Yes, I know it is hard to believe but trust me I heard it at NECC so it must be so. The US Government is actually on the leading edge of the web 2.0 wave according to Tim Magner, Director of Technology of the Office of Educational Technology. There is some compelling evidence of innovation behind Magners words.
They bring us School 2.0, a concept more than anything else. It is an idea of what a digital community is or can be. What a digital community might look like, or could look like with the appropriate planning. The unique piece of school 2.0 for most of us is that it encompasses not only the classrooms and schools but towns with stores, post offices, transportation systems, homes and yes, people.
School 2.0 is a drawing actually and is available on the web at http://school2-0.org. On the page there is also a pdf. file. To help in understanding the concept take a moment to go look at it now.
You will notice in the graphic that the technology is clearly ubiquitous in this school 2.0 community includes not only the tools such as wifi access and computers and administrative systems but a planned infrastructure that supports everything that is necessary in this digital community.
Magner spoke of the upcoming eTools that work in conjunction with the map. There is a digital form of the map that will provide the ability to drill down into any area for a more in depth look at what the area is about what it means to the planning process.
In addition they are creating a very cool web 2.0 tool for drawing classroom or school. By simply clicking and dragging objects such as tables, desks, interactive white boards, computers into the space and jotting down notes in the space to record ideas as you are planning with your design team. The concept here is that often it is difficult to articulate an idea but if you can get it on paper (digitally speaking of course) –it can happen.
According to Magner these tools are intended to support districts by providing a framework for planning. He stresses that we need to change the way we plan and approach education and that districts need to align technology planning with
school improvement and accountability plans”. If districts are engaged in strategic planning at any level the technology must be included as a significant component of each phase if your school will be ready to meet the needs of the digital community.
One theme of this conference is clear. Contrary to prior beliefs the research clearly shows that today’s kids are wired differently and process information differently than the adults in their lives do. If schools have a hope of impacting educational outcomes, planning must be different, classrooms must be different and perhaps even jobs will have different definitions and parameters. Schools will not be effective teaching digital kids using tradition models of education.