Techie Tuesday: 2.0 Red Tape

Do you ever feel like you are wrapped in red tape so tight you are unable to move?  In order to implement an innovative classroom technique/project, we sometimes get so caught up in trying to “straighten out” the red tape that we end up with eyes focused on the tape instead of our original  innovative idea.

I have been fortunate to work with excellent principals who are “all about the students” and allow the freedom to dream big.  When I began teaching at Minden High, I had a one computer classroom. Implementation of technology to broaden skills was key to reaching student learning styles.  My first purchase was an Averkey in order for all students to participate in tech rich lessons by connecting our channel one tv to the class computer.  By the time I took over the computer education courses, my math classroom had grown into a model room which included a class set of Palms, Smartboard, projector, mini lab, and CPS.

Why then did I get so focused on the red tape of web 2.0 implementation?  While I searched for a blog, wiki, etc that would be ok’d by the “internet filter committee,” I totally revamped the class website four times in three years.  Each time making it just alittle more interactive with approved components and each time falling way short of what I was imagining.  Granted the students didn’t mind; they were perfectly happy with a class website and the ability to journal and message the teacher.  My eyes were focused on the compliance within smartfilter.

November 2008 marked the first time that a blog was allowed to be added to the website approval list and thus not blocked.  You guessed it…Edublogs!  To say I was ecstatic would probably be an understatement:) I quickly started building the blog and learning about all the new widgets and such I could add to this now interactive site. Of course it would have taken much longer to learn the ends and outs if it wouldn’t have been for Sue Waters, James, and Dr. Mike at Edublogs.  To finally have these great tools to use with my students was like a dream come true, but I also quickly realized that there was a lot I had missed out on waiting to cut the red tape.

So what would I do differently?  First of all I wouldnt have focused on smartfilter compliance and instead would have had my eyes on the world of web 2.0.  To do this I would have read more, researched more, and reach out more.  Secondly I would have focused on my own PLN instead of only focusing on student’s use of web 2.0.

What components do I think would have been my first stop?  That one is pretty easy.  I would have created my igoogle page  (for organization) including the google feed, and joined Twitter(for socialization).

More on these first stops on next week’s Techie Tuesday.

What first steps would you recommend for a web 2.0 newbee?