Saturday, October 6, 2007

eLearning: Not for the Faint at Heart

This month I am participating as session presenter in four conferences on Web 2.0. Every presentation is a bit different than the other. Prepping for diverse audiences on the same general topic has its own challenges and rewards. The challenge is obvious, but the reward is what interests me.

As I work on my presentations--to be "an expert in the room"--I find out how little I know about a vast subject. There are so many wonderful meanings and applications of Web 2.0. Everyday there are new blogs, widgets, wikis, videos, podcasts ad infinitum. As I prepare to mention some "old standbys" I notice new tools on the horizon. It can be overwhelming to consider.

Likewise it is exciting. By sussing out the answers I need for the next presentation, I find new ways to use the Web. The "teacher-as-expert-training" in me panics over not having all four corners of the World Wide Web pinned down. The digital immigrant in me is thrilled to know a few more tools in the lexicon of educational media literacy.

The best advice I can give for those who attend my presentations and have the same feelings of trepidation of swimming in an ocean of information and technology that becomes fathoms deeper and leagues broader every minute is to embrace the concept of "perpetual beta." Yes, the world is changing--it has changed, it will continue to change. Most likely we teachers will never again "know it all." We may not even ever "know as much" about some of the emerging media as our students already do. That's okay.

As digital immigrants, we may never loose our BG (Before Google) accents, but if keep at improving our understanding of the IT lexicon and rethink our pedagogies that have served us well, we can offer our students one of the best models: that of a genuine learner.

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