Web 2.0 technologies: An innovative teaching Method

Introduction

Today’s world is a world of technology and education is not indifferent to it. We always suggest our teachers to use ICT in education. However, use of ICT in education depends on availability of hardware/software as well as the knowledge of effective use of this hardware/software. It can be said that the first part related to infrastructure is beginning to reach to the schools due to intervention of SSA, ICT@schools project and various other government interventions. However, there is a need to concentrate on second part related to effective use of ICT in education, which depends upon proper training. Normally, teachers have often been provided with inadequate training for this task.

Faced with these challenges, how can teachers integrate technology into their teaching? An approach is needed that treats teaching as an interaction between what teachers know and how they apply what they know in the unique circumstances or contexts within their classrooms. There is no “one best way” to integrate technology into curriculum. Rather, integration efforts should be creatively designed or structured for particular subject matter ideas in specific classroom contexts. Honouring the idea, that teaching with technology is a complex, ill-structured task; approaches to successful technology integration require.

At the heart of good teaching with technology are three core components: content, pedagogy, and technology, plus the relationships among and between them. The interactions between and among the three components, playing out differently across diverse contexts, account for the wide variations seen in the extent and quality of educational technology integration. These three knowledge bases (content, pedagogy, and technology) form the core of the technology, pedagogy, and content knowledge (TPCK) framework.

Nowadays with the invention of web 2.0 technology, this is also not a big issue. Web 2.0 technology opened the doors to create potential multimedia content at various platforms easily and free of cost.

 

What is web 2.0 technology?

Web 1.0 was read-only or static where internet users went online to find information. With Web 2.0, which is read/write or dynamic, people have become active participants and content creators. They not only find information on the Internet, but they also create and share content. The term Web 2.0 was coined in 1999 to describe web sites that use technology beyond the static pages of earlier web sites. It is closely associated with Tim O’Reilly because of the O’Reilly Media Web 2.0 conference, which was held in late 2004. A Web 2.0 site may allow users to interact and collaborate with each other in a social media dialogue as creators of user-generated content in a virtual community, in contrast to websites where people are limited to the passive viewing of content.

Web 2.0 websites allow users to do more than just retrieve information. By increasing what was already possible in “Web 1.0”, they provide the user with more user-interface, software and storage facilities, all through their browser. This has been called “network as platform” computing. Web 2.0 technologies have allowed users to easily publish content online and to connect and network with other people from all over the world who have similar interests. The use of tags particularly enables us to collectively categorize and find content easily. Concisely, Web 2.0 could be characterized by openness, user participation, knowledge sharing, social networking and collaboration, user-created content, and folksonomy (Alexander, 2006; Brown & Adler, 2008; Downes, 2005; Thompson, 2007; Richardson, 2009). Popular examples of Web 2.0 include social networking sites, blogs, wikis, video sharing sites, social bookmarking, etc.

Web 2.0 technologies in teaching and learning

Web 2.0 technologies provide teachers with new ways to engage students, and even allow student participation on a global level. By allowing students to use the technology tools of Web 2.0, teachers are giving students the opportunity to share what they learn with peers. Web 2.0 calls for major shifts in the way education is provided for students. One of the biggest shifts that Will Richardson points out in his book Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms is the fact that education should be collaboratively constructed. This means that students, in a Web 2.0 classroom, are expected to collaborate with their peers. By making the shift to a Web 2.0 classroom, teachers are creating a more open atmosphere where students are expected to stay engaged and participate in class discussions. In fact, there are many ways for educators to use Web 2.0 technologies in their classrooms.

Web 2.0 technologies have “blurred the line between producers and consumers of content and has shifted attention from access to information toward access to other people” (Brown & Adler, 2008, p. 18). Emphasizing a participatory culture, Web 2.0 technologies encourage and enable teachers and learners to share ideas and collaborate in innovative ways. They also force educators to rethink the way we teach and learn and to transform our education practices so that we can support more active and meaningful learning that involves “learning to be” as well as “learning about.”   

Web 2.0 has the potential to create more interactive and powerful learning environments in which learners become knowledge creators, producers, editors, and evaluators (Richardson, 2009). Learners’ critical thinking skills can be enhanced through the opportunity to regularly compare their own contributions to those of their peers, and the affirmation of their relative standing in the class may be powerful motivation for learning (Hurlburt, 2008).

Thus, Web 2.0 technologies has the ability to “support active and social learning, provide opportunities and venues for student publication, provide opportunities to provide effective and efficient feedback to learners, and provide opportunities to scaffold learning in the student’s Zone of Proximal Development” (Hartshorne & Ajjan, 2009; Vygotsky, 1978). In addition, Web 2.0 provides numerous opportunities for social interactions and collaboration among students, teachers, subject matter experts, professionals in different fields, as well as a host of others with related interests.

  • Benefits of using web 2.0 technologies in teaching

The major benefits of using Web 2.0 technologies in teaching include (1) interaction, communication and collaboration, (2) knowledge creation, (3) ease of use and flexibility, and (4) writing and technology skills.

1. Interaction, communication and collaboration: using Web 2.0 technologies in teaching helps to build a sense of community, increases interaction and communication among the instructor, students, and other people, and promotes collaboration and resource sharing.

  • If used correctly, they can help develop a better sense of connectivity between students and teachers and afford students opportunities to connect and communicate with classmates and resources throughout the world.
  • They reduce the distance between teacher and students.
  • Students learn about new ways of collaboration.
  • Students and teachers see learning as a more social process. It’s not just the book and yourself; its collaborative meaning making.

2. Knowledge creation: Web 2.0 technologies enable students to become creators of knowledge. Web 2.0 technologies give students the opportunity to create content themselves instead of just listening to lectures, and this supports active and student-centred learning in which students take responsibility for their learning. Web 2.0 technologies create an environment where a teacher becomes a facilitator of learning rather than a distributor of knowledge. 

3. Ease of use and flexibility: Web 2.0 tools are easy-to-use and flexible. They remove time constraints by providing a more flexible learning environment that is not inhibited to classroom walls.

4. Writing and technology skills: use of Web 2.0 technologies help students to become more proficient in writing and in the application of technology.

In addition to above four major benefits, using Web 2.0 technologies helps teachers understand a little more about the world of their students, and motivates the students. After discussing about meaning of web 2.0 technologies and there benefits, it’s time now to discuss about few such technologies.

  • Key Web 2.0 services/applications

There are number of Web-based services and applications that demonstrate the foundations of the Web 2.0 concept, and they are already being used to a certain extent in education. These are not really technologies as such, but services (or user processes) built using the building blocks of the technologies and open standards that underpin the Internet and the Web. As discussed earlier, these include blogs, wikis, multimedia sharing services, content syndication, podcasting and content tagging services. Many of these applications of Web technology are relatively mature, having been in use for a number of years, although new features and capabilities are being added on a regular basis.

* indicates an open source or other, similar, community or public-spirited project.

Blogs

The term web-log, or blog, was coined by Jorn Barger in 1997 and refers to a simple webpage consisting of brief paragraphs of opinion, information, personal diary entries, or links, called posts, arranged chronologically with the most recent first, in the style of an online journal (Doctorow et al., 2002). Most blogs also allow visitors to add a comment below a blog entry.

This posting and commenting process contributes to the nature of blogging (as an exchange of views) in what Yale University law professor, Yochai Benkler, calls a ‘weighted conversation’ between a primary author and a group of secondary comment contributors, who communicate to an unlimited number of readers. It also contributes to blogging’s sense of immediacy, since ‘blogs enable individuals to write to their Web pages in journalism time – that is hourly, daily, weekly – whereas the Web page culture that preceded it tended to be slower moving: less an equivalent of reportage than of the essay’ (Benkler, 2006, p. 217).

Each post is usually ‘tagged’ with a keyword or two, allowing the subject of the post to be categorized within the system so that when the post becomes old it can be filed into a standard, theme-based menu system. Clicking on a post’s description, or tag (which is displayed below the post), will take you to a list of other posts by the same author on the blogging software’s system that use the same tag.

Well-known or education-based blogs: 

http://radar.oreilly.com/

http://www.techcrunch.com/

http://www.instapundit.com/

http://blogs.warwick.ac.uk/*

Software:

http://wordpress.org/

http://www.sixapart.com/typepad/

http://www.blogger.com/start

http://radio.userland.com/

http://www.bblog.com/

Blog search services:

http://technorati.com/

http://www.gnosh.org/

http://blogsearch.google.com/

http://www.weblogs.com/about.html


Multimedia sharing

One of the biggest growth areas has been amongst services that facilitate the storage and sharing of multimedia content. Well known examples include YouTube (video), Flickr (photographs) and Odeo (podcasts). These popular services take the idea of the ‘writeable’ Web (where users are not just consumers but contribute actively to the production of Web content) and enable it on a massive scale. Literally millions of people now participate in the sharing and exchange of these forms of media by producing their own podcasts, videos and photos. This development has only been made possible through the widespread adoption of high quality, but relatively low cost digital media technology such as hand-held video cameras.

Well known photo sharing services: 

http://www.flickr.com/

http://www.ourpictures.com ;

http://www.snapfish.com/

http://www.fotki.com/

Well known video sharing services: 

http://www.youtube.com/ 

http://www.getdemocracy.com/broadcast/ 

http://eyespot.com/

http://ourmedia.org/  *

http://vsocial.com

http://www.videojug.com/

Audio blogging and Podcasting

Podcasts are audio recordings, usually in MP3 format, of talks, interviews and lectures, which can be played either on a desktop computer or on a wide range of handheld MP3 devices. Originally called audio blogs they have their roots in efforts to add audio streams to early blogs (Felix and Stolarz, 2006). Once standards had settled down and Apple introduced the commercially successful iPod MP3 player and its associated iTunes software, the process started to become known as podcasting. This term is not without some controversy since it implies that only the Apple iPod will play these files, whereas, in fact, any MP3 player or PC with the requisite software can be used. A more recent development is the introduction of video podcasts (sometimes shortened to vidcast or vodcast): the online delivery of video-on-demand clips that can be played on a PC, or again on a suitable handheld player (the more recent versions of the Apple iPod for example, provide for video playing).

A podcast is made by creating an MP3 format audio file (using a voice recorder or similar device), uploading the file to a host server, and then making the world aware of its existence through the use of RSS (Rich Site Summary). This process (known as enclosure) adds a URL link to the audio file, as well as directions to the audio file’s location on the host server, into the RSS file (Patterson, 2006).

Podcast listeners subscribe to the RSS feeds and receive information about new podcasts as they become available. Distribution is therefore relatively simple. The harder part, as those who listen to many podcasts know, is to produce a good quality audio file. Podcasting is becoming increasingly used in education (Brittain et al., 2006; Ractham and Zhang, 2006) and recently there have been moves to establish a UK HE podcasting community.

Well known podcasting sites:

http://btpodshow.com/

http://www.audblog.com/

http://odeo.com/

http://www.ourmedia.org/ 

http://connect.educause.edu/ *

http://juicereceiver.sourceforge.net/index.php 

http://www.impala.ac.uk/ 

http://www.law.dept.shef.ac.uk/podcasts/ *

Tagging and social bookmarking

A tag is a keyword that is added to a digital object (e.g. a website, picture or video clip) to describe it, but not as part of a formal classification system. One of the first large-scale applications of tagging was seen with the introduction of Joshua Schacter’s del.icio.us website, which launched the ‘social bookmarking’ phenomenon.

Social bookmarking systems share a number of common features (Millen et al., 2005): They allow users to create lists of ‘bookmarks’ or ‘favourites’, to store these centrally on a remote service (rather than within the client browser) and to share them with other users of the system (the ‘social’ aspect). These bookmarks can also be tagged with keywords, and an important difference from the ‘folder’- based categorization used in traditional, browser-based bookmark lists is that a bookmark can belong in more than one category. Using tags, a photo of a tree could be categorized with both ‘tree’ and ‘larch’, for example.

The concept of tagging has been widened far beyond website bookmarking, and services like Flickr (photos), YouTube (video) and Odeo (podcasts) allow a variety of digital artefacts to be socially tagged. For example, the BBC’s Shared Tags project is an experimental service that allows members of the public to tag BBC News online items. A particularly important example within the context of higher education is Richard Cameron’s CiteULike, a free service to help academics to store, organize and share the academic papers they are reading. When you see a paper on the Web that interests you, you click a button and add it to your personal library. CiteULike automatically extracts the citation details, so you do not have to type them in.

The idea of tagging has been expanded to include what are called tag clouds: groups of tags (tag sets) from a number of different users of a tagging service, which collates information about the frequency with which particular tags are used. This frequency information is often displayed graphically as a ‘cloud’ in which tags with higher frequency of use are displayed in larger text.

Examples of tagging services:

http://www.connotea.org/ 

http://www.citeulike.org/

http://www.librarything.com/ 

http://del.icio.us/ 

http://www.sitebar.org 

http://www.furl.net/index.jsp 

http://www.stumbleupon.com/ 

http://www.blinklist.com/ 

http://www.digg.com/ 

http://www.rawsugar.com

http://del.icio.us/elearningfocus/web2.0 *


Wikis

A wiki is a webpage or set of webpages that can be easily edited by anyone who is allowed access (Ebersbach et al., 2006). Wikipedia’s popular success has meant that the concept of the wiki, as a collaborative tool that facilitates the production of a group work, is widely understood. Wiki pages have an edit button displayed on the screen and the user can click on this to access an easy-to-use online editing tool to change or even delete the contents of the page in question. Simple, hypertext-style linking between pages is used to create a navigable set of pages.

Unlike blogs, wikis generally have a history function, which allows previous versions to be examined, and a rollback function, which restores previous versions. Proponents of the power of wikis cite the ease of use (even playfulness) of the tools, their extreme flexibility and open access as some of the many reasons why they are useful for group working (Ebersbach et al., 2006; Lamb, 2004).

Examples of wikis:

http://wiki.oss-watch.ac.uk/*

http://wikieducator.org/Main_Page

http://wikispaces.com/

http://wiki.cetis.ac.uk/CETIS_Wiki

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page

http://www.ch.ic.ac.uk/wiki/index.php/Main_Page

http://www.wikihow.com

Software: 

http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/MediaWiki

http://www.socialtext.com/products/overview

http://www.twiki.org/http://uniwakka.sourceforge.net/HomePage

Online notes on using wikis in education: 

http://www.wikiineducation.com/display/ikiw/Home*


Social Networking

Professional and social networking sites that facilitate meeting people, finding like minds, sharing content, uses ideas from harnessing the power of the crowd, network effect and individual production/user generated content. Nowadays Facebook is very popular in India as well as in other countries also. These sites can be used to create groups, pages, events, polls, etc, which are very useful in education.

Professional networking: 

http://www.siphs.com/aboutus.jsp

https://www.linkedin.com/

http://www.zoominfo.com/ 

Social networking:

www.myspace.com

www.facebook.com

http://fo.rtuito.us/

https://twitter.com/

http://www.spock.com/

http://www.flock.com/

http://www.bebo.com/

CMS

Content Management System (CMS) is a computer program that allows publishingediting and modifying content as well as maintenance from a central interface. Such systems of content management provide procedures to manage workflow in a collaborative environment. These procedures can be manual steps or an automated cascade.

The first content management system (CMS) was announced at the end of the 1990s. This CMS was designed to simplify the complex task of writing numerous versions of code and to make the website development process more flexible. CMS platforms allow users to centralize data editing, publishing and modification on a single back-end interface. CMS platforms are often used as blog software.

The core function of content management systems is to present information on web sites. CMS features vary widely from system to system. Simple systems display a handful of features, while other releases, notably enterprise systems, offer more complex and powerful functions. Most CMS include Web-based publishing, format management, revision control (version control), indexing, search, and retrieval. The CMS increments the version number when new updates are added to an already-existing file. A CMS may serve as a central repository containing documents, movies, pictures, phone numbers, and scientific data. CMSs can be used for storing, controlling, revising, semantically enriching and publishing documentation.

http://www.adaptcms.com/

http://b2evolution.net/

http://www.bedita.com/

http://www.cmsmadesimple.org/

http://www.cmsimple.org/

http://drupal.org/

http://www.joomla.org/

http://www.mamboserver.com/

http://www.tcexam.org/


Document sharing and self-publishing platform

The expansion of the Internet in recent years has provided web users with a robust platform for content sharing -- whether it be files, documents, music or videos, among others. Like never before, the Internet has provided professionals and everyday users alike with the ability to send and receive information quickly and easily.

http://www.calameo.com/

http://www.slideshare.net/

http://www.scribd.com/

http://www.docuter.com/

http://www.wepapers.com/

https://www.zoho.com/rip/zohoshare-eof.html

http://www.edocr.com/

 

Free websites

Although the modern Internet community is moving towards social networks and clouds, there is still some space for traditional free web hosting that enables to publish a custom web page, or custom blog, or other “manually” build website on the web at absolutely no cost.

http://www.webs.com/

http://www.wix.com/

http://www.biz.nf/

http://www.freehostingeu.com/

http://www.biz.ly/

http://www.freehostia.com/index2.html

http://byethost.com/

http://www.x10hosting.com/

https://www.yola.com/pricing?cid=CJ20035

The above web 2.0 technologies are few of the popular web 2.0 technologies. If one, wish to know more such technologies need to visit following sites-

http://pinterest.com/esheninger/web-2-0-tools-for-educators/

http://edudemic.com/2011/11/best-web-tools/

References:

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