believe, based on my literature review and own observations,
that the use of Web 2.0 tools in my grade 11 visual arts classroom
will offer a method of differentiating both my instruction and
assessment that will engage students and lead them to produce
work that shows a greater depth and quality than currently being
submitted. The wide variety of available tools will allow me
to plan and program activities that would appeal to students
with different intelligences and learning needs. Students who
learn better with auditory activities could become involved
in creating a podcast about a work of art, recording observations
and history and picking appropriate accompanying music. Students
who learn better visually could structure their work using mind
mapping software and post their work onto a wiki.
Students are encouraged by the public nature
of these tools to post work of better quality, as they know
others will see what they write. As well, feedback from other
students, teachers, parents and even strangers can be a strong
social motivator. Educators can take advantage of this knowledge
to incorporate Web 2.0 tools into their curriculum.
There is a certain inherent structure within
Web 2.0 tools. Students need to learn how to use the tools,
which usually have their own language and requirements. Wikis,
for example, are set up as linking pages. Students can either
be given full freedom to be in charge of the content or can
be given a list of required pages, which they need to create.
Gifted students may prefer to take on the challenge using their
own inquiry and approach while a student with learning disabilities
may work better with a limited structure. Accommodations can
be made for students depending upon their individual needs –
teachers can provide more one-on-one assistance, help in structure
assignments, peer assistance, more time and other methods.
Some tools are very effective in helping students
to categorize and organize the huge amount of information that
they need to process in school. This is especially helpful for
students with organizational difficulties. Tags and mapping
programs encourage students to find important keywords or ideas
and build connections.
Assessment of work done through Web 2.0 tools
can be informal and formative, for example, through observation
and checklists. Many of the tools make it very easy for teachers
to track work, especially when students are required to sign
in to create bogs or wiki pages and post comments on the pages
of other students. Teachers can use the history or edits page
of a wiki to view individual contributions, which can pose a
problem in traditional work. Checklists can be used to track
completeness of work. Discussions can also be used in conjunction
with blogs to stimulate students to post opinons. Summative
assessment can be done using rubrics which measure the process
and the product.
An area that has not been touched on within this inquiry, but
deserves its own consideration, is the use of Web 2.0 tools
and interactive sites to create and collaborate on actual art-making.
There are many sites that encourage any interested person to
participate in group projects. Some of the sites are listed
in Appendix I.
Another fascinating development is the creation of virtual classrooms
in Second Life and other virtual world programs. There are a
surprising number of universities, museums and other institutions
that have developed classrooms (www.simteach.com) that allow
educators and students to interact with each other, attend virtual
lectures with teachers and guest experts and experiment with
new ideas within a safe, simulated environment. One example
related to this inquiry is the potential use of a van Gogh museum
on Second Life that allows students to step into van Gogh paintings
for further study. Second Life offers a specific and safe area
for teens, as the general Second Life environment is not open
to anyone under 18.
There is so much more to explore. As educators
experiment with existing and new tools, whey will undoubtedly
share their experiences with other teachers. My challenge will
be to evaluate the tools and to try and determine which ones
will work best for the individual needs of the students in my
The excitement conveyed by educators who are
currently using Web 2.0 tools in their classrooms is very encouraging.
There seems to be a general consensus that students become more
engaged, more empowered and more inquiring when they use these
tools. The quality of their work also improves as they know
that what they post can be seen by others. The internet also
allows students to work collaboratively and beyond the walls
of their classroom, for a more authentic and even global experience.
Web 2.0 tools encourages students to become
participants in their learning. Instead of listening to lectures,
they create the input. The tools also allow community building
by encouraging collaboration, through blog comments and wiki
group work, for example. Tools of Web 2.0 are not a panacea
by themselves. They should be used an integral part of the curriculum,
to differentiate activities, heighten interest and connect students
to a world beyond classroom walls.
This inquiry has enabled me to examine the various
tools, understand how they are currently being used by educators
and begin to plan to use them in my own art classroom for curriculum
differentiation and enrichment. As well, I am taking into account
new ways to assess students who are using this new technology.
My inquiry research is merely the tip of the
iceberg. There will constantly be new tools to explore and new
ways to use them. I will be posting my lesson plans and assessment
strategies onto the web so that I can share them with other
teachers and ask for feedback and input. Although the above
heading says “Conclusion” it is really just a beginning.