Thursday, December 4, 2008

If We Can, Should We?

I love new technologies as much as the next person, probably more than most. One question I ask as a teacher is – Just because it is out there to use, should we? There is an increasing use and the appearance of a dependence on collaborative tools such as blogs, wikis, and podcasts. Wikipedia seems to be one of the most well-known and used wikis. It is an online encyclopedia featuring articles that can be edited by anyone, anytime. Hard to know what is really true or just a personal opinion.

We, as educators, should try not to fall under the spell of using this new technology just because it is there; but to find the educational benefits of wikis. One way would be to encourage students to compare this source of information with other sources. Check, re-check, trust but verify.

These new tools allow everyone to have input on any and all subjects. They show advantages in keeping users up-to-date and the “first to know.” As students complete school projects through the use of blogs, podcasts, and wikis, they use skills such as doing research, writing and editing, and collaborating with others.

Sometimes there seems to be a fine line on knowing when to use these technologies, when to reject them, and which one fits the appropriate situation. Hopefully we can guide students to make informed decisions so they will know when it is appropriate to use the technologies.

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