When presenting on the marvels of Web 2 tools Will Richardson relates his frustration that teachers see this as another practice for the classroom and not seeing the crucial step of themselves becoming the practitioners in order to deeply understand-and transfer understanding of them. ‘Teachers just don’t think they have to go there’. Teachers need to take responsibility for their own learning and model behaviours for their students ‘Why is it so hard for educators to focus on their own learning?’
Unlike other ICT professional development, the nature of Web 2 applications calls for immersive understanding. Perhaps PD in online learning can be divided into three phases:
The first phase was essentially about learning computer skills and associated applications. The second (and still current) is about discovery, access, application and delivery of online content (assets, learning objects, courseware) -the uptake of which is still being assessed at least here in NSW. These are all essentially Web1 activities; about the delivery of online courses and materials for the classroom according to a set curriculum. The Web2 phase of PD needs to reinforce the need for authentic and immersive practice. It is not so much centred on formal learning associated with a particular curricular, but rather about the learner defining, contributing as a valid part of their own knowledge space. Tom Haskins suggests a number of reasons why teachers are not on the uptake of these technologies, essentially suggesting a number of cultural/organisational factors mitigating against any sort of PD translating into real personal or professional commitment. The avalanche of responses to Wills post is worth reading also for better insights. But apart from the themes of ‘teachers resistance to change’ and ‘school organisations don’t support implementation’, there is a crucial point to be made regarding PD in the Web 2 context: all roles are changing especially the boundaries between teacher (information provider)/student (information receiver)/leader (knowledge facilitator). To understand the real affordances of Web 2, is to actively participate in the use of the tools.