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Big Shifts

Page history last edited by Anita Brooks Kirkland 14 years, 6 months ago

Will Richardson's Big Shifts


Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms. 2006


Will Richardson is a leading thinker in the needs of 21st century learners, and how the new web can enable effective learning.  In his book, Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms, Richardson helps us understand what all of this new technology means for transforming teaching and learning.  He summarizes these changes as the ten big shifts.


  • Open Content

    • used to be that schools and teachers "owned" the content they taught in their classrooms
    • now information easily available, with staggering breadth and depth
    • current information readily available, rendering textbooks as passé
    • open content means "open source" classrooms

     "More and more, the 'code' to teaching and learning that schools once held dear is disappearing, creating open-source-type classrooms

    in which everyone contributes to the curriculum."


  • Many teachers, 24/7 learning

    •  more access to content, more access to other teachers and experts
    • teachers have access to primary sources
    • Read/Write web tools enable interacton and discussion amongst professionals
    "The rich diversity of cultures, geography, and professional expertise that these source provide have dramatically broadened my understanding of my own teaching and education in general.  Without question, it has been the most extensive and effective learning experience of my life."
  • Social, Collaborative Construction of Meaningful Knowledge

    •  Read/Write web allows students to produce work that is truly collaborative, for large audiences
    • work can have real purpose and real meaning for the audience
    • information takes on new social context: work is not something to be "finished", but added to and refined by those outside the classroom who might interact with it


  • Teaching is Conversation, not Lecture

    •  publishing content to a wide audience is empowering
    • through web-enabled conversation, students  learn that their voice matters, that people are listening and responding


  • Know "Where" Learning

    •  in Read/Write classroom, not as essential to know what the answer is, more important to know where to find it
    • knowing where also means knowing where to find good teachers (many teachers, 24/7 learning)
    • teachers and students have to understand and be able to use the many ways to find information on the web


  • Readers are No Longer Just Readers

    •  in era of textbooks and print, some assurance of editorial checking before publication
    • now readers cannot assume that what they are reading has been checked for  accuracy
    • "the Web is now a printing press for the masses" - readers must learn to be critical consumers of information
    • with opportunities to converse and interact with the sources they find, readers must also be writers
    • readers now able to engage sources in debate and discussion: can use this as one way of assessing the worth of the information
    • reading is becoming more active


  • The Web as Notebook

    •  weblogs and wikis likely borne out of need to save and organize digital ideas, annotate interpretations, return to them easily
    • Web notebooks allow us to collect text, audio, video, photography and more
    • Web is perfect home for electronic learner portfolios


  • Writing is No Longer Limited to Text

    •  as we move away from text on the page, we move toward new definition of what it means to write
    • Read/Write web allows us to write in many genres: text, audio, video, music, photography, code
    • enables us to publish to extended audiences
    • we can combine these forms in the writing process


  • Mastery is the Product, Not the Test

    •  students can display mastery in countless ways that involve creating digital content for large audiences
    • traditional forms of showing mastery through performance can be easily published to the web
    "Think about the limited ways in which we could show mastery in the 'old' days.  For the vast majority, mastery was exhibited by passing the test.  When you think about it, schools are one of the very few places where someone is said to have 'mastered' a subject by getting 70% of the test correct.  And most of the tests were not based on what you could do with the information.  Would you feel safe in a world where kids were awarded drivers licenses by just passing the written test?  I didn't think so."


  • Contribution, Not Completion, as the Ultimate Goal

    • assignments no longer handed in, graded, handed back, most likely thrown away and forgotten
    • we can now offer students totally new way of looking at the work they do: it can be meant for the world, not just the teacher or school
    • presents challenges for educators:
      • enabling students to learn 24/7 from a variety of sources
      • moving from vertical model of teacher disseminating information and knowledge to horizontal or collaborative model of learning
      • redefining what it means to teach:
        • teachers as connectors of content and people
        • educators must model strategies for finding worthwhile and relevant content, and using primary sources in the classroom
        • teachers must become content creators: to teach these technologies, teachers must be effective users
        • teachers must become true collaborators: "We can't pretend to know everything any more, and we can't be effective if we don't tap into the work of others who are willing to contribute their ideas and content as well."
        • teachers must think of themselves as coaches, who  model skills and motivate students to strive for excellence
        • teachers need to be change agents

    Visit Will Richardson's blog, Weblogg-ed

Comments (1)

Anonymous said

at 3:23 pm on Jan 30, 2008

Are students learning how to listen in the 21st century?

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