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Teachers drive adoption of Web 2.0 technologies. The finding comes from a survey of district technology directors that was commissioned by Lightspeed Systems Inc. and Thinkronize/netTREKKER as a part of their “Safe Schools in a Web 2.0 world” initiative.

Teachers were identified as the grass-roots drivers for the adoption of digital multimedia resources (78%), online learning games and simulations (65%) and teacher-generated online content (60%). They were also among the top three groups for student-generated online content (45%) and student use of virtual learning environments (42%). District plans for professional development indicate that teachers’ use of the technology is likely to grow.
 
Students were most frequently cited as driving the adoption of social networking and student-generated online content. Indeed, the research shows that, though school districts are using or planning to use several types of Web 2.0 technologies, there is still resistance to using online social networking for instructional purposes. In 83% of districts, very few or no teachers use online social networking for instruction, and 40% of districts currently have policies that don’t allow use of this technology. There are safety concerns, as well as no clear vision of their value.
 
Other key results of the survey include:
  • The three most frequently cited reasons for adopting Web 2.0 technologies are: addressing students’ individual learning needs, engaging student interest, and increasing students’ options for access to teaching and learning.
  • Online communications with parents and students (e.g., teacher blogs) and digital multimedia resources are the Internet technologies most widely used by teachers, and a majority of districts have plans for adopting these technologies or promoting their use.
  • Teacher-generated online content (e.g., multimedia lessons, wiki-based resources) is likely to be the next area of growth in the use of Web 2.0 technologies. Almost half of districts have plans for adopting or promoting the creation and sharing of this content through Web 2.0 tools.
Over the next several months, the companies will conduct online focus groups, prepare a white paper summarizing and interpreting the research, and develop resources based on the insights learned to help guide districts in harnessing the educational power of the collaborative Web.
 
Issues related to preventing students from posting personal data slows the use of these tools. Districts also worry about protecting students from inappropriate content and/or cyber-bullying.
 
Lightspeed Systems Inc. develops comprehensive network security and management solutions for the K-12 education market. Thinkronize provides K-12 educational content.
 

 




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