This post provides an introduction to Web 2.0 to students and teachers who are
not too sure of what it is all about. This discusses How and why web 2.0 is different to traditional web?, What are the traditional and new approaches to elearning? and How can you start a blog, wiki, photosharing, social networking for free?
Traditional Approach to E-learning (Online learning)
- computer-based training of the 1980s – use of single or few computers for learning
- Static content web sites – Documents or multi-media made available for download or streaming.
- Dynamic content web sites – Database-backed websites providing information tailored to the viewers particular requirements. Eg: www.environmentlanka.com
- Eg. MIT Open Courseware – MIT web site gives away course materials, including syllabi, lectures, assignments and reading materials free.
free and open educational resource (OER) for educators, students, and self-learners around the world.
Course Management Systems (CMS)
This has been the traditional approach to e-learning, where web application runs on a server and Students can access the system from anywhere with an internet connection. This is an easy way to upload course materials, hold online discussions, chats, give quizzes.
Eg. Moodle – This is a Free and Open Source CMS. Go to our Moodle operated site at www.cometolanka.com/learn
Web 2.0 – New approach to web
Traditional web involves merely browsing the internet after searching the contents through the search engines. However the Web 2.0 sites provide user generated content. Now users can contribute and shape the content of the web by means of blog posts, podcasts, wikis, sharing photos and videos.
The term web 2.0 has various definitions. It is widely used to describe second generation of web applications focus on enabling people to collaborate and share information online. The new web is based on communication between users, where Open sharing of information occurs.
E-learning 2.0 – New approach to eLearning
This is a term coined by Stephen Downes. This involves use of tools and web services – such as blogs, wikis, and other social software – to support the creation of learning communities. Some of the web 2.0 and e-learning 2.0 technologies are described below
This is called Rich Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication, which allows users to subscribe to websites that provide RSS feeds such as blogs and news sites. When new content is added, a software program called an aggregator automatically pulls in the feeds.
Common news aggregator is Bloglines at www.bloglines.com
Educational applications of RSS Feeds
- Professional Development
– keep-up-to-date on a wide variety of subjects from leading experts in the field. You get closer to the leading edge of what is going on the particular field.
- Time Saving
– You can track more information in a shorter period of time. Now you do not have to spend a large amount of time surfing the internet for topic specific content.
- Information coming from contrasting sources
– You could subscribe to feeds from different parts of the news world about a current event in the news to compare and contrast the information and/or to check to see if there were any biases.
- Sharing what you are doing with other educators
– Any teacher can share information with thousands of other teachers using a blog or webpage with RSS technology.
These are Web sites that can be collaboratively updated using only a web browser. These sites enable group development of ideas and information sources.
Eg Wikipedia (http://wikipedia.org).
You can start your own wiki for your class for free at www.wikispaces.com Check our wkisite for keyskills course at keyskills.wikispaces.com
Blogging – web log publishing
Blog is an abbreviated version of “weblog“. These are website that contains diary- type written material, links or photos being posted all the time, usually by one individual, on a personal basis. Blogging is increasingly used in education (both in school and university), because it is easy to publish. Blobs facilitate feedback, by letting readers add comments.
You can obtain a free blog for your class at Blogger.com or wordpress.com
Visit our blogs to see how they are working:
Forestry students blog which contains B.Sc. Forestry student seminar abstracts
Forestry and Environment Symposium 2005 – abstracts of research papers
By podcasts you can distribute audio files on the web. This has become a popular technology in education, because it provides a way of distributing educational content to learners.
To listen and download Podcasts, you need iPod software. You can download it at www.apple.com/itunes. After you install this software in your desktop goto iTunes Music Store from within iTunes and then click on Podcasts. Then you can browse and subscribe to lots of free podcasts.
Photo sharing and Video sharing
You can share your photos with others using flickr.com. Using this site you can publish digital photography to a wider audience.
This is also a valuable resource for images for use in presentations and in learning materials. Commenting function here allows for feedback.
Check our photos at http://www.flickr.com/photos/environmentlanka/
Similarly your videos can be shared using www.youtube.com or videos.google.com
Social Bookmarking – Find new web sites
Search engines like Google can find material using keywords. However, social bookmarking sites help you to find things that you never knew existing, but wished you did. These sites allow users to highlight their best sites by sharing bookmarks. These provide you the collective intelligence of other users to find great sites.