So, is Web 2.0 a big deal? Is it necessary for education, as an institution, to blend these newly emerging technologies into existing curriculums and goals so that we really are providing a 21st century education for our young people? If the answer is "no" - that this is only a tech fad to be ignored, or that we have more critical issues at hand to deal with (i.e. meeting state standards or NCLB requirements), I, for one, am gravely concerned about all of our futures.
Truly, Education 2.0, Classroom 2.0 -- whatever one wants to call it -- is about how we help facilitate learning in an ever increasingly flattened and networked world. At the core of this idea is having conversations with others via user-generated content. Web 2.0 technologies (wikis, blogs, RSS aggregators, VOIP, mashups, etc) add this value to a student's education. But do we get the "big idea" - the need to equip our students to compete in global economies? Do educators responsively read Thomas Friedman's work or watch Karl Fisch's video with dropped jaws and a firm resolution to learn more about our exponentially changing times? Or do they dismiss each with a shrug of the shoulders and return to drilling the skills for the upcoming standardized tests?
We need both, together, woven together inextricably as one fabric. We need students to be rock solid in their basic skills, but we need them to be able to apply them in a computerized, networked world which also has its own skill set to learn, and relearn, and relearn. We are losers if we think glowing standardized test results are the end all. We are losers if we think technology is the magical elixir. We're winners if we can realize that blogging, wiki creation, and many other Web 2.0 endeavors strengthen reading and writing skills, but in authentic and meaninful ways. The big idea is to realize that there is room for both. That's the big ideal. Big deal? Very.