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Design of a Web 2.0 Class for Teens…. June 26, 2007

Posted by Joselyn Todd in Educational Technology, Podcasts.
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I am teaching a week long course in Web 2.0 to 12-15 year old girls/boys. This is the third year that I have taught teen camps in the summer as I have taught summer tech courses to teachers for 7 years prior to this.

I have 35 hours to teach these students (all of which that I have never known before) Web 2.0 (or at least as much as I can get out to them). For the design of the class I am using a Wiki. I am doing this so that the students will be able to use the resources and access their work once they finish the class from home or school. I have also decided to design the course using all open source and free online Web 2.0 services. Why? Because these teens do not have the money to buy Microsoft Office 2007. Moreover, they do not have Adobe Photoshop and many other expensive software titles available at home- way too expensive. They surely do not have these resources at their schools- albeit, maybe MS Office 2003. We are using Dell Inspiron laptops that are 4 years old. We are running Win XP Pro on them. The laptops do not have wireless cards so we are using the school’s LAN. We have no filtering software on the network.

What would you teach if you had this eager group of kids for a week? Having taught adults and teens technology, I know that teens learn quicker than adults (no offense intended); but really, what are the most valuable Web 2.0 concepts and skills to teach in a meager 35 hours?

I have decided on wikis, blogging, podcasting, and digital storytelling (converted to a vodcast). The wiki will be the hub and all other aspects will be linked to it such as the blogs, podcasts, and video from the digital stories. We will also touch upon the up and coming 3-D web. We will explore development of 3-D animated avatars and teen Second Life.

I asked the campers to decide on subject that they were passionate about. I told them it should be a hobby or simply something they really enjoyed- nothing academic. Today I had 13 year old girls creating an exciting podcast about endangered wolves and a 11 year old boy collaborating with a 14 year old boy regarding a podcast about the Yankees/Red Sox rivalry. The others are just as interesting.

My take home message from our second full day- let a child be creative with something that they are passionate about and judge not… Whether it be the Red Sox rivalry or the endangered grey wolf, kids are amazing when given the tools to explore and pursue their passions.

Oh, we used Wikispaces for the wiki platform. We used Meez to create our avatars. We used Audacity and podfree music resources for the podcasts. And finally, we used Podbean to create our blogs.

My campers asked if they could work tonight on their podcasts. Several are interviewing family members this evening. Their parents PAID for this…. There is NO GRADE INVOLVED. Ownership of one’s creative venture- whether it is the students’ projects or the design of my class…it is our driving force.

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