12 May, 2008

Education & virtual worlds

Last week I was invited to present at workshops to teacher librarians on web 2.0 technologies, how we have integrated them into our library service and how we have encouraged staff to explore and play with things like blogs, wikis and social tagging. Also presenting at the workshop were Will Richardson from the US, who talked about why the read/write web changes everything (and who blogs at http://weblogg-ed.com/) and 2 NSW educators, Westley Field and Judy O'Connell.

Will presented some compelling arguments about why the education system and the way we teach children needs to change. He challenged the audience to act as models in the online world and provide advice and guidance on the impact of social networking.

Westley Field from MLC School in Sydney is the Director of the "Skoolaborate" initiative. This uses virtual reality to engage students in new ways of learning about the world. This is an incredibly exciting global initiative.

We learned about some great new web tools and sites - ustreamtv is your own personal television station - for all you budding media moguls out there. Myfamily.com helps keep track of the doings of your nearest and dearest and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has all its courses online for free.

Life is certainly changing for schools and teachers, and it was very interesting to hear some of the future directions it is likely to take. Yarra Plenty is currently administering the Learning 2.0 program for a number of school librarians in Victoria, and they are very engaged with that.

I'd love to hear your thoughts about how learning will change because of new technologies.

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