Socially contructed learning spaces rather than instructional technology

I have been thinking about the terms "instructional technology" and "learning technology." They are often used interchangeably by many, includinig myself.  Doing so blurs their distinctions. I have implemented a number of Web 2.0 learning tools within my class: wiki web pages, podcasts, self-create music vidoes on a history topic, etc. Yesterday Brian Fredrickson and I facilitated a conference session on "Social media and learning spaces in schools, work sites, and communities." It was at MinneBar with over 1,000 in attendance. We had a great discussion and many within the audience shared how they use Web 2.0 for learning purposes.

Over the past couple of years, I now understand that my role is creating and facilitating "learning spaces" within the classroom so that students are active participants and co-creators of the class experience and learning outcomes. It is really not about which Web 2.0 technology tool or services that is used, it is the engagement and co-creation by students that makes the difference. It reminded me about the classic Barr and Tagg article from the mid 1990s that identified the shift from a teacher-dirven to a student collaborator learning environment within the classroom.

Barr, R. B., & Tagg, J. (1995). From teaching to learning: A new paradigm for undergraduate education. Change Magazine, 27(6), 13-25. Retrieved July 4, 2004, from:

This is one of the most often cited articles on this topic and is credited by some as helping to influence higher education significantly since it was published in a journal that is frequently read by college presidents and chief academic and student affair officers. According to the authors, a paradigm shift is occurring in American higher education. Under the traditional, dominant "Instruction Paradigm," colleges are institutions that exist to provide instruction. Subtly but profoundly, however, a "Learning Paradigm" is taking hold, whereby colleges are institutions that exist to produce learning. This shift is both needed and wanted, and it changes everything. The writers provided a detailed matrix to compare the old instruction paradigm with the new learning paradigm in the following dimensions: mission and purposes; criteria for success; teaching/learning structures; learning theory; productivity/funding; and nature of roles.