That’s the question that started to form in my head as I watched one 21st-Century teacher’s project take shape and grow over the past few weeks. She used at least 3 or 4 “Web 2.0” applications, gathered relevant resources from diverse sources, and tied it together with a Google doc. She used social media to engage parents and experts. It’s an impressive and organically evolving body of work, and I can’t help but think a mashup? of easily obtainable freely available open source tools could make it even easier for more educators to design and execute such rich and engaging learning experiences.
So what have I got?
I’m a former classroom teacher, “webmaster,” who currently designs and implements elearning, mostly using Adobe Captivate. I see an opportunity to draw from an authentic Internet-inhabiting Project Based Learning experience, the experience of the people who took part in it, and the perspective of having watched it unfold in the context of a Twitter-based Personal Learning Network (PLN). I can introduce some technology, and ways of using technology, I think can facilitate the processes I engaged in and witnessed. Educators can think of this perspective as outcomes based. Programmers can think of it in terms of reverse engineering. Using Twitter and this blog I hope to invite participation from these and many other corners, and I’m quite open and willing to have my ideas shot to pieces by better ones.
- collect content from all over the Web
- display the content in ways that convey participants’ goals and expectations for the content
- keep record of who does what with the content
What do I know?
- a project based learning project for all involved
- a chance for hands on, self-guided, informal education in “Web 2.0” technologies
What’s the idea?
I fully believe with some accompanying video and the enthusiastic support of a PLN even the most timid self-identified “Luddite” can learn to set up or sign up for a WordPress blog. There already exist many “plugins”—extensions of the basic WordPress architecture—someone launching such a project might find useful. jQuery, jQueryMobile and jQuery-UI between them have the ability to pull content together from many diverse sources and display it in a usable manner. WordPress and its open architecture bring the ability to save it and make it reusable. As a platform it offers the ability both to support the planning of the experience and to chronicle the experience itself, which to some degree can then be re-experienced.
If you have any thoughts on anything I’ve written up to this point please use the comments section. I’d like to use this space to brainstorm and try things. I hope to attract educators, programmers, students and instructional designers, and anyone else who finds an idea here worth trading, and’s willing to leave an idea in exchange. If you do I’ll let you look under the sculptor’s tent and see more of what I have in mind. (if you’re a coder you’ll find the way in, I didn’t make it difficult) If you hurry you can help nudge it in the right direction!