Social Studies Education in the World of Web 2.0

By Sabato, George | Social Studies Review, Spring 2009 | Go to article overview
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Social Studies Education in the World of Web 2.0


Sabato, George, Social Studies Review


The transformation of technology in our society is moving quickly into education in powerful ways. This is the age of Web 2.0. and this new age of technology will dramatically impact social studies education. For you to best understand this transformation I am going to ask you to read this article in a new fashion. As you read you will be asked to access the internet. I will direct you to links in order to bring you to an in-depth experience with the information I present. Following those links will surely give you an intimate understanding of the latest trends in education. This article is posted on my personal blog so that a reader may read it in a fully interactive manner. Go to http://gsabato2009.blogspot.com/

The key theme of the CLMS Technology Conference I attended this year was "Learning to Network Networking to Learn". It addressed the transition of society and education into the world of Web 2.0. This is the change from use of the internet for email and web pages to the more creative, socially dynamic and interactive world of blogs, wikis, and social networking sites. Some teachers at grade levels as low as fourth grade have already moved into creating blogs and wikis as projects and assessments. Often schools are requiring all students to have gmail accounts which allow access to the Google applications like Google docs and Google wiki, giving students access to their word processing, presentations, blogs and wikis at school and home. Several of my students created their election projects this year using web pages, blogs and wikis.

I would suggest you view Steve Hargadon's Web 2.0 presentation http://www.slideshare.net/SteveHargadon/ web-20-is-the-future-of-education. He explains with clarity why web 2.0 is the future of education.

The emerging theme and direction for education is that word "technology" will represent a support for innovation, creativity, collaboration, relevance, problem solving, communication, and critical thinking. This growing trend of thought is a recognition that how we use technology needs to be the clear focus of education. A real concern that must be faced is that large sums of money have been spent building technology systems in schools that support the old education paradigms. Schools will be challenged to adapt to technology in ways that build the skills needed for the 21st century.

Let me direct you to some YouTube videos that will help you understand some of the elements of Web 2.0 as blogs, wikis and social networking sites. Go to http:// www.commoncraft.com/blogs

for this short but enlightening video on blogs. Go to http:// www.commoncraft.com/video-wikis-plain-english for a really clear and fascinating explanation on how wikis work watch this and you will see many applications for your own life. And take a look at how Google Docs could make collaboration easier.

http://www.commoncraft.com/video-social-networking. Here's one on social networking. http://www.youtube. com/watch?v=6a_KF7TYKVc

Concerns about having students using "tools" out on the net that are open to undesirable influences must be met by "closing" the communities with the controls of the specific applications. For example, PBwiki.com has no ads on sites used by educators, no email accounts are required and you can set up who can see the wikis created. Only those approved and invited can see the work. This wiki application is CTAP (California Technology Assistance Project) approved. Social networking can be set up to have communities closed. CTAP used the ning.

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