New research indicates educators view Web 2.0 technologies as a means to transform education and meet 21st century learning goals, but district leadership and support are critical to ensure safe and effective use. Commissioned by Lightspeed Systems Inc. and netTrekker, the "Safe Schools in a Web 2.0 World" white paper from Interactive Educational Systems Design (IESD), an independent research firm, offers a picture of Web 2.0 use in education through an analysis of several recent research studies, and outlines the implications for educators.
Research findings show that district technology directors play a key leadership role in driving adoption of Web 2.0 and supporting teachers in the effective use of these technologies. In their roles as change agents, district technology directors connect educators with technology by working collaboratively with curriculum leaders, educating district staff about the use of technology to support learning, guiding selection of appropriate technologies, and providing the core technology infrastructure. In turn, technology directors look to the vendor community to provide affordable technologies and Web 2.0 services in a protected environment, like a "walled garden."
Other key findings detailed in the white paper indicate:
- While districts are adopting Web 2.0 technologies to individualize instruction and engage student interest, it's essential that professional development and administrative support be provided to increase teachers' comfort level and expertise in using these tools in the classroom.
- Depending on their size, districts are at varying stages of use with different Web 2.0 technologies, signifying a need to share best practices and establish common guidelines to reach widespread support and use.
- Many districts implement Web 2.0 technologies to stimulate educational change while supporting and enhancing established instructional methods, yet some districts see a need for new instructional approaches.
To download the white paper, visit http://nettrekker.com/pages/iesd-white-paper/ or http://www.lightspeedsystems.com/resources/Information-Papers.aspx.