Slide 1 - Presentation

Good evening to all colleagues in Moscow and my friends worldwide who came together online to share their work and experience with you.
My name is Barbara Dieu and I am an EFL teacher presently on a sabbatical from the international Franco-Brazilian secondary school I have worked for the last 25 years. I live in Sao Paulo, the most populous city in Latin America and one of the largest urban areas in the world. It is 2pm in the afternoon, I am sitting in my apartment and we are enjoying a particularly rainy but fortunately warm spring time.

Along these 11 years I have been participating and collaborating on the Web, I have also developed a presence and an identity online. People call me Bee or Bee Kerouac in Second Life, a 3D interactive World.

My topic today, as you may have browsed through on the wiki put together for this event, is how to establish an online presence through the use of the social participatory web. Some people use the shorter commercial moniker Web 2.0 and others refer to it as the read and write web.

On this introductory slide I have put together two print screens of the cover page of the USA Time magazine. As you may know, Person of the Year (formerly Man of the Year) is an annual issue that features and profiles a man, woman, couple, group, idea, place, or machine that "for better or for worse, ...has done the most to influence the events of the year.

The cover page on the left dates back to 1982 - that year, the first abstract and non-human choice, The Computer, was designated Machine of the Year.
24 years later, in 2006, the choice of the selection was You, or WE, the people, representing most if not all people for advancing the information age by using the Internet (via participatory media like blogs and wikis). The World Wide Web had a phenomenal growth after 1993 and it opened the global information infrastructure. From that moment onwards, distribution and publishing was no longer the exclusive realm of broadcasters and publishers. Any of us could do it from our own computers and young people took advantage of this and started using the Web as their communication platform.

However, in education, change happens much slower. Although the Web has lowered the cost of entry to a profusion of networked, hypertextual possibilities, previously available only through proprietary and platform-dependent software solutions, school management, academia and many teachers still have difficulty in understanding and operating within this new paradigm and remain enclosed in their ivory towers. Although many institutions have implemented ICT in the curriculum, the pedagogical approach has not changed. In the same way, topical materials are downloaded to complement the classes so as to extend the books just in case students may need the information sometime in some distant future. No or very little real-life participation in real modes of communication is attempted. Many learning management systems replicate the conventional transmission of the classroom mode. Learners perform simulated structured activities in passive/receptive mode and the communicative and expressive potential of the web is untapped.

There are signs of a significant generation gap because rather than using the Web as an information source, to shop or to read newspapers online - young people are using it to communicate with one another.

Social Tools and platforms or Web 2.0 as it is commercially called are said to represent a new paradigm in the way that the Web is used, enabling greater interaction and simplicity for users to contribute to the creation of online content.