A Day With David Warlick… and the Web 2.0 Debate

David Warlick came to Irving ISD today to talk to our the teachers about “Flat Classrooms,” and I happen to be one of the teachers he addressed. πŸ™‚

Let me begin by saying that I read David Warlick’s blog regularly, have read a couple of his books and respect the work he does with the Landmark Project, so maybe my expectations for his presentation were a little high… perhaps too high.

In his most recent blog post, Warlick discusses his “guilt” about presenting his sessions in an informal discussion-led format instead of the traditional imparting of knowledge (sage on the stage) format. I happen to enjoy discussion-led presentations better, although at times they can seem a little random… as I am sure my play-by-play of his presentation will seem to many of you. πŸ™‚

Warlick began the session by introducing the theme of teaching each other and learning collaboratively and then he shared the following resources:

He introduced the concept of Twitter (which is blocked in our district), so we used this “twitteresque” chat application instead in order to carry on discussions amongst ourselves throughout the presentation. I am glad Warlick employed this chat during the session because I think it is a good example of how chat applications and/or microbloggers like Twitter can be put to “good” educational use.

I really enjoyed the first couple of hours of the presentation because Warlick focused on the “flattening” of the world, information and classrooms, and we discussed the importance of helping our students learn how to teach themselves. Some of the sound bytes I particularly enjoyed are…

  • “For our first time in history, our job as educators is to prepare our students for a future we can’t clearly describe.”
  • “We overuse the idea that I students need to be competitive [with India and China] – instead students need to be cooperative.”
  • “Our job as educators is not to tell students what to read and when to read it but what circumstances call for which resources [discussing Wikipedia vs. Britannica specifically].”
  • “We need to teach our students to be responsible producers of content.”

We had a good discussion about how information has changed and came up with ideas how to “drive learning.” And I am glad we had this discussion because I think it encouraged the teachers in the session (like me) to reflect upon their lessons and will hopefully spur them (me too) to incorporate new technologies and ideas into their curriculum.

One of the “side tracks” Warlick took during this discussion was to tell how he published his newest book via Lulu, and the discussion of this site seemed to be the most exciting topic of the day for many of those in the room… some good ideas for classroom use were discussed.

I wasn’t as excited about the session after we returned from lunch because the session shifted to be more about specific Web 2.0 applications which I already use – wikis, blogs, del.ic.ious, RSS so I didn’t learn as much new information or find the discussion quite as stimulating (although I am glad he presented these tools because he seemed to get many of the teachers excited about using them which is great for our students).

With the introduction of the topic of Web 2.0 came an interesting debate between a couple of my colleagues… Jig-Saw Blog, Othersideofthedesk and What I Think…. The debate centered around the definition of Web 2.0. So, I am going to present the two sides of the debate here, and I would love your thoughts.

Side A – Web 2.0 is basically an evolution of the web from a repository of knowledge into an interactive and collaborative environment where people with minimal technology skills can add to “the discussion” by contributing via wikis, blogs, podcasts, social networks, social bookmarking, etc. and interact via RSS, aggregators, etc.

Side B – Web 2.0 is an obsolete term because with the advent of RSS, aggregators, etc. all web pages are customizable because the format can be altered by users to fit their needs; therefore, using the term Web 2.0 is no longer necessary and the Internet should just be referred to as the Internet and using tools like wikis, blogs, etc. in education should just be called teaching.

I am oversimplifying the debate a tad… but I would like your thoughts. What do you think Web 2.0 is (if you think it actually exists)? I know the debate may seem to just be about semantics… but humor me. πŸ™‚

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11 Comments on “A Day With David Warlick… and the Web 2.0 Debate”

  1. audrey Says:

    hmm… I usually have an aversion to jargon because it’s sort of a stopthink, you know? But don’t you think web 2.0 has a happy purpose. From my understanding, it distinguished today’s web from the nest egg eating/career destroying web of the dotcom bust, and it relates to repurposing the web. It’s very upbeat and optimistic. I like it.

  2. Wendy DG Says:

    I’m not sure whether it matters if Web 2.0 actually exists. The Internet did not just go to sleep one night as version 1.0 and wake up the next morning as version 2.0. I think it’s less about the hardware and software than it is about a shift in thought. I used to think about the Internet as a place to find information. Now I see it as a place to communicate and collaborate. At the same time, I was communicating and interacting via MUDs and MUSEs in the 80’s, so what’s the difference? I think that it’s just getting easier and more people are on the train. For me, the point is how all this applies to educating our children. How will “Web 2.0” resources change the way we teach? Will they? How long will it take to make the shift? Will there be casualties? I believe most teachers get a charge out of that moment when we see the light go on – when our students get it. My favorite aspect of teaching students how to learn on their own is that the lightbulb is constantly flickering. That’s cool!

  3. jwitter Says:

    I think that the lable has become unnecessary, since the attributes we normally think of as Web 2.0 are web-wide.
    Therefore, I’m proposing changing this term to something more friendly, like “Jimmy”. Calling the Web Jimmy accentuates the social nature of the web that a majority of users enjoys. It also will help people who are afraid of the web relax. Who can be afraid of a guy named Jimmy?
    I’m considering holding a logo contest for the new “Jimmy Web”. I’ll post terms and conditions on my blog as soon as possible.


  4. I completely agree with you all. It is not the label of Web 2.0 that matters but the tools and what we do with them… the discussion of the label just happened to come up in a conversation and some of us had differing viewpoints.

    The name is arbitrary… but it is the word that has been “coined” to describe the insurgence in the use of collaborative tools on the web. As the web continues to evolve, perhaps we will call it something else… although, I doubt “Jimmy” will stick. πŸ™‚

    What about Webtastic? Or the Technology Formerly Known as Web 2.0? πŸ™‚


  5. […] I think, like the gal I sat next to, that perhaps my expectations were a little too high. I don’t know if I was expecting Mr. […]

  6. Wendy DG Says:

    I just tagged you on my blog for the 8 Random Things MEME (a concept that is new to me). Please do not feel compelled to respond. I just want you to know that I enjoy your blog.


  7. Yeah, I just tagged you for the MEME too. πŸ™‚


  8. On problem with the discussion style of workshop is that I have less chance to really condense things down — not that I’m all to good at that when I’m in complete control. But my focus on Web, web 1, and web 2, and my believe that the distinctions are important are in how they affect the nature of information. Irving was a week ago, so I do not remember exactly how I addressed this, but as the nature of information changes (web 1 -> more networked, digital, overwhelming; web 2 -> more participatory, reader directed, people connecting) our definitions of literacy too much change. This affects both what and how we teach.

    Thanks for the continued conversation!

    — dave —

  9. kwyrick Says:

    Tag – you’re it. I tagged you in a MEME on my blog. πŸ™‚

  10. kstevens77 Says:

    While the discussion among teachers who use Web 2.0 or Jimmy applications is arbitrary, I feel that it is important to label the new web. The real goal in Web 2.0 is to get those educators who do not feel that technology is an important part of learning to understand why they are stuck in the early 1990s. While it is fun for us to debate how to label the new web, it is important to establish a generally excepted term. I believe that a difference still exists between Web 1.0 and Web 2.0. While most sites can use Web 2.0 applications, the design of some websites still harbor Web 1.0 designs. It is similar to when Sony went from the PlayStation to the PS2. While some of the old games would play on the new system, they could not take advantage of the enhancements located within the PS2 design. Maybe Jimmy will be the next level when Web 1.0 applications are beyond obsolete and impossible to locate. Kind of like those old PlayStation games that require adapters to function.

    I ran into a similar discussion at Durff’s Blog:
    http://durffsblog.blogspot.com/2007/08/passionate-conversations.html

    Enjoy your day,

    Kyle


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