Book review: Web 2.0: new tools, new schools

web 2.0

Web 2.0: New Tools, New Schools.
Gwen Solomon and Lynne Schrum
ISTE, 2007. 270 pp.

People no longer just search for information on the web. Now they provide information, too. These people include our students. The world has changed; students have changed, and traditional schools are no longer up to the task of educating young people for the future.

This is the argument of the book Web 2.0: New Tools, New Schools, by Gwen Solomon and Lynne Schrum. Solomon is director of techLEARNING.com, the web site of Technology & Learning magazine. Schrum is a professor and coordinator of elementary education in the College of Education at George Mason University.

Although we’re still in the early days of bringing together education and Web 2.0, they say, there are good models—both of learning and technology use—that point us in the right direction.

For instance, the authors provide examples of teachers who have guided their students to use Web 2.0 tools in creating a collaborative math solutions manual, an independent literature circle project, a collaborative guidebook about online security. Chapter 4 provides example of educators like English teacher Jon Orech whose students use wiki software for a literature project; Ted Glazier, whose students use the Flickr photo sharing tool in digital storytelling projects; and April Chamberlain, who created a blog so her students could communicate with soldiers in Iraq. The authors present examples of Web 2.0 tools being used to teach social studies, math, journalism, geography, English as a Second Language, and science.

Solomon and Schrum observe that, although young people may be ahead of their teachers in using these tools, teachers can help them use the tools in educationally appropriate ways. With Web 2.0, students acquire knowledge from many more sources. As long as teachers vet those sources for accuracy and reliability, students can get a broader range of perspectives and resources.

Other chapters discuss the new technological issues facing education leaders and their strategies for coping; online safety and security; and tutorials for learning tools like the Audacity sound editor, RSS feed syndication, shared bookmarking and tagging, Class Blogmeister, and Google Earth, among others.

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