Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Advice for Web 2.0 Newbies

Photo by pbo31

Angela Maiers, in her latest blog post, asked for some suggestions for people starting their Web 2.0 journeys.

Here are a just a few:

1. Start with the pedagogy - always remember that it isn't really about the technology, it is about the teaching and the learning. Technology is a tool, it is a means to an end. "It's not what the software does, its what the user does" - hugh . Check out Chris Lehmann's slideshow on Progressive Pedagogy and 21st Century Tools.

2. Jump in - you have to start somewhere, go for it. If you are reading this blog then you have already started. Take a look at my blog roll. Set up a Google Reader, start reading lots of blogs, and comment. Comment a lot. We bloggers love it when you comment. It makes us feel someone is listening. It is a great way to start the conversation.

3. Join Classroom 2.0, Twitter and/or Plurk - make sure that you include information about your self in the bio portion of your Twitter page and start sharing. Send out several Tweets before you start following people. Then look at my list of followers and/or people I am following and pick a few to start following. If they don't follow you back, you can always send a message with @username. That will get through to most people even if they aren't following you. I have a huge Twitter network, so @lizbdavis is the best way to get through to me on Twitter.

4. Start blogging yourself - the act of blogging has been an incredible learning experience for me. I never before thought of myself as a writer, but the more I write the more comfortable I feel about writing. Blog posts don't have to be long (and really shouldn't be) and they don't have to be perfect. Just get your ideas out there. Tweet your posts, link to other bloggers and you will be heard.

5. Attend conferences - Meeting my Online network face to face at Edubloggercon, Educon 2.0 and the BLC08 conference was an extrememly powerful experience for me. I really felt like I already knew people from our Online interactions. We just picked up where we left off and the real life conversations and friendships were inspiring and energizing. This made my journey feel so much more meaningful and immediate.

Dave Truss just posted this video which tells the story of his journey. He is a valuable part of my network and I wouldn't know him if I hadn't first done all of the things I've shared above.

Please share your suggestions and questions here!


David Truss said...

Although purely random, it is not by chance that you ended up in that video, (with a post, a plurk, and in my google reader friend's shared items), more than anyone else!

Isn't it amazing that we live on opposite coasts in two different countries and yet we can be networked so meaningfully in a community of learners!

Thanks for keeping the 'learning conversations' going and for being such a valuable person in my network too!

Bookjewel said...

Excellent and practical advice. I would add reflective behaviour to the list of essential teacher 'tools'

Anonymous said...

Great advice. I especially like that you mentioned people should add to their bios on plurk and twitter. So important to know who you are when people are looking to follow you.

Angela Maiers said...

This is fantastic advice. I will continue to collect comments from my teachers and readers, and will add to your list in upcoming posts. This is such a critical conversation to have as we move forward into the 21st Century, and having concrete first steps to take make the journey easier. Thank you for helping do just that-great post!

dabigleap said...

Great post. I posted something similar here:


I'm finding also that the only real way to get people to understand/see value is to have working examples that they can participate in first to get their feet wet in a practical situation.

Beth Holmes said...

Hi, Liz,
I loved this post! I was able to see myself at Step 4 in your list - and I have progressed through steps 1-3 exactly as you described!

I am adding new blogs to my Google Reader tonight. Just added The Power of Technology! Thank you for your excellent work and for all that I will learn from you in the future.

Forever Learning said...

Thanks for the good advice! I am an ICT lead teacher at my school, and I'll be pointing some of my colleagues in this blog's direction!

Unknown said...

It truly is about the teaching and learning and for me Web 2.0 tools have expanded my personal learning which then flows into my teaching practice. I also have to find a practical application for my learning or it doesn't stay with me for very long so that is where the sharing comes in. Remember, you were the first to share these great tools with me.

Curriculum Office said...

I so agree with everything you suggest. I work for a school in Honduras and we are trying to integrate technology into the classrooms. My teachers are learning to blog and use wikis for theselves.

If you could point me out on any more advice on Web 2.0 and Technology integration I will appreciated it.

Cheryloakes50 said...

Liz, What a great post! When I work with teachers and they ask to learn something new, I always ask for them to verbalize their purpose. Usually, when the purpose is stated, then it is easier to find the right tool. When you have the purpose, then using the tool makes more sense. Great job writing and reflecting.
I love your book and share it!

Bill Gaskins said...


Thanks for sharing this and reading this comes a perfect time. I am doing a series of Web 2.0 workshop starting Wednesday and I will share your advice to the group.Thanks for this post.


Liz B Davis said...

Thanks everyone - I'm glad you all have found the advice helpful.

Dave - thank you also for being such a valuable part of my network.

bookjewel - Yes - reflection is essential. I think that is the role my blog plays for me. It forces me to be reflective.

Marilyn - Yes bios are key - especially for me. I have such a large network right now I have become more particular about who I add to it. If I can't tell who you are or what you do, I'm not going to add you.

Angela - Thanks for asking the question in the first place. It was interesting to reflect on.

Dabigleap - Great blog post. I agree - we can't assume that students know these things. I find my students know a lot about Facebook and not much about anything else.

Beth - congrats on getting to step 4. What is your blog address? I'd love to take a look at it.

Raenette - Thanks for sharing your blog address. You've got some great tools there. I was just checking out Mixwit it looks like it has potential.

Meredith - I agree that practical applications are key. I don't think those applications have to start out in the classroom. They might start out as personal learning and then lead to classroom learning.

Lidia - I think http://www.classroom20.com is a great place to start. There are so many resources there and so many people who can help you.

Cheryl - I'm so glad you are finding my book helpful. I'm working on an update of the book right now since so many of the tools have changed (like delicious) since I first created it.

I also always start by asking teachers to articulate their goals. I ask for the "essential question" for the project or unit or lesson. That helps me to help them figure out the best tool for the job.

Bill - Please do share. Thanks. And by the way I am Liz Davis (not Vicki Davis - she blogs at Cool Cat Teacher.)But I'm honored to be mistaken for Vicki.

Anonymous said...

Liz, after I read what you posted I thought of the old saying: "You are what you eat".

It translated in my head to "you are what you read". What we read and who we network with is integral to how we educate.

I'm fortunate to have joined such a great network and I'm always eager to learn more.

Anonymous said...

Hey Liz,
Glad I came across this post. I am presenting at an Educational Symposium on Saturday in Ocala, FL. I'll be discussing Web 2.0 tools and I will be sure to show them these steps. You've provided excellent advice that I'm sure my teachers will find useful. Thanks!

Liz said...

Hi Liz,
Thanks for your insightful reflection. Your optimistic writing is encouraging. I am somewhere along in the list. I found myself doing 1, 2, and 3.

Warm regards,
Elizabeth Koh