A number of strands in the area of new technologies became evident but none more so than the use of Web 2.0 tools in the
classroom. Web 2.0 is about community collaboration and it was the top new technology that is being investigated, questioned, and dabbled with across multiple districts and schools. Tools such as blogs, wikis and social networking, for example, offer a way for students (and teachers) to work together and use technology in a way students find familiar and relevant. While many districts reported that they were actively promoting Web 2.0 tools, they also cited teacher caution as a barrier. Because of the
changing nature and the rate at which new technologies are introduced there can be a hesitation about promoting and using them in the classroom.
Because it is hard to monitor students’ behaviour online, safety is another concern. Over half of the respondents indicated that concerns about student safety are an obstacle to using these tools. Still, students are using these tools in their personal lives and they remain extremely powerful options that are full of potential for the classroom.
From time to time ERAC produces topical white papers that attempt to provide a starting point for district discussions around a particular area of technology. The results from last year’s software survey and the latest results from this year’s technology survey indicate that districts are exploring and often struggling with Web 2.0.
When asked which report components would be most valuable, districts reported the following:
- 96% indicated a strong interest in a review and compilation of best practices including the use of specific tools and the application of them at various grade levels
- 92% indicated a strong interest in specific lesson plans and tools for various grade levels
- 80% indicated a strong interest in the effective use of social networking in the classroom