Sunday 15 March 2009

Becta Report about Web 2.0

Last September (2008) BECTA (a government agency promoting the innovative use of new technologies in learning) published a report called: ‘Web 2.0 Technologies for Learning at Key Stage 3 and 4′. Below are some extracts, which make interesting reading:

“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.”

“Many learners lack technical skills, and lack an awareness of the range of technologies and of when and how they could be used, as well as the digital literacy and critical skills to navigate this space. Teachers should be careful not to overestimate learners’ familiarity and skills in this area. There is a clear role for teachers in developing such skills.”

“Findings on impact are cautiously positive. The research team identified four potential benefits to learning and teaching from using Web 2.0 to establish and sustain a participatory, collaborative, creative ethos of enquiry. These were found in the data, though in differing degrees:

• Stimulating new modes of enquiry
• Engaging in collaborative learning activities
• Engaging with new literacies
• Online publication of content

When used effectively, Web 2.0 technologies had a positive impact on motivation and engagement through involving students in more participatory learning.”

You can see a video on the use of web 2.0 in education here. It features some amazing work being done by Clunbury Primary School which has adopted a huge range of new technologies, including portable mp3 recorders for podcasting and the Nintendo DS for maths and literacy activities, in order to inspire staff and students, encourage collaboration and develop students' creativity. The film also makes the point that there needs to be a much closer connection between the devices used by young people at home and at school and that we need to develop ways of rewarding collaboration in a system which is focused almost exclusively on individual testing. As Ken Robinson often remarks, if young people work together to get an answer we call it "cheating" whereas in business it's called "teamwork".

Thanks to our good friend Zek Hoeben for drawing attention to this illuminating and timely report.

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