The hypothesis of convergence in economics recognizes the opportunity for developing economies to grow at a faster rate than those that are developed, for several reasons, including the possibility of developing nations replicating methods from those that are considered developed. Also known as the "catch-up effect" the central hypothesis is that economies can begin at great points of disparity in terms of their development of per-capita income but can ultimately converge at a certain point, given the necessary variables for growth. In the economics of information, we can apply this same principle and discover that the central hypothesis is in effect.
Follow my thought process with me for just a moment. We live in a time where information is abundant and abundantly available. So much so that the challenge for us as educator’s lies in our ability to scan, synthesize and select the valuable information more than it does in having access to it.
Let’s take this one step further.
Have you ever felt like the availability of new technology and tools you can use in your classroom far outruns your ability to process, let alone take advantage of it? That’s exactly how many of us feel and I bet that those who really can keep up with all of it are the few. Let’s pick up that convergence or “catch-up effect” again here. The central hypothesis is that those in development, albeit in truly initial stages of it, can actually exceed the pace of growth of those who are “developed”, given the right variables to do so. And ultimately, they can converge at a certain point, despite the initial differences in starting points.
In the world of education and research for the technology and tools we can use in our courses, the catch-up effect can mean that from wherever we find ourselves in our current knowledge and use of Web 2.0 or Web tools, given the right variables to grow, we can actually experience great acceleration in what we know about these tools if we can replicate the methods (tools, techniques, strategies) of others who we might consider “more developed” in this area.
Now, let’s build up the variables in our favor.
What can we leverage in this information-abundant age in order to accelerate our tasks of scanning, synthesizing and selecting valuable tools to use in our courses?
One answer lies in the wonderful sites that amalgamate the tools that are worth a look. These sites, such as go2web20.net, act as the runners of the internet and the curators of the many available tools, making it easier for us to find something of value for our courses with less effort.
Other sites, such as edudemic.com, take the directory idea and step it up a notch by publishing resources that help synthesize and filter those vast tool lists by relevant criteria, including votes from others educators on what really works. Remember, applying the tools, techniques (and lessons learned) of others who have tried something out in their courses is a great way to start a step ahead…talk about the opportunity for convergence! From the now well-established free tools that have made their way into our classrooms, such as Wordle, to the new and up-and-coming sites that await our discovery, these Web 2.0 resource sites are the invaluable work of others that can truly help save us time, effort and even frustration.
So, on to the valuable resources that can help us get ahead.
Web 2.0 Tool Collection (Curated & Categorized)
Presented by: Discovery Education & DeVry University
“The 100 Best Web 2.0 Classroom Tools Chosen By You”
Presented by: Edudemic
“The Ultimate Homepage” (Curated & Visual)
Presented by: AllMyFaves
The Web Applications Index
Presented by: Go2web20
Now it is time to start!
Copy and paste the following link into your internet browser's address bar to open all of these sites at the same time. Check them out and then tag one or tag them all as your favorite to easily return in the future.
You can also scan the QR Code (short for "Quick Response"), which contains access to all of the websites I've referenced in the post. (A QR Code is essentially a barcode that carries data which can be scanned by most smart phone cameras. Be sure to download a QR Code Reader App that will utilize your phone's camera like a scanner, allowing it to "read" the barcode. I personally use ScanLife for iPhone, a free app available for download at the iTunes App Store).
Have you used any of these sites to find great tools for your courses? Do you have a favorite site you like to use? Consider sharing by commenting on this blog post. We’d love your input!
Academic Trainer & Consultant
Assessment & Analytics Group | Academic Training & Consulting (ATC)