With the proliferation of Web 2.0 tools, technology has become an integral part of the way our society thinks and functions. In order to succeed in this Web-focused world, students need constant exposure to new technologies. The more technical expertise students develop early in life, the better prepared they'll be for the real world."
Based on the principles of Web 2.0, Learning 2.0 solutions -- specifically, interactive digital learning environments -- reverse the e-learning model in which content was produced by publishers and organized into traditional courses that were consumed later by students. Popular Web 2.0 tools -- including educational social networks, podcasts, and online videos -- allow information to be integrated immediately into a standing curriculum, engaging students and providing innovative, collaborative solutions for instructors. That immersive learning environment that extends the concept of classroom is Learning 2.0.
Encouraging this new wave of learning will reenergize school systems and facilitate compliance with the No Child Left Behind Acts (NCLB) Title IID, which requires schools to ensure that all students are proficient in technology use by the 8th grade.
Considering that todays students were born wired and live and play in the world of the Web, the challenge for many teachers and administrators is meeting students on their own turf and adapting instruction to students preferred medium of delivery. Currently, higher education institutions are leading the way. In fact, during the fall 2006 term, almost 3.5 million students (nearly twenty percent of all U.S. higher education students) were taking at least one online course -- a nearly 10 percent increase over the number reported the previous year (1). Therefore, in addition to experiencing improved academic achievement through the use of technology, students exposed to Learning 2.0 at the early stages of their education will be better equipped for success in higher-education environments.
Although some instructors are still hesitant to use Learning 2.0 tools -- given privacy concerns and the steep learning curve -- its important that they strive to help every student cross the digital divide by encouraging technology literacy. What todays educators need is an intuitive, safe, online environment that connects students, teachers, and administrators responsibly for the purpose of sharing, re-using and co-creating learning content.
Learning 2.0 will not be successful if undertaken incorrectly or sporadically. First, schools need to ensure that teachers are as prepared as their technology-savvy students -- young teachers are a valuable resource in training others, as theyre likely digital natives themselves. In addition, school districts that want to jumpstart the transition to technological excellence should seek out pilot school programs with innovative technology or course management vendors.
Within Learning 2.0 communities, students can participate in the teaching process by demonstrating mastery of a specific principle or concept. All parties can interact to ask questions and share knowledge.
Course management systems with online and offline components also play a role in Learning 2.0 instruction. While online learning activities and communities are an integral aspect of Learning 2.0, offline capabilities also are important because they provide students with constant access to multimedia content and learning tools, even without an Internet connection. Ideally, the skills developed through Learning 2.0 tools will translate to future vocational proficiency in such highly technical industries as transportation, energy, medicine, environmental protection, and agriculture.
Learning 2.0 tools need to move beyond digitizing traditional classroom teaching to create indigenous online learning experiences, complete with the multimedia aspects that were absent from the previous generation of education. Implemented and utilized correctly, Learning 2.0 tools can enable the student to also become a teacher, which is arguably the best way to learn.(1) Online Nation: Five Years of Growth in Online Learning by Babson Survey Research Group and Sloan Consortium, October 2007
BrainHoney: Interactive learning community from Agilix
BrainHoney harnesses the power of group knowledge to create an open learning community in which participants worldwide can instruct and learn from one another. With BrainHoney, every member can say, I am the teacher." Agilixs BrainHoney provides an online repository of learning objects and features a free rich-media authoring tool for creating and sharing engaging learning content related to any topic. The community provides an ideal environment for teachers to share curriculum with their peers and search for age-appropriate instruction across a wide range of subjects. At the same time, students can use BrainHoney to discover and create instructional content and watch its impact spread across time, topic and geography.
For more information or to share what you know, visit: www.brainhoney.com.
GoCourse: Distributed Instructional/Course Management System from Agilix
The GoCourse Learning System is a next-generation e-learning solution that enables institutions to manage student performance outcomes, enhances teacher effectiveness and motivates students to take ownership of their own learning. GoCourse is the ideal software to grow a return on 1:1 initiatives, take course management to the next level, and deliver on the promise of distance learning.
The GoCourse Learning System is an instructional and course management system designed to help school districts, colleges, universities, and other learning environments align teaching with key learning objectives and measure actionable feedback. It provides education institutions with an easy-to-use rich media authoring solution, electronic content delivery to students and teachers, and allows for work both online and offline.
GoCourse is a student- and teacher-centric solution. Teachers can grade assignments with rubrics, manage the gradebook, and supervise discussion groups. Students have a built-in progress monitor to stay on track with their learning and always on access to learning materials whether they have Internet at home or not. In fact, everything can be managed online or offline. When offline, everything is queued for reconnection, when the application automatically syncs all information with the server.
For more information, visit: www.agilix.com.
Article by Jim Ericson, vice president of marketing for Agilix.
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