Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Information and Interaction

I've often thought about the fact that we use technology to both consume and produce information but, for some reason, I've thought about it as two separate processes. As an example, I've thought about consuming information as in looking for sources on the web such as news sites, classroom related sites, etc. Producing information has seemed to me to be about creating one's own website.

So now, I'm feeling WAY behind the times in this thinking but here it is...Blogs and Wikis provide us with the opportunity to be consumers and producers of information all at the same time. As a blogger, I'm producing information right now and someone will, hopefully, be consuming this information and then, in their response, will be actually producing further information that I can then consume and respond to again. In creating wikis, our intent is to collaboratively work with information but again, we are both consumers and producers at the same time.

How does this apply to classroom instruction? If we really pay attention to these two tools - blogs and wikis - we have unlimited potential for giving our students access to real life applications for the literacy skills that we begin teaching them from the time they walk in the door. (and those literacy skills apply even when it's not "reading time". ) When I first became a teacher, we helped kids understand the writing process. When they "published" their work, where did it go? Maybe they read it to the class, or we put a nice cover on it and placed it in the classroom library or they took it home and proudly showed Mom and Dad what they had worked on. Today, with a few clicks of the mouse, we can publish our writings, our ideas, our insights to a medium that can be viewed around the world and to a medium where others can readily respond and collaborate in building ideas together. If that isn't exciting, I don't know what is!

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