How does the course work?

This self-guided course is delivered entirely online, via this website. There are a total of 23 learning activities or "Things" for you to choose from. You are expected to choose four of the 23 Things over the next four months. Each Thing is organized around a particular topic or theme relating to Web 2.0. You will decide when and where to complete each month's activities, and you will be responsible for "keeping up." You are encouraged to form "buddy groups" to work through the content together -- sharing, helping and encouraging each other.

What are these "Things" you keep talking about?

The "23 Things" are doable learning activities related to Web 2.0 tools and concepts. Detailed instructions for completing each "Thing" will be provided as you work through the course, linked from the "23 Things" page. Each "Thing" will introduce (or expand upon) a new tool or concept through one or more discovery exercises, followed by a learning task. The discovery exercises are "where the learning really happens" and are necessary for you to complete each task successfully.

How long will it take me to do the work each month?

Some tasks and weeks will be more involved than others. The content is organized into themes/tools. There are a number of additional variables that will affect this, but the general answer is an average of 3-4 hours a month, depending on:
  • Your general level of computer literacy
  • Your experience with Web 2.0 tools to date
  • Your interest in and excitement about the tasks and tools
  • Your basic "lifelong learning" stance

PLU

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IMPORTANT - Academic Honesty

Because the course is self-guided, participants seeking PLU credit must sign a statement attesting that all exercises and tasks were completed on their own. The intent is not to question anyone's integrity, but to hold ourselves to the same high standards we expect from our students. (This does not mean you cannot seek assistance from peers and coaches if you get stuck, just that someone else cannot do the work for you!)

What technology do I need?

You need an Internet-connected computer with an updated browser (preferably Firefox, plus Java and Flash add-ins), a microphone and speakers (or headset). WA participants will be provided a headset.

Where do I go for help?

By design, you should be your own first help resource throughout the course. Throughout this “discovery learning” experience, you will likely encounter a number of small challenges, depending on your general computer literacy and level of Web 2.0 experience to date. Each time you teach yourself something, find a solution or accomplish a task, you will feel empowered and be that much more tech savvy!
  • Most sites offer highly understandable Help files, FAQ pages and tutorials. Additionally, you will find many short training movies and help pages with screenshots embedded at the point of need as you complete the course.
  • Use your "human network:" Colleagues, students, and your Coach. In "real life" we seek help from experts when we need it! But remember, if your expert helper does the work for you, you won't be learning.
  • Many coaches will proctor occasional tutorial sessions for participants needing help with a particular tool or task.
    (Time and location TBA -- ask your coach).

Because some "Things" may be more challenging than others, and because we all have responsibilities and priorities and unexpected derailment, the course is designed to allow for a bit of flexibility in completion. Each month's "due date" is not a drop-dead date, and you will have a full week after the official "end" date to complete any outstanding tasks. That being said, please do not interpret this flexibility as an invitation to procrastinate -- you should not be chronically behind. If you are having technology-related issues, please connect with your Coach or attend a tutorial (when provided). If you are having life-related issues, please connect with your Coach so you can work out a plan.

How will I/you track my progress?

You will record your progress by posting to your own blog and elsewhere as directed.
  • Your blog will also serve as your portfolio, a living artifact demonstrating your completion of the course.
  • Your Coach will subscribe to your blog via his or her RSS reader and track your progress along the way.
  • You should title your blog posts with the "Thing" number (as well as a subject) to help you keep track of your progress. This will also be helpful when you want to refer back or add something new on a specific topic or tool.


How long do my blog posts need to be?

I am hoping this question doesn't actually need to be addressed, but, just in case...
  • Your blog posts should be as long as they need to be for you to meaningfully express your thoughts and reflect on your learning. You will get out of the course what you put in. Others will read and learn from what you post. What would you want your own students to do?
  • If none of those guidelines are working for you... aim for at least a solid paragraph.

How can I protect my online identity as I work through the course?

Transparency of practice and sharing your experience is one of the tenets of 21st century teaching and learning on the web, but there are a couple of ways you can keep your "digital footprint" to a minimum, if you have concerns.
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  • You can set up your blog (Thing 3) so that your blog address and username do not include your actual name. Only your K12L2 coach and other participants will be aware of who you "really" are.

Do I have to use 21Classes and other specified tools or can I substitute the ones I like better?

The short answer is: Yes, with the possible exception of your RSS reader.
    • The tools presented here are absolutely not the only ones available in each "genre" of Web 2.0 tools, but they are among the most useful, school-appropriate, feature-rich and easy to use. It would be impossible and impractical to try and review all, or even many, of the variations and alternatives, so I have elected to focus on a handful of representative tools. As you work through the content, I encourage you to blog and share with colleagues about other Web 2.0 tools you are already using! And in your own practice, you should absolutely choose the (allowed) tools that work best for you.
    • If you are already a blogger, learning to use 21Classes will be easy. If you aren't, it will be a nice stepping stone to learn about blogging. In any case, it's a nifty tool and allows us to participate more easily as a community of learners.
    • RSS reader exception: If you are already using an RSS aggregator other than Google Reader, you may absolutely continue to use it rather than migrating to Google Reader! Your aggregator is the core of your professional learning

Course used with permission from K – 12 Learning 2.0