Strategy Matters

A tag cloud with terms related to Web 2.
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I really appreciate all of the talk recently about how a district can use strategy as a way forward with connected learning. The conversations around losing Web 2.0 tools (or losing their “free” status) is warranted, especially with how much we have come to rely on them for our daily learning fix.

The two that I am the most interested in, at the moment, are:

Miguel’s articulate questions:

And

Bud’s wonderful podcast about how long and where we need to keep student creations:

As a language arts teacher, I rarely asked for something that wasn’t precious. What kind of schools are we providing if all our students do is throwaway busy work?

And if we are only asking kids to do meaningless stuff, then I want that documented, too, so that we can change.

Our kids deserve that. And so do our societies.

While I think that both of these posts are much better at handling this conversation. Here are my two cents:

Web 2.0 has never been about free stuff for me. Wikispaces was just a way to understand the power of wikis. Blogger was a way to understand the power of blogs. Podomatic was just a way of understanding podcasting. I didn’t think that any of those places were “district solutions”, but I needed them in order to see what was worth keeping and what wasn’t.
I moved on to a hosted wordpress solution, with podpress plugin, and a Google site. All three have backup plans, exports galore and solid business plans behind them (i.e., me and Google)
We need people to try out “the free” in order to figure out “the good”. But, I don’t think that districts can do these kinds of pilots. Individual teachers and other innovators have the flexibility and the direct contact with students to try things out, but the responsibility (and the part that is missing) is the communication with “the district” after those pilots actually happen. When a teacher figures out what “the good” is, the district needs to be able to analyze and see if it is scalable, responsible, and frugal.
Strategy should come from research… in the classroom.

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