Well, it’s been awhile since I have written anything on this section of the Academy. It was my intention to update ideas here that would benefit other teachers out there – one challenge we have is keeping up with all the technological developments and finding the immediate applications of these tools for our students. Chances are, our students know more about how to use technology as they are deemed the technology natives and we are the technology immigrants. This reversal of order is part of the new paradigm of education and something we must face head on.
One of the key things I have learned is that we need to be facilitators of education more so than just the dispensers of education. With all of the resources available online, and most of these tools offered for free, there is a wealth of information out there. In fact, it seems that education is less about giving students facts to memorize, but rather to teach them ways to apply their knowledge. This stresses creativity, imagination, and most above all, communication.
A recent development by Google is the Google Wave project. Still in the beta testing stages, it looks to be a great tool for project managers and those in the business sector, but it also can help revolutionize education with the right kind of application. For example, students are constantly in need of feedback in regards to concepts they are learning in class. With classes being overstocked with students, the amount of questions an individual student can ask drops. Using a tool like Google Wave may help this.
Simply put, Google Wave is project management tool that is asynchronous. This means it is not limited to specific time frame. For example, let’s say you are going to have a review for a test. In the typical educational paradigm, you would schedule a time, kids would show up, they’d ask questions and then they would be off. If a student was late or couldn’t attend an after school review, they would miss out. But with Google Wave, this doesn’t have to be the case! If the conversation is online, then students could drop questions and receive answers right from the comfort of their own home. Or even from their own cellphones! This means that you don’t even need to schedule a specific time as students could just ask questions whenever they have them and the teacher could get back to them at his/her convenience. Not to mention, if a student can’t make it online to the session at the assigned time, they could just replay the entire conversation and get caught up. They miss nothing!
What is stressed here is the concepts and learning – not the being in a specific place at a specific time. And what is even greater is that students can keep coming back to this “wave” (the conversations are called waves by Google) over and over again to get updates or to just relearn the concepts. You could even use this same wave year to year!
Still not seeing it? See if these help: