ReflectingSchool building leaders and teachers must embrace the change that technology affords. The affect of technology
change has permeated all aspects of our society. Our current generation of K-12 students is truly native to the digital
environment. Using the digital highway to share experiences and ideas is an every day occurrence for most youth. At a
minimum, texting and the use of email are, indulged in by many at a very early age. Let’s not forget the wide spread usage of
handheld games that the youth are enjoying; I witnessed my eighteen month old nephew manipulate a digital hand held
device with such ease to watch movies and play games. So often, I hear the students around me, making reference to the
use of Facebook as a method to reach out to their peers, in lieu of making a phone call. So, the teacher and school
building leader must recognize and capitalize on the digital skill set the digital native brings to class, in addition to using Web
2.0 tools to be more effective as a teacher and school building leader.
The digital environment that is readily available to teachers, students and school building leaders is the World Wide Web and
the software applications that run and can be accessed on this ubiquitous platform. The time when the bulk of digital
technology could be described as disparate computers performing arduous tasks for scientists, engineers, mathematicians
and researchers is well behind us. The motivation of the aforementioned users to use computers was very clear. The
forward movement of their work depended on it. Would space exploration be possible without the use of computer
technology? Why should a teacher or school building leader be motivated to use a Web 2.0 tool? What literacies are
employers expecting high school and college graduates to have developed prior to graduating? Some times, I feel the
terms “social media” and “social technology” are too limited in scope or bad branding. I am no anthropologist or
sociologist but Web 2.0 tools are not just being used to engage in “social sharing -fun stuff-”, but businesses are using
these tools to stay competitive and to gain the competitive advantage. For me the phrase “Collaboration Media” paints a
better picture. I find it to encompass the possibilities of social exchange, productivity undertakings and a platform
for learning.
Yes, learning our students must be motivated and engaged in learning. Our teachers and school building leaders must
understand the new literacies. To learn, one must be motivated and engaged. The new literacies that Collaboration Media
requires fosters peer learning and allows for critical exchanges. Web-based educational tools permit both the teacher and
student with the opportunity to customize the learning experience. The success of flipped classrooms, which requires
access to the Web, is reliant upon the students’ ability to analyze digital media critically, whether the delivery application is
Power Point, YouTube, Flickr or any other software based application. Leveraging our students experience using Social
Media is paramount. In many, if not most cases, students enjoy working with Web based applications from games to
Facebook to just simply sending email. I have used blogging with my students to implement an interdisciplinary
assignment. The students had to post sentences on a blog, using vocabulary words they first learned in mathematics. They
were required to write sentences both in a mathematical context and a non-mathematical context for their Math and
English teachers to check for grammar and proper usage.
Again, learning is the goal. The student must be motivated and engaged in the process of learning to produce the desired
outcomes. In many cases, teachers and school building leaders must overcome their insecurities, and ignorance of what
technology in general, and Web 2.0 technologies in particular bring to the learning environment. The communication and
learning between, student and teacher, teacher and leader, leader and community can call be done in an interactive manner
using Web 2.0 technologies. The Partnership for 21st Century Skills and International Society for Technology in
Education are examples of two standards bodies that have defined frameworks and standards for teachers, students and
school building leaders to appeal to as they implement Web 2.0 technologies for learning in a safe and secure online