Notes from a Laptop

May 10, 2008

the Why 2 of Web 2.0 – Will Richardson at Syba Signs Conference

Filed under: Web 2.0 — Lindajay @ 10:27 pm

In Sydney yesterday, Will Richardson spoke at some length about the skills developed at an early age by individual creative students – in spite of their schooling. He gave the example of 14 year old, Andrew Winton, who has recently schooled Will’s children about using Scratch (a new programming language that makes it easy to create your own interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art) via internet conferencing.

He gave other examples of the way in which Web 2.0 tools are, for example, having a notable impact on US elections, via Obama’s blogging ability, while also enabling retirees to earn a prosperous living after work. (and has included lots of these examples at:

Web 2.0 is here to stay – and make an impact! The world of work also reflects a web 2.0 impact – employers googling prospective employees, businesses managing  the tools to grow their businesses, and also demanding the ability to collaborate in an online world  from their prosepctive employees.

The online connectivity of students is no longer disputed, and with these other factors impacting, it is vital that schools and educators sit up and listen – and take part! Kids are not waiting for us to work out for them what’s good and what’s bad, so we need to ask these questions for them.

The read/write web (RWW) meets the needs of students today who are continually online and connected to vast social networks outside of school, through mobile phones, MSN, MySpace and Facebook. With guidance, the interest in these social networks can enrich their educational experience and help them make best use of the many networks which engage them.

Examples of Web 2.0 making a difference which were highlighted by Will included:

  • Nata Village Blog – connecting with schools in Bostwana
  • Cyclone Nargis – rapid social editing on Wikipedia for current informed knowledge of a recent disaster
  • Nine Inch Nails – modern approach to promoting music – free download of latest album
  • FanFiction – readers writing and contributing chapters to well known fiction
  • Secret life of bees Blog – an early exploration of the use of blogs discussing literature and enabling a response from the author
  • Flat Classroom Project – echoing Thomas Friedman’s book, the World is Flat, this aims to join classrooms around the world into one big classroom.

Thus, Will calls us to “help our students leverage the technologies they are already using instead of have them check them at the door” And he encourages us to see the relevance of Web 2.0 tools for our classrooms and tech savvy students, and to adapt some of these technologies to maintain the links between education and the real world kids live in. View Will’s presentation which was videoed live to the net from:


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