I’m a pretty technologically savvy guy. I teach ICT (which is no measure in itself, though in fairness I only qualified last year), I’m reasonably good at using well over half of the Adobe Creative Suite products, have been able to HTML code since that’s all there was, can get by with PHP, and have been known to play World of Warcraft. I don’t really know why I’m dancing around it – I’m a geek.
Yet for all this apparent tech savvy, it’s taken me a good two years to realise that web 2.0 is more than candy-striped buttons and bizarrely-named websites. I feel like the kid proudly waving his eight-track tape player in the face of fully iPodded youths. I’m 24, for God’s sake… I don’t know why it took me so long to catch on.
It’s not like I don’t keep up with the Joneses… I own an iPod Touch, have a six-digit ICQ number from back in the day, and managed to bag “j.greenwood” early on in Gmail’s beta, before at least half a dozen other people who seem unable to cope with the loss and have their email sent there anyway. The next time a plane ticket arrives I’m using the bloody thing, whether it says Jacqueline Greenwood or not.
I suppose I’m so used to having messages of “omg! try this it sooooo roxxorz” or “hello friend, try new Floosh, the lavatory cleaner that also freshens breath” that I filter out anything that isn’t a recommendation from a friend as… well, spam. Seeing the little buttons at the bottom of websites, hearing teachers talk about it at school – even seeing it on the news – it didn’t quite register.
I’m still not sure whether I’d want to change the way I use Twitter now by extending it into my classroom; having students follow my personal account doesn’t exactly appeal, though I can see the benefits on a short-term basis (project work, etc), and have already set up a separate account I’ll use for teaching.
I’m also wary that there’s still a lot of hype that surrounds web 2.0 – this has died down over the last year or so, but there are still people who believe that web 2.0 offers “solutions” to “the education problem”. In reply to my mini-profile “ICT teacher up North, hopping on the Web 2.0 train a little too late. Blaming leaves on the track.” @jonesc_nc said:
As a new Twit and blogger, I’m sure there are many people who think I’m buying into the web 2.0 hysteria I’ve made a point of avoiding, but I think it’s shortsighted to avoid using tools that have a positive impact on your job because they might seem gimmicky.
So to close, I’d love to hear from anyone who has successfully used Twitter in their classroom, or anyone with a Who eight-track… the Pistols are getting old.