Saturday, February 21, 2009

Final Reflection: Chapter 9

"If we want to engage students in our classrooms, we must start looking at the social Web as an educational tool and not something to fear...If we continue to fight them, I'm afraid it is a battle we will lose" (184). In many ways, I believe the prediction that Jeff Utecht makes in his article "Creators in the Classroom," reprinted in Chapter 9 of our text, Web 2.0: New School, New Tools, has already come true. As an educational system we have already lost the battle. As a nation, we are facing a student drop-out rate of epidemic proportions. Instruction is changing because it has to change. Our students demand that we adapt, because the traditional rewards of good grades just doesn't cut it anymore. Our students demand meaningful and challenging real-world applications. Jeff Utecht recommends that schools take note of the gaming business and capitalize on the "five elements of the video game experience that makes it both compelling and instructionally potent" (185). They are:
  • Responsiveness
  • Convert-able and convers-able rewards (increasing levels of skill)
  • Personal investment
  • Identity building
  • Dependabitiliy
Another educational idea listed in the chapter comes from the successes of companies like Amazon and eBay who utilize intelligent Web-based software to make recommendations and provide immediate feedback to its users. Instead of recommending books based upon the purchase results of buyers who also bought the same book, this educational software would make recommendations for other lessons, sites, and resources based upon what has helped other student learn similar content. When I witness the kinds of online interim assessments that are now available to educators, which make very specific individual recommendations based upon student data, I don't think we are too far from "harnessing the collective intelligence of education data" (178).

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