school networks, leading to slow access e.g. slow and faultering display of videos which are being streamed (or in fact, low bandwidth of school networks)
  • time needed to learn new tools, and then decide which is the most valuable to adapt and use, so that it is integrated validly into classroom use – not just as a fancy add-on
  • cost – in time, training, and updating of hardware and networks to manage new demands

Still, in spite of all (or some of these) obstacles, we as teachers and teacher-librarians should endeavour to try at least some of these tools, (no need to be phased by the vast numbers, just pick a few) and share our successes with others – in training, guiding and encouraging through the difficulties and frustrations. Perhaps we need a place online to regularly share our successes and point others in a positive direction in adaptation of Web 2.0.? As Ross Todd said: “Just do it!” But I add: “Let’s share it!”

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2 Comments »

  1. Linda, you have mentioned many of the annoying aspects of schools and networks that are just not Web 2.0 savvy. This is a big limiter, often based on poor knowledge of the tools and the big beat up of the dangers of the web. The dangers are there, but blocking access for learning isn’t going to prevent the real problems (a whole other topic).

    But the the biggest limiter by far is just sheer lack of time. Many teacher librarians (and teachers generally) are just overwhelmed by their work load already and it is hard to learn new things under such pressure. It is a steep learning curve for some, but I thing well worth the attempt. Learning and sticking to one thing for a while – maybe just following a few blogs with interesting ideas – can be a way of entering the territory. Web 2.0 is just brimming with ideas, but picking up one or two which you can really use and share is a start.

    I have started using Pageflakes for displaying a limited number of blogs instead of going to my full bloglines list each day. And delicious bookmarks are a boon.

    Marita Thomson

    Comment by MTH — April 3, 2008 @ 7:10 am | Reply

  2. I so agree with you, Marita. And because most TLs are stretched for time – including other demands on their expertise (e.g. promoting literature, inservicing staff, etc.), we need to find a way to make it easy for all to find a useful tool or 2, and learn to use it effectively.

    This may help, when TLs can show best practice to each other and other teachers (and IT staff), so that the fear of the dangers of the web is removed by USING AND CONTROLLING IT. And also by modelling safe procedures for our students (who are out amongst it whether we like it or not!)

    Personally, I haven’t investigated Pageflakes, but find using IExplorer’s Feed Discovery effective for me as an RSS aggregator. How easy is it to use Pageflakes? And yes, del.icio.us is quickly replacing our use of a full-blown web page to collect bookmarks quickly – see posts below on both.

    Thanks for sharing,
    Linda

    Comment by lindajay — April 3, 2008 @ 9:24 am | Reply


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