Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Web 2.0: A Personal Learning Renaissance

Yesterday, on the Classroom 2.0 social network, Elizabeth Davis posted:

"Following and reading blogs, participating in ning, contributing to wikis, writing in my blog, I haven't thought this much in years. It truly is an amazing phenomenon. I feel so intellectually alive. I'm inspired and challenged constantly. The blogs I read lead me to question and explore new tools and Websites. I haven't written this much since I was in school. It is all so exciting and energizing. For me, classroom 2.0 could just be about my own growth and learning and that would be enough."

"Teacher K" then commented:

I agree! I am reading and thinking and writing far more now than I have in years. All of this content is helping me to do new things in my classroom, and helping me to see new possibilities for my colleagues as well."

I would echo by saying that Web 2.0 has meant a personal learning renaissance for me as well. Starting to blog kindled in me something that led me to be an active learner again, something that had been missing from my life for some number of years in the midst of other good things: raising kids, serving in my church, and working. Now I am feeling engaged in learning again. Will Richardson captured this, I think, when he said: "I've learned more in my four-plus years as a blogger than I have in all my years of formal education."

I think it is our new personal learning experiences with Web 2.0 that are driving many of us to look for ways to bring this feeling of engagement into the school and the classroom. It's not the tools, necessarily, but the level of engagement we want to share. This is also why I sense a growing consensus among the educational bloggers that the best way to bring change to the classroom is to help the teachers feel it themselves. As Elizabeth says in the same post:

"I hope I can help my colleagues to see the potential I see and feel the buzz that I feel. This is the first step to bringing it to the kids. I think teachers have to feel it for themselves first. I hope I can bring that to them. I think, with the help of this community, I probably can!"