EdWeek online hosts a set of fine blogs worth following; I have previously commended the excellent Meier and Ravitch Bridging Differences blog.  Today I want to take appreciative notice of the Digitial Ed. blog hosted at Ed. Week by two veteran journalists, Katie Ash and Kathleen Kennedy Mazano.

One recent entry reports on the FETC conference in Orlando, sharing the remarks of Harvard Professor Chris Dede, who calls for swift incorporation of web 2.0 tools into classroom learning.

He talked about tools that make students (and teachers) engage their thinking skills, such as blogs, podcasts, wikis, and discussion forums. He then took it one step further to talk about tools that encourage creation, such as social bookmarking sites, video and photo sharing sites, online writer’s workshops and fan fiction sites, and mash-ups. Lastly, Dede talked about combining all of those skill sets to engage in “sharing and doing” through social networking sites, such as Facebook and MySpace, as well as through collaborative social change communities like Idealist and Kiva.

This blogger believes web 2.0 tools offer great opportunities for 21st century educators to link our educational goals for our students, that they be creators, problem-solvers, innovators, and communicators, with contemporary digital tools available at little or no cost which our digital native students are already ready and eager to use.    (And the homepage at Harvard’s GSE for Chris Dede is very intriguing; I’d like to learn more about him and his work, including a paper he has written entitled “Transforming Education for the 21st c.”)

Another report from FETC by the Dig.Ed. bloggers share their learning about the critical movers in ed.tech within each school or district:  “how essential it is to have a supportive superintendent who is open to learning more about educational technology and investing in it. Having the superintendent on board with technology programs and initiatives, all three administrators agreed, was the first step in moving forward.”  Inasmuch as an independent school head holds a role analagous to that of superintendent , this school head and blogger appreciates the point.

A third nice entry at the Mazano and Ash blog summarizes a Purdue U. report, documenting that students learn and master technology and engineering more effectively when doing so by hands-on projects rather than “traditional textbook and lecture.”   The news hardly seems surprising, but it is also gratifying to hear.

Thumbs up for the Digitial Ed. Blog.