2007 Predictions: The Read/Write Web in Education

1. Educational Blogging: In 2007, I expect we’ll see even more blogging in schools, and I expect new blogging services will continue to emerge that will (for better or for worse) give teachers more control over what students are doing with posts and comments. (There are some services like this already, but none seeing mainstream use.) With any luck, an open system (such as edublogs) will also offer the ability to host audio and video files for… educational podcasting.

2. Educational Podcasting: Though Podomatic is a free and easy to use system, it is more like Blogger than Edublogs, in that it is clearly commercial in nature and it is (relatively) easy for students to access other potentially inappropriate podcasts. In 2007, I expect someone will step up to create a similar service that focuses on educators, gives a greater degree of control, and reduces the possibilities of embarrassment via random links. Perhaps Podomatic could even be the ones to do this… in a way similar to how Wikispaces offers free wikis to teachers.

3. Educational Wikis: I expect that in 2007 Wikispaces will make their goal, and that even more teachers will be using wikis as an online extension of their classroom. I also expect that wikispaces (or another education focused provider) will begin offering templates for teachers to create wikis… not design templates for the look and feel of the site, but templates for organizing the content of the wiki based on how the teacher wants to use the wiki in the classroom. I’m also anticipating a wiki service… from Google.

4. Google in Education: In 2007, I expect that many teachers will explore the new Blogger (and perhaps switch back). More will begin using Google Docs regularly. And although Google is slowing down its new acquisitions, they did buy Jotspot in 2006 and I expect a Google worthy wiki service will be available to teachers soon… that is, if teachers are allowed to use it.

5. DOPA: Teachers, students, and parents need to be aware of the potential dangers of using the read/write web, but they also need to know the potential benefits and proactive strategies they can use to help keep students safe without denying them access to these powerful learning tools. Spreading this message and raising awareness remains an important goal in 2007, and – I expect – it will be an important trend. The fearful backlash against these tools will subside and more educators will feel free to explore powerful applications of blogging, podcasts, wikis, and more. In fact, I expect we will see educational technology standards emerge that will encourage or require the use of these tools… perhaps even the new version of the National Educational Technology Standards (NETS), which are currently under revision.

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