What makes a Web site worth clicking?
The answer to that is multi-part and depends on your perspective as a teacher. Are you a teacher-creator of information or are you a teacher-user of information?
Many teachers have left behind “the old Web” which experts call Web 1.0. That Web is static. The information is out there for teacher-users to find, print and go… but it is not something that you have any control over as the teacher-creators have full control. The information is unchanging and can disappear in a flash. These Web resources are time-consuming for the creator and very quick for the teacher-user. Web sites that technology-infused teacher-creators were producing are being “left-behind”. [I’m sure you’ve heard that phrase somewhere before?]
Enter the new Web: Web 2.0. It’s new, exciting, confusing and less defined. The definition of this, for us, is part of the idea of “what’s worth clicking”. Teachers are creating ways for teachers to connect with each other. You read the information and then you write about it. This makes it less time-consuming at the teacher-creator end and more time-consuming for the teacher-user.
So where do we stand? Teachers still love the Web 1.0 Web sites and are beginning to rely up them instead of textbooks, workbooks and printable. They love the scavenger hunts, the virtual field-trips and the multimedia rich, glorious full color photographs.
Web 2.0 is for teachers who want students to be producers of information. They want their students to do the 3R’s but they want them to read in print, read online and listen to audio books and then present what they’ve learned in a podcast or a blog. They want them to write. They want them to do research and them to contribute what they learned in a blog or a wiki. They want them to do math by producing videos explaining higher-order math concepts and blend them with science experiments done live on camera. It changes the job of the teacher to mentor and collaborator instead of information giver.
So are you ready? We are Web 1.5, I guess, because teachers are just learning about these Web 2.0 things. But, just to give you stress; let me tell you Web 3.0 is coming up fast and you’d better be ready. Why? Because the kids are ready and they are racing ahead far beyond us, tagging, texting, and contributing (think: MySpace and Facebook) while we read, print and teach the same way we have always taught. No wonder they are bored.
Try doing a Google search for “Email is for old people”. Some teachers may be shocked that kids have been thinking this way since the early 1990s and they can’t imagine bothering with regular mail (snail-mail) anymore. Bills and shopping are done online, to find a movie, museum, vacation spot or restaurant, they use the Web or their Web based cell phone. Use a map? Think again. They have GPS in their car or print out maps with directions from the Web. They don’t read newspapers or watch TV to learn about the upcoming elections; they discuss and debate the issue in a blog. Do they live on the same planet as you?
So what makes a Web site worth clicking? We should use Web 1.0 page that have solid curriculum based information to help us with teaching and learning plus use Web 1.0 pages that can show us the way to Web 2.0 by listing sites to explore and work with for our own professional development.
What belongs on this page? Should I even bother to update this page anymore?