#HomeEd 2.0

I discovered my old website this week on the wonderful WayBack Machine, and so I have started to transfer and update some of its pages over here.

I also found a collection of blog posts from around 2009 when I was experimenting with using my old website for blogging, and I thought I might reproduce some of them here. This post was originally called ‘Technoschoolers’ and was posted in various places including my old Multiply site, which I have also partially recovered. So I may re-post some ‘classic’ posts now from time to time.

So without further ado…

Home Ed 2.0

I’ve been having an interesting conversation online with a real-life friend of mine who is a ‘learning technologist’. She believes – with a passion – that today’s schools prepare children perfectly for life – in the 1890s!

She also believes that what is needed is technology, and lots of it! To be specific, social media – Web 2.0 collaborative learning & networking technologies, and among the best of these she suggests the following:

YouTube
Animoto
– Blogs
Twitter
– wikis

Of course, homeschoolers in the US and home educators in the UK are already well connected through things like yahoo groups, curriculum forums, and the newer Ning communities such as the Homeschool Lounge and so on.

I’d also like to add a couple of resources to the list of learning technologies which look interesting or useful:

VoiceThread
– Picnik (update: Picnik was a photo editor which is no more)
Mindmeister & similar
Diigo (Delicious, Digg etc.)
Etherpad
Cover It Live

I’ve also heard good things about

Moodle and
Elluminate

but I’m not sure how appropriate these would be for children who are learning at home autonomously (as most UK home educators do), I would need to investigate further how these can be used.

Take a look at the following video, and consider these questions: are the issues being raised in the video relevant to home education or not (and if not, why not), if they are relevant, how do we address them?

(I have to say, watching this again in 2014, I am struck by how thoroughly miserable these children look!)

If our children are learning autonomously, how does that figure in – how and where do we draw the boundaries, keep them safe, ensure that if they choose to game, facebook, blog, twitter or whatever (and apologies to prescriptive grammatists there for my verbal use of the words ‘game’ and ‘facebook’ !), that they are getting something educational out of it or should we be encouraging a balance between all this and learning in more traditional ways?

 

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Microblogging

I’ve been away from the world of proper blogs for a long time, but I use twitter a lot (I have several accounts but the home education-related one is @HE_Curriculum if you’re interested to follow).

It occurs to me that, if I wait until I have a lot of words to share before writing a blog post, being used as I am to the 140 character format, I may rarely post anything, but if I don’t need to worry about post length, I may be more likely to write. That may make for not very interesting reading, I’m not quite sure yet. But I suspect I need practice and I may improve!

I have one topic today. I have heard of and know people who have encouraged their children to blog as part of their home education – for English, or ICT, or just general education. This is not something I have succeeded in – partly because we have lived in a location devoid of internet accessibility, but also I think because my children are not all that interested in the social side of new media.

Have your children started blogs, or do they post on twitter? Do they run websites or networks? Is it something you would recommend? In what way has it been beneficial? And finally, did you have to cajole and persuade them or did they take to it willingly? I’d love to hear from other home educating parents (and children!) 🙂