Living in an Online World.2

I’m following up a post from last week. The more I see and hear about this generation’s use of technology for online networking, the more ideas I get about how to translate them to the classroom.

There are some new and popular trends occurring through internet sites. Anyone with a digital camera can post video to For many, that capability comes within their cell phone. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of average-to-sophomoric material, but some of the good ones are most intriguing, entertaining and provocative. Applicability in the classroom: talk about how communication changes in an online world. Look at how this new social engineering is impacting business and economics. Think about challenging students to submit well-conceived, well-presented videos as semester projects.

Another trend we see emerging is the use of online applications. is a site where several people can write and collaborate on a document. Go there, try it. You need to sign on for an account, but it’s quick and painless. Working collaboratively on a document with colleagues? This is the place. On the heels of Writely is Google’s Spreadsheet. It won’t be long before we may see an end to Microsoft’s lock on applications we place on the desktop. Applicability in the classroom: Talk about writing across the curriculum. Write across classes. Partner with another class and develop small teams to write something together. Computer Science and Business. Writing and the sciences. Composition to composition class. (apologies in advance if I’ve stepped in any sacred cowpies)

Have you seen Google Earth? If you watch the ABC Evening News, you will see they use Google Earth for all maps. To run Google Earth on your computer, you need to go to the site and download a small application. Once on your computer, you can go anywhere you want on the globe and drill down to towns and, sometimes, building structures. I went to the home I grew up in and zoomed down to see my father’s Buick. It wasn’t well defined at that level of magnification, but jeezum, it was his car! Applicability in the classroom: I’m sure our friends in Geography are already there. But if you are talking about anything in the world, or climate, or international business…or, sadly, war, taking your class to the precise place on the world behind you on the big screen, well that might be impressive.

The whole idea is to start spending time in the world they navigate more freely. While this is clearly a developmental environment, those who learn to navigate it can keep pace with the changes. And, the skills that are developed by engaging in these online environments will be essential in many careers.

I’d love to hear what some of you are doing? And what would you like to do? We’ve got some talented people in ITS who know and breath this stuff. Ask us, we love to help.