Saturday, March 29, 2008

BECTA research shows there's a long way to go with Web 2.0

From Ewan McIntosh's summary of the recent Becta Research Seminar on Web2.0 Technologies for Learning at Key Stages 3 and 4:

The digital natives, digital immigrants concept is too simplistic.

Many more primary students than secondary pupils are involved in Web 2.0 type activity.

Access and opportunity: In order, from 100% down to about 10%, young people have access to:
  1. TV
  2. Mobile phone with camera
  3. Digital camera
  4. MP3 player/recorder
  5. PC
  6. Desktop games console (Xbox, Wii)
  7. Handheld console (Nintendo DS, PSP)
  8. Wifi
  9. Laptop
  10. Wired internet
  11. Webcam
  12. Mobile (no camera)
  13. PDA

Activity is often low-level and unmemorable ('I didn't do my homework because "I was on MSN or something"'). There continues to be little evidence of creation of digital content.

School is a different place: Using 'their' tools at home, tools like Bebo, would take the fun out of it. Having the teacher on those tools is "weird". 'Collaboration' becomes placing a problem on Bebo, changing their name to CanYouHelpMeDoThisOnBebo and waiting for friends to deliver segments of the project before bringing it together.

Does anyone use Wikipedia: "Yes, Oh Yes. Every single bit of homework, just type it in, get that, copy and paste."
"If there was a science test I'd probably just go to the text book. You know where everything is in the textbook but I don't know where to find it on the web."

Web 2.0 challenges with the practice of education:
  • Resource overload (I've only just learnt how to... and now you want me to...).
  • ICT absorbing the budget (we have to replace this because it's not fast enough).
  • Dissemination (viral dissemination among teachers in a school).
  • Assessment (matching 'romance' to the realities of summative testing).
  • Most of the students use or are aware of web 2 sites but are surprised that they can be used "professionally".

As far as I'm concerned, these are not dissimilar from the challenges we face in higher education.

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