Web 2.0 is a term used to describe the function of the internet and internet sites where there is an emphasis on collaboration and sharing to create websites, rather than a static display that only the website owner can change. Collaborators can create, share, publish, connect and influence everybody and anybody. As you can imagine, there are some powerful applications for Web 2.0 tools in teaching and learning. The rise of Web 2.0 has facilitated the phenomenon of ‘Social Networking’ – Facebook, My Space, You Tube, Twitter and so on. There are a number of different Web 2.0 tools which can be used for educational purposes.
These tools include (with links to examples):
Blogs – Short for weblogs, blogs allow a linear updating of entries in a chronological order. Students can use blogs to keep a study journal or to explain what they have learned each day.
Microblogs – The same as a blog, only with less characters. Think Twitter. Students can use Twitter to share ideas in a group task through the economic use of words and use of images
Instant Messaging – Users can type text back and forward in a real time conversation. Four students working on a group task can use IM to collaborate in real time in four different locations.
Forums – After a topic is presented, forum users can add replies to the topic or new threads to go off on conversational tangents. A teacher can set a forum topic question, and each student can respond with text, images and web links
Wikis – People power in action. Wiki is Hawaiian for fast , and is an encyclopedic resource in which anyone can edit the information displayed. Wikis are used in education to allow students to collaboratively develop definitions and build knowledge of different topics.
RSS Feeds – Really Simple Syndication. RSS feeds allow users to automatically be updated with the latest news from selected websites. Students can have RSS feeds from news providers to keep up to date with contemporary topics being covered in SOSE.
Social Bookmarks – Diigo and Delicious are the two most popular online social bookmarking sites that allow people to save their bookmarks from any computer in the world, as well as highlight and add sticky notes to webpages and share saved webpages. An awesome study and research tool for students, who can locate, annotate and share valuable information from anywhere in the world.
Etherpad – So good that it was bought by Google, Etherpad allows for 2 or more people to be adding text to an online page at the same time from different computers. Students can work collaboratively to build research content ubiquitously.
Tags – Key words that are applied to content and used to search for information. Think Google search. Generating effective tags for describing and searching websites and documents is a great skill for students to possess. Tagclouds can be generated from the text of websites to show the most commonly used terms.