Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Power of the Web

The web gains power as it constantly changes and grows. Not too long ago people received printed newspapers at their doors every day; now people read the paper on line, or glance at the headlines as they open their email. People rented videos, bought music CDS; now it is all compiled for you on line. Through the web, you can keep in touch with all your friends, at once, in different parts of the world. If you need a map, directions or the location of a city; you use the web and learn about the place and do a virtual tour of it. These examples could go on and on; which means the web can be a powerful tool when used appropriately.

To consider the influence of the web in a specific context I want to share a couple of experiences my students and I have had in my language class. We have had virtual tours of Latin American cities through Google Earth, soon we will be connecting through Skype with other native Spanish speakers to listen to different accents and learn about the culture of Latin America, and we will be sharing a project with other language students from a different school in a different country. Is the web powerful in this context? Yes; absolutely. The web has made a meaningful difference in my students’ learning.

Thinking about the bigger picture, the Web can be a great social tool when used for a global good; when there is collaboration. The challenge is using it correctly; sharing a common understanding of its potential. We would not want to miss the point that people are the focus of a society and not a digital tool.


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