Thursday, April 9, 2009

Online Community

One of the major topics of conversation recently in my Classroom Internet Integration course at UAS has been the evolution of the web into a worldwide forum for discussion and debate, resource sharing, and community/relationship building. Web 2.0, as this iteration of the internet is sometimes called, is an interactive environment in which people around the world are no longer merely consumers of online information; rather, they are active and involved participants who freely contribute ideas, information, skills, knowledge, resources and more. The web has thus emerged as an invaluable community hub with access to an almost unimaginable depth and breadth of information while at the same time serving as a global commons where people from around the world can come together to share ideas and resources and to engage in meaningful discussions.

In keeping with this spirit, I've added a Community section to my blog where I'll be posting links to interactive sites I've found (generally related to education) that provide both good information and commentary and at the same time afford the opportunity for feedback and interaction.

The first site on this list is the Education Policy Blog, where you'll find thoughtful analysis of issues of education policy and links to other interesting articles elsewhere on the web. Just recently I found this link to a new joint study by the University of Colorado Boulder and Arizona State University arguing that more needs to be done to address out-of-school factors like chronic poverty, pollution, violence, etc. which have negative effects on student achievement. It raises some interesting questions about the role the school plays in attempting to ameliorate society's ills; in particular, how effective is outcome oriented legislation like NCLB at reducing gaps in achievement among rich, poor, minority and non-minority students when the underlying social factors that create inequality remain unaddressed? Interesting reading, to be sure, and well worth the time.