Here I am at the national conference for science teachers in Australia CONASTA57 and as I have done at the past 3 conferences I am offering a couple of sessions this time around the Web 2.0 theme. Of interest as I perused the program was that despite the fact that there were quite a range and breadth of sessions on offer, of these there are only 4 that focus on elements of Web 2.0. This would seem relatively concerning as most of the teachers that are in attendance at the conference are from the secondary or tertiary sector, the very students for which Web 2.0 based tools would seem most appropriate.
Conversation with a number of delegates have also been illuminating. These discussions suggest that quite a few delegates are aware of blogs and wikis at least and one or two have admitted that they are actively looking at investigating Web 2.0. Many though have very little understanding of any of the elements or principles that underpin it. Even more concerning I was told by one delegates who had just presented one of the major presentations that the organisation that she works for had tried to use the internet five or six years ago but that it had turned out to be too hard. She went on to suggest that she didn’t think that teachers over 30 were all that interested into putting time and effort into learning these new skills and the best hope was in new graduates entering teaching. She was interested when I suggested that many of the leading lights in the incorporation of Web 2.0 tools into the classroom and beyond were in fact the baby boomer teachers.
To support my presentations I decided to work them up as wiki based presentations, (though the presentation is more linear akin to a slideshow rather than a traditional wiki). This has allowed me to embed examples of the student’s work and other tools that exemplify what I am trying to present. Given the previously described level of awareness of the territory the content is by nature not really that revolutionary. One of the presentations is a retrospective on the Passion Projects that the senior students at my old school were involved in during 2007 whilst the second is an presentation of some of the tools that can be used to add to blogs, wikis and the Web 2.0 classroom.