Sunday, August 12, 2007

Lousy Labels

The labels that define us are lousy. Preconceived notions about particular labels limit our abilities. These labels saddle us with unfair baggage. A friend reminded of that as we talked about my own labels.
It is accepted (or it was when I went to school) that a teacher's preconceived notions about a particular student can augment or limit that student's achievement. I start my year in all my classes by reviewing the multiple intelligences. Everyone is smart, most just not in the linguistic intelligence. I then revisit the famous people who had terrible challenges in school. I love to tell other learners about Einstein, Hawkings, Goldberg...the list goes on...
As edubloggers who are somewhat (I speak for myself here) web2.0 savvy, which labels limit us? Those labels that others give us could prevent them from joining the conversation. Dembo has a point, are we being too congratulatory?
I need to remove labels that encase me within an edublogger web2.0 mentality. I need to reach out, to redefine my online presence, to be inclusive of learners.
The terms we so freely throw about include blogs, wikis, podcasts, webcasts, RSS, etc. These labels intimidate. They strike fear in those who don't know. Presenting the tools without these common labels may initially be helpful in getting learners to listen. One can speak loudly and still not be heard...
I am still surprised at the famous (or those I consider famous) who cringe at the suggestion of creating a blog, a wiki, or anything like that. This may be the stumbling block here in the USA. Facilitating all learners in creating web2.0 products will empower them and enter them into the conversation. The conversation is so much more interesting when it grows.
Who have you brought into the echo chamber this week?
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2 comments:

Mathew said...

I may be a lone wolf but I find the whole notion of the web 2.0 to be silly. I grew up posting on discussion boards on the now defunct service, Prodigy. As soon as I had access to the world wide web I created a web site. For me, and I suspect our students, the web has always been about interaction and global audiences. It's educators who just realized it.

I also wonder if everyone needs a blog. Although I'm reading a bunch of teacher blogs, there's only a couple that really offer specific help to me in my teaching. Most just seem to talk in theoretical mumbo jumbo that really doesn't change anything (present company excepted, of course) And there are not nearly enough student blogs. They're the voices I'd like to hear.

As a filmmaker, for me I'm much more interested in media production because of its implications for empowering students to think critically about media they see already on TV, at the movies, in their pockets.

But that said, I signed up four teachers to the Ning Classroom 2.0 site this week who have never had a blog before.

Mr Harrington said...

Lisa - I very much agree with your argument, we are in danger of alienating our fellow professionals if we go on talking in Jargon - it is impenetrable for those coming into the field and we don't make it at all easy for them. This is mainly why I am against giving everything a 2.0 label - it means nothing to around 98% of the teaching profession - much better to show them what we mean and to demonstrate how it can improve/alter the way they teach - we are after all teachers and learners, and should try to be inclusive in all that we do :) Great Post