[de] home [de] oceans [de] culture [de] tech

Why are schools so afraid of web 2.0?

Something that has been bugging me for a long time is the inability of forming any educational programme that involves social networking tools such as YouTube, MySpace, Flickr, blogging tools or most other web 2.0 tools and sites in a formal educational context.

Young people are using these outside of school and then have to “power down” as soon as they enter the school gates. This experience is well described in a Guardian article ‘In class, I have to power down’.

Who are the blockers? Who is holding back young people accessing the social web for positive means in schools?

Services such as rafi.ki replicate MySpace or Bebo type communities in a better moderated environment, thus allaying some child protection concerns. The Child Exploitation & Online Protection Centre is doing good work, especially with the Thinkuknow campaign for young people.

The real losers are going to be young people. Organisations looking to create positive educational materials and projects for pupils will be held back as the most attractive and cheapest web communications methods are banned from the classroom, leaving fashion, music, gaming and trends to dominate pupils’ online time.

Wouldn’t it be great, if teachers could create meaningful multimedia blogs about projects and educational visits in the UK and overseas and use the open source and free web technologies available to engage young people in creating a better world?

Any answers or suggestion greatfully received!

3 Responses to “Why are schools so afraid of web 2.0?”

  1. Syp says:

    Interesting post! It does seem logical to incorporate entertainment with learning, as learning seems to be most effective when students are passionate about a topic and enjoying themselves. However, I think there is a fine line between integrating new technology for educational purposes and getting students to pay attention. Any time you allow students to use the Internet during class, you are bound to get that one kid (at least) who surfs to a different website, most likely unrelated to the topic. However, if the learning tool is a standalone app (I couldn’t tell if Rafi.ki was or not — think it’s online membership-based?), this could definitely revolutionize how learning occurs in the classroom.

    On a different note, I find that many schools lag behind in technology. Even in higher education, the curriculum is usually one step behind with what is current in industry.

  2. Lady says:

    In my school, I remember trying to do HTML on the computer once. Teachers do not enjoy that. They wanted to know what I as doing, and when they just couldn’t understand, I’d have to stop. I only had one teacher in high school that thought it was cool–he wanted me to make him a website.

    Other than that, I knew how to get around all the secruity. I was nice about it though, if someone asked me how I did it, I’d carefully explain it to them. They just had tons of little holes and, unfortunately for the computer tech, most of the people that asked how I did mess with the comupters were other students. XD

    Besides those wonderful things and being banned from the computers for a year(!), I realized how bad the computer skills were for my teachers. The one class that I took for three hours a day was to teach me basic coding and stuff like that–but I knew more than the teacher. If she hadn’t had programs on her PC, she wouldn’t have been able to explain anything. (I still taught the class more than her, but no one ever paid me.)

    Anywho, I write a lot. Hehe. Sorry about that.!

  3. Digital Explorer says:

    Thanks for your comments. I’ve been thinking about this again today, and there is an argument for fairly tight control over what pupils do in lessons. There needs to be a better set-up.

    Some tools exist that can do this. Net Support (http://www.netsupportschool.com/?Lang=EN) make software that can control the applications and internet sites used on pupils’ computers.

    More and more resources seem to go into control rather than facilitating ways for pupils to learn using multimedia resources in schools. There is a wealth of great educational video on Youtube from news clips to environmental films.

    One way forward I have been considering is to create a media-sharing site for teachers to post images and video that they have made at school. This media can then be easily hosted for use in blogs and in pupils’ existing social networking sites.

    Easily accessible, easily used digital media showing the great young people in the UK and around the world doing very positive activities and hopefully get away from this media stereotype of teens as vandals, sloths and wastrels.

Leave a Reply