Posts Tagged 21st century learning

Web 2.0 – Brief Description

Web 2.0 is a term that is coming up quite frequently in the world of eLearning.  It is a term that is used to describe the way the internet has evolved into an interactive resource.  Web 2.0 is the “second generation” of the web.  The internet was historically used as a one way resource for simply absorbing information.  It is now more about interaction and information sharing.  Instead of being passive audience members, users are now active contributors.

For example, a typical Web 1.0 activity may have been reading an article online about kangaroos.  There would be text and images about kangaroos, links to other sites and even an embedded movie.  A typical Web 2.0 activity may involve be going to a site such as Wikipedia where you can read about kangaroos, add, edit and correct an article about kangaroos, join an online forum about protecting kangaroos, write a blog about Kangaroo Island, upload a YouTube video of a kangaroo you filmed on a road trip, follow the Twitter feed of a kangaroo researcher in the Northern Territory and collaborate on a Mindomo mind map about native animals with a class from Mozambique.  This interactivity has given rise to the term ‘read-write web’.

At Coomera Anglican College, we are trying to embrace the educationally productive qualities of the web 2.0 revolution.  Examples of this include the use of class blogs, biology forums, peer evaluation via galleries of student work and Voki avatars translating English to Chinese.

There are literally hundreds of free online tools designed to support the web 2.0 paradigm.  They will usually provide alternative methods for existing tasks and applications.  For example, we all know how to create a PowerPoint presentation, and it is easy for students to default back to using PowerPoint to present their work.  Also, PowerPoint 2010 is an extremely powerful piece of software.  However, there are other options that can perform a similar function online.  Such applications include Prezi, Empressr, Zoho Show, AuthorStream  and PreZentit.  Most of these allow you to add multimedia and special effects and import your PowerPoint slides.  You can then email or embed the presentation to share it.

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21st Century Learning

Flipping the Classroom

‘Forces set free by technology are beginning to turn the traditional classroom on its head.'(1)

‘Flipping the classroom’ is an educational term that describes the new paradigms of teaching that have been developing due to innovation and proliferation of technology. Delivery of lessons and information is now ubiquitous; anywhere at anytime. Whereas a traditional classroom facilitated the learning of content at school, coupled with reinforcement (in various forms) at home, technology is allowing students to gather their data in their own time. This allows teachers to act more like facilitators, supporting the learning and producing process, and explicitly teaching the key skills of digital literacy; accuracy, originality, using multiple sources, correct referencing and multi-modal product creation.

Think of your experience at school; you came into class, sat down and listened to a teacher talk about a concept. There would be writing on the board that you had to copy down, photocopied sheets that you had to highlight, textbooks that you had to read and, if you were really lucky, a diagram on an overhead projector. The emphasis was on content delivery and learning facts and figures. Information came from a finite number of sources. Every student was gathering information from the same one or two sources, and the encyclopedias were hot property in the library. Students were basically regurgitating(2) content from one text onto their own text.

Now, with the internet and all its data dispensing portals (YouTube, blogs, forums, online articles, journals, etc), students have many more ways to find the information they need to build knowledge and demonstrate understanding. The skills that students need to flourish in the 21st Century are processes, not total recall of information. They need to be able find information and determine if it is accurate and applicable to their task. Then, they need to be able to present their new found insights in an engaging and appropriate way for intended audience.

Flipping the classroom means that students become teachers in many ways. They must research the topic to determine their own perceptions. In order to teach a concept, they have to make sure that they thoroughly understand what they are talking about, and they need to communicate it clearly and coherently. To sum the process, we can revisit a well known proverb:

‘Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.’

Laptops enable learning to take place just about anywhere with internet connectivity. The impending laptop programme at Coomera Anglican College will allow teachers and students to more readily practise contexts like a flipped classroom, move away from a 19th Century education model and embrace 21st Century ubiquitous learning methods.

(1) Stevenson, Andrew, 2011. Technology brings the classroom back home in role reversal, Sydney Morning Herald,, viewed on 07/11/2011.

(2) Regurgitation –  Repeat (information) without analysing or comprehending it.

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