Saturday, September 3, 2011

Making the Paradigm Shift

Making this paradigm shift from the Industrial Age to the Information Age during a time of uncertainty finds many a scholar not sure just how collaborative 2.0 literacy will serve in the improvement of teaching and learning. For more than two centuries, schools have used printed paper materials, such as textbooks, to educate students. With the development of new Web 2.0 technologies, open source collaborative learning resources seem limitless. Wikipedia encyclopedias, open source dictionaries and collaborative reference guides can be created instantaneously and grow in immensity over just a short period of time. To ascertain this notion of collaborative networks outsourcing knowledge at a faster rate by Web 2.0 enthusiasts over a major cooperation can be only reflected in the recent encyclopedia showdown between Microsoft and Wikipedia. A triumph in the making leaving Wikipedia the most powerful open source software business model of the 21st Century and Microsoft abstaining its position as a corporate competitor in encyclopedia business giving way to a work force of unpaid labors.1

Using interactive Web 2.0 Literacy educational practices is not a means but a reality allowing students to benefit from learning in ways that allow them to participate fully in public, community, creative expansion for new means of economic perpetuation within the formulation of an evolving society.   Web 2.0 Literacy educational practices, will allow students to construct spheres of knowledge that bear the same type of relationships as to how the minds develops and the ways that Literacy 2.0 brains grow and develop in different settings. Through these practices students and educators will explore methodologies on how the human mind deals with interdisciplinary collaborative studies and how these Literacy 2.0 cognitive activities develop the full potentials of the mind.  In these collaborative exercises of learning students will visit historic museums from across the globe, interact with experts in the field, design virtual projects that give additional in depth support to new knowledge, without ever leaving their classrooms. They can position observatory telescopes to view a distant star or collaboratively visit other classrooms within their school, state, country, or world. Literacy 2.0 learning will virtually open new doors for teaching as well as learning.

In the near future, every child should be exposed to instructional setting that will have a digitally produced “Personal Learning Partners” designed to respond to the knowledge expansion needs of an individual student. Entire instructional rooms will be intelligent, in the sense that they will be equipped with a multiplicity of intuitive, interfaced Web 2.0 technologies that are responsive to student's gestures, touches, and voices.

Readily available open source software resources will recognize and transform spoken words into any multiple languages for cultural diversity giving the communicator the ability to explain and illustrate ideas/concepts.  Examples of these types of open source software application exist today as free text to speech programs. With these applications students can listen to word documents, homework, PowerPoint presentations, emails, RSS feeds, blogs and novels while they multi-task in other forms of activities like relaxing, commute or exercise. Students will be involved in essential skills development like proofreading, learning a new language, and for entertainment. These open source programs have the capability of speaking multiple languages (English, Spanish, French, German, ...) with both male and female voices using the world's best text to speech (TTS) synthesis technologies.

For instance, the geography teacher will never need another pull-down map, since the internet can access real-time satellite pictures from across the globe through another type of open source software entitled Google Earth. Through Google Earth students can learn how to create narratives, and embed video hyperlinks within a place mark window as well as create a virtual trip. Additionally students can active participant in learning how to navigate, measure, search, set layers, create scripts with hyperlinks, save a tour as a reference file, resize overlays with links, and embed files into a presentation.

All teachers will have the tools necessary to develop online collaborative learning units to promote improved student learning. Whatever the need, Web 2.0 learning provides a plethora of new teaching opportunities for educators: multi-media presentations, computers, telecommunication resources, and web-based lessons and units. The student skills needed in today’s virtual learning classroom are the very same skills students need in order to access, manage, apply, and evaluate the ever-growing magnitude of information in today’s world. Schools that are not presently tapping into these resources soon will find themselves left behind in the quest to improve the learning curve.  

In order for schools to reach their vision for implementing school-based, technology learning programs, education stakeholders must be empowered to design the pathways whereby they travel purposely from the present into the future. In many school organizations, intoxicating rhetoric about visions and noble intentions usually abounds, but without a strategy for assessing real-time information, nothing will be realized. Achieving success will require more than rhetoric; it will require the capacity to see through the portals of information and find a focus, a compelling image of a desired state of affairs - the kind of image that meets the needs of individual learners and induces a commitment to their education.

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