From Thursday the 19th to Saturday the 21st of February I had the pleasure of being a facilitator for the Sampoerna Foundation Teacher Institute in Jakarta. We had a great group of educators from as far away as Sumbawa and Kalimantan as well as many from schools around Jakarta. 

On the day of the worskhop, all particpants started off by setting themselves up with Google Reader accounts and loading up with feeds from top educational blogs. Everybody also signed up for a Delicious account and we added eachother as a network which allows us to look at the pages and posts that each of us have bookmarked.

I then gave a brief introduction to some of the most important Web2.0 tools including Wikis, Blogs, Nings, Google Earth, Brainpop, and Youtube. Participants then chose a tool that they wanted to investigate further then explored it and reported their findings on our Workshop Wiki.

Participants then brainstormed topics that they planned to teach over the next few weeks. They worked in pairs to create a lesson plan that would incorporate the appropriate tool for the lesson objective. So often I hear teachers saying that they would like to use blogs or some other tool in the classroom; this enthusiasm is great but it is key to remind teachers that it is not about the tool but about how you use the tool. There are so many tools online that for almost any lesson objective, there is a Web 2.0 path to achieving that objective and that certain tools are best suited to certain learning objectives.

We rounded off with a discussion on AUPs (Acceptable Use Policies) and finding the correct balance of empowerment and control in how our kids connect to the internet and to eachother.

The entire enterprise has been a real eye opener for me and has given me an insight into how so many schools are at so many different points on the same road. Despite challenges of budget, facilities, or staff motivation, we are all innovators; the front line in dragging education kicking and screaming into the 21st century.

Some of the common issues that many schools are facing included; 

“How do we convince senior administrators of the value of Web2.0 in the classroom?”

“Our network administrator blocks Youtube – what to do?”

“Our internet is never fast enough. How do we use these tools without reliable access?” (Been there!)

“ICT is treated as a separate subject, how do we bring it into the classroom?”

Answers on a postcard! (Or a comment thread…)