7-A-1 The Future Was Yesterday


“So, the classroom of the Read/Write Web is one of the seamless transfer of information; of collaborative, individualized learning; and of active participation by all members of the class. It is marked by the continuous process of creating and sharing content with wide audiences. In many ways, these technologies are demanding that we reexamine the way we think about content and curriculum, and they are nurturing new, important shifts in how best to teach students (Richardson 2010 149-150).”

As a literacy teacher, I, perhaps more easily than others, had moved into this mode of teaching within my classroom by using pedagogy that supports constructivism. Because the content of a literacy classroom is process-based rather than information-based, having students practice discussion skills was easy–the Iowa Core Standards have an entire set of standards for discussion. Focusing on the writing process and assisting each individual student to improve his/her writing based on their ability level when the joined my classroom was simply status-quo teaching for me. Unlike classes such as science or social studies that have very specific pieces of information as well as skills and processes to teach, my course is the process of reading, writing, researching, argumentation, and all for a specific audience and purpose.

The biggest shifts in my classroom will therefore be around two major shifts from those identified by Willard Richardson:

  1. Big Shift 5: Know “Where” Learning: How will I develop lessons that will instruct students on how to find, how to evaluate for reliability and validity, and how to manage,share, and create new learning from this information. 

  2. Big Shift 7: The Web as Notebook (or Portfolio): What is the best repository for students’ to curate these sources and their  reflection, sharing and creation?

These two shifts and these two questions are my “Aha! Moment.” They are the distillation of this class, Building Online Collaborative Environments, to the essence of the focus of change in my classroom. I need to learn more about these myself, create lessons and structures around these in my classroom, and help my students to engage in these through my classroom instruction.

I don’t have the answers to these questions today, but I am glad that I have identified, succinctly, the questions that will guide my classroom pedagogy for this coming year. I have a focus; I have a place to begin; I have a North Star by course-correct when the crazy of the school year begins, and I inevitably wander off track.

Now I need to seek the answers by becoming a connector, content creator, collaborator, coach, and change agent (Richardson 2010 154-155). Wow, a tall, but invigorating order.


Richardson, W. (2010). Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts: And Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.

6 thoughts on “7-A-1 The Future Was Yesterday

  1. Lorilee, I too am going to make the big shift with “The Web as Notebook”. After all of these group assignments we’ve done on a wiki, I am inspired to use a wiki in my classroom. Although I have used them in the past, somehow with its continued use week after week, I have grown more comfortable with them myself and now have the confidence to use them as an instructional tool. In my course project presentation you learned that blogs can be used as collaborative notebooks, but now I see that a wiki may be a better tool for this purpose. That way, students can edit each other contributions and add to it for one great truly collaborative notebook! I absolutely love this idea, imagine having all the notes online constructed by the students themselves with media infused throughout it! How awesome! Then, when students are absent or confused they can refer to it AND when students are experts and understand they can contribute and help others that are stuck! Additionally, when it comes time to study for a test, all the information will be available for students to study from (which can be accessed anywhere anytime). I finally am ready to make some big shifts!


    1. Shari–I agree with your idea of using the wiki. I had done a lot of work using a wiki as a sharing repository but not for collaborative work. Like you, this course, has really opened my eyes to the collaborative opportunities that wikis offer and has made me far more comfortable applying those opportunities.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. A tall but invigorating order, indeed! I think my favorite shift (from the English teacher’s perspective) is the online portfolio one. While I’ve been doing this class for ages, now, I feel like I only *just* have started to have my students create the beginnings of an online portfolio. With google drive, it is much easier to share documents and create folders so students can see their works in progress, or manage the different styles of writing they’ve created. I feel like this is something I plan on building on in the future. I just have to remember to put one step in front of the other.


  3. I am especially impressed with the shift to web as notebook or portfolio, when all the online resources are available for free. This shift helps economically handicapped students who otherwise would not have the access to the information and knowledge available if they have to pay for it.


    1. Absolutely, the opportunity for free apps and online tools really supports equity for all students. I hadn’t thought of that perspective, but it’s so important.


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