There have been some educational communities that have been able to create some great work in the educational field, but none of them have been able to gain enough traction to bring enough people into the conversation to make them viable agents of change. The educational environment has always been the last to integrate new technologies and strategies into the mainstream. There are a variety of reasons for this, but it really comes down to a lack of money, lack of insightful management and little or no motivation. There have been several technologies over the past year that have brought smaller groups of change agents together and connected them in communities. I blogged last week on TeacherTube and NextVista, but more than that the free and open access to wiki tools, like: PBWiki, Wetpaint and Wikispaces. Steve Hargadon has been one that has spearheaded the 'School 2.0' movement through first; through a Google Group, which I joined, but found that there was little or no activity, and now through a social networking site on Ning.
Why do I think that this attempt of a School 2.0 community will be sucessful? For a few reasons: First, there are enough of the people at the grassroots level of EdTech, who are involved, including: David Warlick, Lucy Gray, Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach, Miguel Guhlin, Susan Brooks-Young, Chris Walsh and Mark Wagner. Secondly, there is enough crossover into other projects teachers and educators are working on that 'School 2.0' becomes a natural common space for different projects. Third, the social networking tools are getting better and the cost of entry for teachers and students is close to $0.
The video below is one that is posted on the Ning, School 2.0 site. It is a remix of Karl Fisch's 'Did You Know' slideshow, but uses some different images and focuses in on changing the educational process. More media like this will bring more attention to changing the current system and School 2.0 will be at the right place at the right time. The attention is coming... The University of Michigan is now offering a MA in Social Computing.