The Learning 2.0 School

Shifting Perceptions of Teaching and Learning in and out of the School Library

Reflections on next generation teaching and learning with Web 2.0…

Posted by Michelle Torrise on February 7, 2009


I often think about how I learned things as a child, in and out of school. I remember reading and writing, learning the state capitals, and practicing penmanship. But, what I remember most is learning though play. With the exception of recess and the occasional game of 7-up, I don’t remember many in-school play experiences, but I do remember, vividly, that my out-of-school play experiences were filled with creative and self-directed learning.

Most of my learning outside of school was literally “in the field” where I would observe tadpoles, collect beer cans, catch locusts, or pick mulberries. Add a friend or two and the depth and breadth of my learning increased–sometimes in not-so-positive ways, but mostly in ways that made learning exciting and collaborative.

I may not have learned the science of all these experiences, but when the time came to learn about the metamorphosis of a tadpole, for example, I was able to connect what I observed “in the field”with what I was learning in the classroom. To borrow another metaphor from science, my antennae were up especially when I was given the opportunity to connect what I was learning in the classroom to what I had experienced out of school.

It is my observation that Web 2.0 experiences are very similar to the “in the field” experiences I had as a child. Making the connection between generations of learning opens many doors to new ways of teaching and learning in school. In a Web 2.0 world the walls of distinction that designate places like home and and school shift.

What are the perceptions of this shift? From a teachers’ perspective it may be that Web 2.0 teaching provides new tools for teaching that aid in the construction of knowledge, i.e., connecting new knowledge with past experiences using technology. From the students’ perspective, however, Web 2.0 learning is more interactive, experiential, collaborative, and memorable than are traditional teaching practices.

In my attempt to identify new perceptions of shifting teaching and learning practices, I find my mind racing with new thoughts and essential questions, e.g., How will Web 2.0 technologies change the way I teach? How will the dynamics of student/teacher relationships evolve over time in the Web 2.0 classroom? Finally, why, if Web 2.0 is just a “teaching tool” am I having so much fun playing, and learning, with these new technologies?


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