The Primary Source Librarian

Dedicated to Excellence in Teaching with Primary Sources

Web 2.0 Playground

Yes, this blog is called “The Primary Source Librarian,” and “Web 2.0” is not exactly about primary sources. However, since I’m especially interested in how to use primary sources with some of the new Web 2.0 tools, I’m declaring it relevant.

Yesterday I spent a most enjoyable three hours with nine other people at a Leapday Playday to explore the concepts and tools of Web 2.0. We called our computer lab a “playground,” and we were there to “play.”

Playground Haas Playground. Courtesy of Chicago Daily News, Library of Congress.

Why “play?” Because every time I mention Web 2.0 to other educators, they react in at least one of the following ways:

  • What’s THAT?
  • I’ve heard of it, and I know I should be doing it, but I really don’t know what it is.
  • Grrrr. One more thing I have to do.
  • I don’t even know where to start.
  • Why should I try? Even if I did know what it was, all that stuff is blocked in my district anyway.

A tense look of anxiety typically accompanies each response. Thinking that the best remedy for this anxiety might be to encourage play, I invited a play group made up of former colleagues (including three retired friends) and current folks in charge of technology training in my old school district. You know–all library/tech/teacher types. Well, we had a blast! No pressure. No continuing education credits. No expectation of finished products. Just simple, mostly unstructured time to play with and share the concepts and tools of Web 2.0 that we discovered.

We spent a few minutes at the beginning looking at some of the typical features of Web 2.0 such as tags and comments, but mostly we just explored a variety of tools from a Web 2.0 tools handout. (I added professional to the title just in case anyone questioned our purpose. I figured I could call it a professional learning community if pushed.)

I was by no means the expert in the room, but I’m pleased to say that together, we managed to set up our own Web2Playground wiki with links to everything we explored (including the handout) and potential links to actual projects that we create. This wiki might have a short shelf life, but at least we all now recognize a wiki when we see one. Our playground skills are improving!


3 Responses to “Web 2.0 Playground”

  1. Kathy says:

    Just had to let you know that I checked my “feeds” and The Primary Source Librarian was in bold – I knew to check it out. I learned something on Friday and used it!

  2. Mary Jones says:

    That Kathy – she’s showing off. I haven’t quite gotten to the RSS feeds thing, but I did tell Randy about it.

    I would encourage all to take whatever opportunities come up to learn something about the web 2.0. It is overwhelming, but very, very exciting. MCJ

  3. Nancy Bosch says:

    I have a blog about the primary sources I use in my classroom–thought you might want to take a peek.

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