Web 2.0 for Teaching and Learning

By Ludlow, Barbara | Teaching Exceptional Children, November/December 2012 | Go to article overview
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Web 2.0 for Teaching and Learning


Ludlow, Barbara, Teaching Exceptional Children


As history has shown us, every new technology shapes society and transforms how people understand the world and interact with others. When the Egyptians discovered how to turn papyrus into writing paper several millennia ago, they made it possible for scholars to record and archive information in written texts for future study. When Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press in the 15th century, it became possible for information to be produced easily and inexpensively for distribution to the public. When the Internet was created (just a couple of decades ago), it gave people the ability to access digital information across multiple media in any time and place. As each technology emerged, it also produced significant changes in teaching and learning that in turn transformed the nature of schooling.

The evolution of the World Wide Web - from Web 1.0, which focused on providing users (consumers) with ready access to information to Web 2.0, the current version - enables us to move beyond being consumers of content to engaging in communication and collaboration online. Although currently most schools restrict access to or prohibit the use of social media and mobile devices (Project Tomorrow, 2010), these technologies offer educators new opportunities for collaborative construction of knowledge, projectbased learning, and authentic assessment across the curriculum (Sharpe, Beetham, & DeFreitas, 2010).

This issue of TEACHING Exceptional Children offers a variety of ideas for using Web 2.0 tools and other technologies to:

* Find tools for creating online writing communities to support gifted writers at the elementary and secondary levels.

* Implement classroom blogs as a component of writing instruction at the secondary level to provide an authentic audience for adolescent writers.

* Use blogs, vlogs, wikis, podcasts, social media, and other tools to create more opportunities for collaboration in co-planning and coteaching.

* Locate and select an online system for curriculum-based measurement to administer, score, and manage data to monitor student progress in the classroom.

* Incorporate the iPad into a technology toolkit to enact the principles of universal design for learning for students with significant special needs.

* Select mobile devices to create mobile video models for positive behavior support to promote learning and generalization of skills.

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