These are my notes from Bob Martin‘s presentation “The Challenges of Web 2.0″ at the COSN conference in Austin, Texas, on March 11, 2009. Bob is a technical trainer for MORENET, which is part of the University of Missouri.

There is a disconnect we need to bridge
– between tech directors and teachers, parents and students

MORENET is a nonprofit and part of the University of Missouri
– without MORENET many rural Missouri schools wouldn’t have high speed Internet access (Bakersfield, MO is a problem)
– 519 districts in MORENET

We’ve had roundtable discussions with 200-250 people to talk with us
– these are preliminary survey results
– we did record audio in some cases because people were talking so fast!

K-12 teachers said they have:
– lack of knowledge about web 2.0
– no time to research
– security concerns
– filtering concerns
– perceptions was from parents that these were not tools, they were toys (Facebook)
– kids know more than we do
– lack of supporting research

we were being asked to teach teachers about how to use a blog, but most teachers didn’t even know what a blog was
– many teachers were creating blogs, but not creating them very safely

teachers are mostly grading papers in their planning periods

We have found kids know what they know: not how to setup security, how to prevent people from coming to the blog they don’t want
– kids may know how to use the tools, but not how to use them RIGHT

WordPress and Edublogs are much better for blogs, because they don’t allow javascript and Flash which can let viruses into your network

questions about lots of different tools made us want to standardize on a set of specific web 2.0 tools

I don’t know who to tell” might be a better way to say their feedback than “I don’t have time”

Higher education folks were interesting
– they don’t care what you do, just don’t do it in class or as a part of your class
– biggest higher education concern: bandwidth
– don’t say wiki to public librarians or professors in higher education: they immediately get out the “F” stamp
– they just don’t like wikis, but they often don’t understand the full use of the tool
– wikipedia as a cited resource? not going to happen

Librarians often saying “we can’t keep up with these tools”
– Twitter as an example: How many people knew about Twitter 1.5 years ago?

Disconnect between teachers and the technicians

Netsmartz study showed only about 20% of kids are actually tech literate, the vast majority of them are NOT

key advice:
– start small
– don’t start with every kid having their own blog, and contributing to another team blog, and commenting, etc….

how do you eat the elephant? 1 bite at a time

Internet statistics from the National Center for Educational Statistics in June 2005
– 67% of nursery age students use computers, 23% use the Internet
– kindergarten: 80% use computers, 32% use the INternet

Most freshmen in HS have not setup controls

Do we know the rules of the pool?
– do we have the rules posted?

When comment moderation is turned on, that is a game changer for students
– most have been in environments where they can comment anywhere without restrictions

we need to post rules so we are all playing on the same field

It’s like personal information
– don’t show yourself in your cheerleading outfit, right before

do kids know the dangers of posting an image out “into the wild?”
– they will never get it back

do THEY know how to keep their information safe and secure?
– do they know how to use the internet tools for the environment they are entering?

Want to see a restrictive environment: Go to the company Countrywide
– if you want to even check your email, you have to go to a class that is not offered very often

We need more “lab coat research”
– we need more education with new and existing teachers, technical coordinators, and administrators
– increasing awareness

standardized tools
– blogs: edublogs
– wikis: wikispaces for educators
– social bookmarking: diigo for educators
– social networking: Ning
– RSS: Google Reader
– Microblogging: Edmodo

Edublogs minimizes advertising


Other social bookmarking services in addition to delicious and diigo:
ma.gnolia (It appears ma.gnolia is dead however)

using Netsweeper now for MORENET which will permit districts to use differentiated content filtering (filter teachers differently than students)

don’t use “social bookmarking” as a term, use “collaborative bookmarking”

Bob Martin on Twitter:

Bob’s blog:

Comments from Bill Fiske from Rhode Island after the session:

2 groups of technology directors in Rhode Island
– educational technology obstructionists
– educational technology facilitators

We’ll only stop this behavior when we expose it to the public: talk about public relations, amplify the good work some are doing in some schools

Bob’s comment:
– in some of these districts the computers are like paperweights

My comment: The liability and control fears which drive some districts to not allow teachers to do anything on web 2.0 are the same districts which prohibit and get rid of playground equipment at elementary schools because of liability fears

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8 Responses to The Challenges of Web 2.0 by Bob Martin

  1. Great post Wes. I like the systemic approach to bringing it in to streamlined usage. I am concerned that once we start saying specific tools the tools themselves will be the goal rather than the work they do. I know it’s a give and take, and that we won’t make as much progress if we don’t quantify/specify some tools because that’s often how administrators think.

    All of that said, I like the idea. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Bob Martin says:

    Hi Wes,

    Thanks for doing this! This is great! Just a quick shout out to my friends in Bakersfield though… You are not a problem… 🙂 We were talking about you though and how difficult high speed internet is in rural areas.

    Also, thanks for correcting me on ma.gnolia. It is, indeed, in the dead pool. How quickly things change. I also thought Edublogs had backed off their ads for free sites, but I guess that was wishful thinking. All good stuff to consider though.

    Thanks again!

  3. Sue Waters says:

    Hi Wes, Just thought I should clarify this statement “WordPress and Edublogs are much better for blogs, because they don’t allow javascript and Flash which can let viruses into your network” doesn’t allow Javascript whereas Edublogs allows Javascript and pretty much almost any embed code. Edublogs has made changes to the WordPress MU for this to happen.

    Lots of websites use Javascript and Flash so the ‘risk’ someone is exposed to this the same as if they visited any other site on the web. So if a school network was concerned by this they would have to block the entire web.

    I should also clarify that I do work for Edublogs 🙂

  4. Bob Martin says:

    @Sue’s comment

    My apologies. I obviously need to fix my facts. We were told a long time ago that since Edublogs used the WordPress platform, it was safer for the reasons I stated. As for the Javascript “risk” comment… I wonder why WordPress does it then…?

  5. Sue Waters says:

    No problem Bob. The reason I came across and commented was that is one reason I’ve never heard people use as why they choose Edublogs or WordPress over other student blogging options.

  6. Wesley Fryer says:

    Thanks for the clarifications! 🙂

  7. Sue Waters says:

    No problems Wes. I’ve clarified in more depth in a comment on my 5 Top Tools post on my personal blog because Bob dropped past to discuss it in more detail.

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