Posts Tagged 'web 2.0'

Antiracist, social justice education and web-two-point 09

It has been almost a month (not to mention a new year) since my last post, and I am feeling quite deprived.  Although I have never left my 2.0 journey, I have had to refocus my energy on teaching and learning (of others), and move away from the complete focus on self-learning that I have been absorbed by the past few months.  So, even though I have been reading blogs and wikis, and posts on social networking sites, watched videos, and listened to podcasts and slideshares, I refrained from commenting on them.  Instead, I have been creating and revising course syllabi so that I will be ready to teach again at the end of this month.

As I was preparing my education-related course focusing on antiracism in schools and society, however, I realized an important omission I made during my ethnoblogging venture.  As I scrolled through my lists of sites bookmarked in Diigo, I noticed that I had not saved any examples of k-12 lessons for teaching with an antiracist or social justice perspective that also  utilize web 2.0 tools or digital media.  I know that I saw some as I reviewed numerous web sites, but I did not think  to highlight them.  Perhaps I was in denial about re-entering the classroom. Or maybe I thought that I would easily be able to find them, but such was not the case.  While reviewing my own posts, I realize that I did highlight a few lesson plans related to the election in November (some of which had a social justice orientation – see post of 11/19/08), but very few of my posts relate to my work in antiracist education.

One of the assignments for my students in the coming semester is to have them identify a lesson plan that purports to be antiracist or multicultural and then to analyze it according to several criteria as outlined by antiracist, multicultural theorists.  I have done this for several years with very good results.  But this year I added a new dimension: I wanted them to find a lesson in which the teacher employed digital media or web 2.0 technology to accomplish his/her lesson objectives.  For such assignments, I usually provide students with some examples or links they might access.  But for this assignment, I did not have any sample lessons or links that combined social justice (or multicultural or antiracist teaching) with technology.  So, I decided to provide them with some web sites that have lesson plans for social justice teaching and some different sites that have lesson plans incorporating technology. By reviewing each of those sites, they will find lesson plans that incorporate both social justice education and web 2.0 technology, but they will need to do the synthesizing to complete the assignment.  The text of my assignment reads as follows:

Assignment: Search for and identify a multicultural/social justice/antiracist lesson for any grade level (K-12) and in any content area that uses Web 2.0 technology (ex. blogs, podcasts, wikis, Youtube or other videos, digital storytelling or other digital media etc.) as part of the lesson.  Bring a copy of the lesson (and the web link) to class.

The following sites may provide you some ideas. The first 3  sites refer to  multicultural, antiracist teaching which may or may not have lesson plans that utilize web 2.0 tools.  The remaining sites contain lesson plans with digital media that may or may not be multicultural or antiracist in focus.  Use your searching skills to find a lesson plan that combines multicultural teaching with digital media (or web 2.0 technology).

o       Use the Teaching Tolerance site at

o       Use the Multicultural Pavilion site at

o       Use the Rethinking Schools site at

o       Use

o       Use the PBS site at

o       Use the Teachers Link and Learning Page at the Library of Congress site at

o       Use the Teaching History site at

o       Use the Newseum site at

o       Use a site for digital storytelling such as

o       A site for digital media in the classroom such as

As I read through this assignment, I see that I was not as negligent as I thought for by asking them to do the synthesizing, they get to utilize their skills and creativity instead of my giving them all the resources.  So maybe it will turn out fine after all (note the apprehension of a teacher returning from sabbatical – can I  stilll teach effectively?).  Perhaps, though, I should not have them bring a copy of the lesson to class, but ask them to post it on the class wiki – now there’s a web-two-point 09 approach!
More, though less, on web-two-point 09 to come…

Web Two Point O(bama)


I have been so thrilled about the results of the election that I have not been able to settle down to write about (or even read about) my personal new learnings about Web 2.0.  As a teacher educator, I am hopeful that PresidentObama leadership will translate into improvements in all segments of the teaching/learning process and benefit both educators and students alike. I am confident that President Obama’s intelligence, imagination and creativity along with the wise choices he will make in his cabinet and other key posts will usher in a new era for education.  Hopefully, we can halt movement on the road that we are on that focuses more on standarized assessment than on learning for understanding.  The current agenda that centers on  learning for passing tests will never help to restore our country’s productivity nor enhance our common good.  I am looking forward to the days ahead and in participating in educational processes that prepare students with 21st century skills (including Web 2.0 tools) so that they can participate in global communities in thoughtful, intelligent, and caring ways.  Let us begin to imagine such an education.

More learnings from Michael Wesch

After one fantastic week in Paris, I am back to learning more about Web 2.0 and trying to capture the many significant points here on the blog.  Whenever I feel a little rusty about all of this technology (which can certainly happen to an aging mind and a 14-day break), I resort to a video to bring me back.  Today was no exception.

As I was reading a blog by Houshuang called “Random Stuff that Matters,” I came across a video of a presentation that Michael Wesch gave at the University of Manitoba on June 17, 2008.  His presentation called “The Future of Education” highlighted the work he is doing as a symbolic anthropologist at the  Kansas State University.  He discussed the classes he teaches (both large and small) in digital ethnography and media literacy and reviewed some of the research he and his students have conducted about student learning in general and YouTube in particular.  As usual, I found myself riveted by his knowledge, his explanations, and his examples.  I will highlight a few of my specific learnings.   Here is a gem of a quote which speaks to the value of collaboration in creating new knowledge: “nobody is as smart as everybody.”  It’s seems like an updated version of  the old adage that “two heads are better than one,” but it speaks to me.

Another statement that resonated with me refers to the terms “digital native and digital immigrants” as referred to by Marc Prensky. Within this terminology digital natives are the young people we are teaching who have far more digital experience than the older generation.  As we try to catch up with these natives, we find ourselves similar to immigrants to a country who do not know the language.  And although we may struggle and study very hard, we will still be digitial immigrants in this new world.  This description made sense to me, and I have used these descriptors to describe myself and the young generations who are far more experienced on Myspace and Facebook and can text-message seeminly faster than the speed of light.  Wesch, however, takes issue with the notion that students are digital natives.  For even though our students know how to use a few applications in some ways, they know very little about the extensive array of Web 2.0 applications or how they can be used in educational contexts.  Wesch maintains that “there are no natives here.”  He was encouraging to his audience (and me) when he commented, “don’t feel stupid because we are all stupid.”  With over 30 new Web 2.0 start-ups everyday (one of which could become as popular as Facebook), we are all sort of playing catch-up.  As I ponder his assessment of students’s skills, it makes sense to me.  So maybe  I will let go of my digital immigrant label.  I’ll have to think more about that.

One last tidbit I’ll mention here (there are several, watch the video and you will discover more yourself) appeared on one of his last slides.  While  refering to the teaching/learning process, he referred to a goal we should hold for our students.  Education should “move students from being knowledgeable to being knowledge-able.”  Studentns should learn to do more than acquire knowledge; we must guide them to be creators of knowledge as well.  Web 2.0 has provided the platforms for that to happen, but we (as educators) have to learn how to use those tools to accomplish that end (forstudents and ourselves too).

The presentation contains far more than just these points.  I invite you to visit Wesch’s website on netvibes and to view his Youtube videos – you won’t be disappointed.

A history of YouTube on YouTube

I have been reading Michael Wesch’s netvibes website.  It has tons of stuff.  Although I’m a bit overwhelmed trying to navigate netvibes and learn how to make my own page, I can appreciate all the information that is present on this site. Wesch is a professor of Anthropology at Kansas State University, and he teaches a course in Digital Ethnography. Among other endeavors, he and his students are conducting research about YouTube.  The site contains course information as well as descriptions about the studies he is conducting and many video clips from YouTube. One particular useful one (although they are all informative) is the talk Wesch gave at the Library of Congress in April 2008 about YouTube and its history called “An Anthropological Introduction to YouTube.” It is fascinating. If you are novice or veteran YouTuber and have always wanted to know the how, what, where, and when, this is the video for you!  It is over 50 minutes long but to totally engaging: Wesch is a terrific speaker and he has an abundance of video clips to exemplify the points he is making.  I was mesmerized and learned a great deal.  I can see how YouTube can be a terrific learning tool – at least it is for this learner.  So follow the link and enjoy – you won’t be disappointed.

Wikis, webcams and other Web 2.0 tools for teaching about the 2008 Election

On September 17, 2008 I attended an excellent event at Lesley University entitled “See How They Run: Teaching the 2008 election to growing voters.”  One of the goals of the presenters was to engender in young people a sense of civic responsibility by engaging them in the political process rather then having them just be bystanders. The first speaker children’s book author, Susan E. Johnson, read excerpts and provided details about her book See How they run: Campaign dreams, election schemes, and the race to the White House (2008).  The text is engaging by being both informative and humorous, and the illustrations are sure to capture young students.  The author takes complex concepts like the electoral college and presents them in simple yet truthful ways.  The honesty in the text is refreshing, and it is presented from the beginning to the end.  For example, the first line of the introduction states, “We put our Founding Fathers on pedestals and think they were perfect.  But they weren’t.”

The second presenter was Associate Professor Jo-Anne Hart who discussed and showed excerpts from her curriculum enttitled “Growing Voters 2008: Classroom Teaching Materials Grades 1-12.” She highlighted a number of open-ended lessons that can help to increase students’ knowledge and keep students engaged the political process.  She noted that far too many high school students do not have a basic knowledge of politics.  She referred to research that people who are non-voters at a young age tend to remain non-voters.  Political apathy once established persists.  The Growing Voters curricular  materials are free on the website as are all the web-based applications that will help to motivate students. Prof. Hart previously vetted a number of websites that are easy to learn and use.  Some of these include creating a wiki, online surveys, online photo slide shows, blogs, video editing and storage.

The entire event sponsored by the Alumni Association was also an excellent venue for connecting with other educators and exchanging ideas.  I found the event a welcome change from just learning on the web.  There are some things that cannot substitute for face-to-face encounters.  Hurray for them.

August 2020