A couple of weeks ago I started a School 2.0 social network at Ning, and (as you likely know) have done a series of audio interviews on the subject of School 2.0 as well as setting up a wiki on the subject.
This morning I checked the School 2.0 social network and it had a grand total of 3 members, with me included. :( Then I checked the Library 2.0 social network that Bill Drew started, and it has OVER 700 MEMBERS. Get out! I was shocked.
I got to thinking that School 2.0 is a pretty theoretical idea. Not many of us are ready for a discussion that rethinks education as a whole. Some months back Will Richardson and I bounced around the idea that "Classroom 2.0" might actually be a more effective idea/phrase for encouraging broader participation in the dialog about the use of Web 2.0 and collaborative technologies in education--basically, Classroom 2.0 addresses actual practical use by individual teachers, and doesn't have to involve larger systemic change.
So, with my business partner out of town with his wife for a weekend getaway, and being in the doldrums of the school purchasing cycle, I've spent the morning on an effort that I am hoping makes sense. If I've gone in the wrong direction, I'm sure I'll get the blogosphere equivalent of a blank stare. If I'm on the right track at all, I hope you'll look at the following websites:
1. A social network for Classroom 2.0: http://classrooom20.ning.com
2. A wiki for Web 2.0 and collaborative technologies in the classroom, with reference links and lesson plans: http://www.classroom20.net
Some of the edubloggers, Will most prominently, have been discouraged at times about how much of the excitement and the personal changes in learning that accompany Web 2.0 seem to be contained to the edublogger echo-chamber. Certainly, the broad-brush decision-making at high levels that filters out read/write technologies and reduces ed tech funding seem to take place outside of the context of classroom pedagogy. But if 700+ librarians are mobilized to talk about these technologies, it would seem a similar voice could surely come from the teaching community.
I heard this week that Secretary of Education Spelling is having some private, closed-door meetings with selected groups to talk about educational technology funding and NCLB, and it would seem ever more important to show that there is a strong, passionate, engaged group of teachers doing exceptional work with technology in the classroom. Certainly, we have to be careful not to represent that the current set of technology tools are going to "transform" education. But those watching these technologies carefully understand how significantly they are opening the door to very important questions about learning, and about the kind of education needed to prepare students for the world which lies ahead.
If you think these two new sites would have value, would you consider signing up for the social network, contributing to the wiki, and start selectively publicizing them to those contacts of yours that you think could be early contributors? While I have been tempted to wait to blog about this until the wiki has some more content, I feel that there is a sense of urgency.