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Using Web 2.0 tools for learning

March 4th, 2010 by Graham Attwell

The EU funded Politics project is using a web based story telling process to encourage ypoung people to explore politcial involvement and develop their own ideas around politica;l issues and events.

The project intends to use social software and Web 2.0 software to develop learning pathways for participants in six different European countries.  One of the first tasks for the project has been to produce a report on Web 2.0 tools for learning. The report has been  written by Pontydysgu intern student Jo Turner Attwell, and and is based on previous work by Jenny Hughes in the handbook on Teachers Aids on Creating Content for Learning Environments (available for free download on the Taccle website) together with more recent materials posted on the Chalkface section of this web site.

You can read the introduction to the report below and download the full (14 page) version of the paper in ODT and Doc format at the bottom of this page.

Technologies are changing very fast. Up until recently Learning Management Systems – systems that help to organise and administer learning programmes for students and store and organise learning materials seemed to be the most important technology for creating and managing content. But since then, we have seen an explosion in the use of social networking applications like blogs and wikis, as part of what has been called Web 2.0. These are tools that make it very easy for people to create their own content in different forms – text, pictures, audio and video. POLITICS aims to provide Web 2.0 tools to enhance the learning experience achieved within the development of the participants own Politics story. The project hopes to improve the participants knowledge of Politics in their country of residence by leading them through a Webquest type pathway.  Embedding these tools into a platform designed to allow communication between participants and collection of resources helps to create opportunities for tasks inspiring creativity within these pathways.

There are currently a wide range of web2.0 tools and programmes, particularly those that are useful in a pedagogical way. Many of these tools are already widely used, such as the microblogging tool twitter, or the video sharing tool youtube. Some systems are simply designed for the sharing of content such as Flickr or Slideshare, however some social networking sites go a step further. Videothreads or PB wiki allows deeper interaction as people can add and contribute to the information or work already there. This means content can be created and edited collaboratively online.

Some of the applications listed below are specifically for creating content, for example, authoring tools, or for storing and sharing materials you and your students have created. Others, like online messaging tools, are essentially designed as tools for communication. Some can serve both purposes, for example blogs. However, it is increasingly difficult to draw a line between them. A Skype text message about the weather may be no more than a simple social exchange between two people but group text chats on Skype by members of a community of practice discussing their ideas can create a rich learning resource. It seems a fairly pointless academic exercise to try and differentiate between them. They are all useful tools and applications for teachers so we are including both.

odt version

Review of existing web20 tools25-1

Doc version

Review of existing web20 tools25-1

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