Posts Tagged Web 2.0

Web 2.0 – Brief Description

Web 2.0 is a term that is coming up quite frequently in the world of eLearning.  It is a term that is used to describe the way the internet has evolved into an interactive resource.  Web 2.0 is the “second generation” of the web.  The internet was historically used as a one way resource for simply absorbing information.  It is now more about interaction and information sharing.  Instead of being passive audience members, users are now active contributors.

For example, a typical Web 1.0 activity may have been reading an article online about kangaroos.  There would be text and images about kangaroos, links to other sites and even an embedded movie.  A typical Web 2.0 activity may involve be going to a site such as Wikipedia where you can read about kangaroos, add, edit and correct an article about kangaroos, join an online forum about protecting kangaroos, write a blog about Kangaroo Island, upload a YouTube video of a kangaroo you filmed on a road trip, follow the Twitter feed of a kangaroo researcher in the Northern Territory and collaborate on a Mindomo mind map about native animals with a class from Mozambique.  This interactivity has given rise to the term ‘read-write web’.

At Coomera Anglican College, we are trying to embrace the educationally productive qualities of the web 2.0 revolution.  Examples of this include the use of class blogs, biology forums, peer evaluation via galleries of student work and Voki avatars translating English to Chinese.

There are literally hundreds of free online tools designed to support the web 2.0 paradigm.  They will usually provide alternative methods for existing tasks and applications.  For example, we all know how to create a PowerPoint presentation, and it is easy for students to default back to using PowerPoint to present their work.  Also, PowerPoint 2010 is an extremely powerful piece of software.  However, there are other options that can perform a similar function online.  Such applications include Prezi, Empressr, Zoho Show, AuthorStream  and PreZentit.  Most of these allow you to add multimedia and special effects and import your PowerPoint slides.  You can then email or embed the presentation to share it.

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What is Web 2.0?

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.

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