Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Becta Report on Web 2.0 in Schools

Lots of reports actually, all visible here

The summary document contains the following sobering finding for all those Web 2.0 utopians:
"Overall, although most learners use the internet for learning, there is only limited use of Web 2.0, and only a few embryonic signs of criticality, self-management and meta-cognitive reflection."
"Relatively few learners are engaging in more sophisticated Web 2.0 activities such as producing and publishing their own content for wider consumption."
In other words most of our school children are passive users of social websites and Web 2.0 sites in general. The teacher has a significant role:
"Lack of significant sophisticated activity by learners that involves more than consumption and social networking suggests that there is a role for teachers in supporting effective learning using Web 2.0. This role may be to ensure that learners have the technical skills to use the tools effectively and the metacognitive, synthesis and critical reflection skills to use Web 2.0 applications to support learning wherever they are."
I'd suggest these are probably fairly fundamental skills for lifelong learners in most media, traditional and new.
The following is perceptive and matches with my experiences in this area:
"...perhaps the greater challenge is that, at present, school students do not often create – they too often copy and learn. Often, teachers are unable to easily engage in formative assessment procedures with their students. Traditionally, they do not mix media – the standard output from school work remains paper-based. Traditionally, it has been difficult to blur boundaries between school work and homework. Traditionally, authority has had to appear too singularly invested in the teacher or the textbook.
Web 2.0 approaches seem to challenge each of these structures, and replace them with open-ended learning environments and assessment procedures, with mixed-media outcomes that are created and evaluated in new authority and ownership structures. It is hardly surprising if teachers are only exploring these spaces tentatively and cautiously. "

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