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Holy Family University

The New Learning Ways to Education: Web 2.0 Senior Seminar in Communications

Valery Cadet

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Valery Cadet Fall 2010 Senior Seminar in Communications Instructor: Dr. Fran Pelham

The New Learning Ways to Education: Web 2.0

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Valery Cadet

Senior Seminar in Communications The New learning ways to Education: Web 2.0 When a new school year almost begins, many teachers and students are seeking new products and technologies to help them through their upcoming academics. With the increase of teachers using blogs and wikis, and students networking and utilizing online tools, the demand for easier and more efficient ways of learning is on the rise. To me, the growing interest for webbased learning is amazing, which brought me to thinking; what if I were to consolidate some of the helpful online products and services that can help students, teachers and administrators alike? The following is a compilation of Web 2.0 products that I’ve personally researched and tested. These services are grouped into three main categories: Tool, Office Applications and educational blogging. What is Web 2.0? Such services thereby encourage internet users to participate in various communities of knowledge building and knowledge sharing. This has been made possible by the ever-extending reach of the (world wide) 'web'. Meanwhile, navigating and exploring this web of knowledge has been greatly facilitated by the increased functionality of the web 'browser'. The browser has thereby become the network reading/display tool that offers a universal point of engagement with the Web. More than that it 4


has become a platform for using a wide range of digital tools and taking part in a wide range of community interactions.

Much

of what Web 2.0 involves individual users coordinating with others. Sometimes this is crafted with careful intent and creative skill. Web 2.0 educational products

Part 1: Tools Gradebooks Teacher! (Teachers): Teacher, formerly known as Teacherly, is an online grading tool for teachers where they can create classes, add students, and track grades for all assignments and test scores. I would imagine it would work out fine for students as well wanting to track their own grades in classes. Unfortunately, Teacher is not accepting new users at this time but you can signup to be notified when they do and check out a demo in the meantime. Chalksite (Teachers): Designed for teacher, student, and parent communication, Chalksite provides teachers with online gradebooks where they select their class and simply fill in grades for each assignment that they have sent to their students. Students and parents can then login to their account to view their grades. Engrade (Teachers): The Engrade online gradebook is built to be flexible to a teachers needs where they can add assignments, create weighted grading categories, customize grading scales (A, B, C, Pass, Fail, etc.), and more. Students and parents can also login and view their grade report. Learning and Research EasyBib: An “automatic bibliography composer” that let’s users enter sources and fills out simple forms to be given MLA style bibliographies. I’ve used this multiple times in the past for research papers. Wikipedia: Wikipedia is a collaborative encyclopedia under a Wiki platform that is written and maintained by volunteers. It has possibly grown to be today’s largest reference site and encyclopedia on the Internet.

Media Sharing YouTube: YouTube has quickly grown to be one of the most popular websites on the Internet. I personally use it for entertainment, although you can find a great deal of educational videos as well 5


as create an account to upload your own videos for free. Students can research the site (may come across inappropriate content here and there) and even create projects with video and share them on the web. Google Video: Similar to YouTube, Google Video allows users to search, upload, and share videos online for free. I’m a fan of YouTube, but Google comes on top when it comes to quality educational videos. Google Video even has an educational category providing hour long videos and caption/subtitled videos (new). That about does it for part one of the series.

Part 2: Office Applications I will cover web-based alternatives to desktop office applications including: word processing, presentations, diagrams, spreadsheets, and more. Google Docs: Online Word Processor allowing users to create and edit documents collaboratively online, import Word documents, publicly or privately share documents, publishes to a blog, and more. Zoho Writer: Similar to Google docs, Zoho Writer is an Online Word Processor where you can create, share, and collaborate on documents. Users can also publish to a blog, import and export documents, and make documents public. Presentations SlideShare: Great new service, currently available by invitation only, that consists of a YouTube-like site for PowerPoint and OpenOffice presentations displaying presentations through Flash players. Users can even place the Flash presentation players on their own websites. I’ve been waiting for a site similar to this for some time now; perfect for students and educators wanting to store presentations online for sharing and receiving feedback. Spreadsheets Google Spreadsheets: Create, store and share spreadsheets on the web. Includes real time editing and chatting with others as well as import and export options. Google Spreadsheets is my webbased spreadsheet application of choice, although on the negative side, it does not provide

Part 3: Educational Blogging During the last few weeks I have researched possible scenarios and real case studies of Web 2.0 in education in hopes to show 6


others where we are with today’s education and where it could be. This part covers educational blogging, photo sharing, educational podcasting, wikis, video sharing, Web 2.0 courses, School 2.0, and more. Blogging has quickly become one of the most effective learning tools in education today. It introduces students with new methods of communicating, improving their writing, and helps motivate them to find their voice. In blogging, there are no set standards, no boundaries, no restrictions confining you to conform your thoughts to any given set of rules and regulations. You don’t have to worry about getting points taken off for not using the default: 12 point font size, Times New Roman, with 1” margins. You can write freely, and at your own pace. Also, bloggers can gain an audience from their writing. Unlike a school paper, blog posts can receive feedback from students, teachers, parents, and ultimately, anyone in the world.

Things I’ve noticed with student blogs (Observations) I also found that students became so attached to their blogs that they made it a responsibility to keep consistent. When they found they have been lacking in posts or that they haven’t been instructed to post for class in in a while, they would often apologize and feel as though they deserted their readers. It’s pretty interesting, although expected, to see that kind of connection with students and their blogs. Also, I see that many students refer to other posts by other students in their writing, but do not appear to take advantage of trackback or pingback functionality. I personally feel it is essential that all bloggers understand the use of trackback technology, especially in this scenario, as it makes for communication outside of normal commenting. Not only that, it feels very rewarding receiving a trackback. So, I want to explain briefly how it works and what it means. In simplistic terms, you make a pingback by linking to the post that you are referring to in your post. This will notify the writer of the blog, adding a pingback “comment” to their post automatically, in turn continuing conversation. This is a great way for students to communicate back and forth rather than only commenting. If they have something to say and feel it’s worth a post rather then a comment, pingback or trackback it.

Photo Sharing with Flickr Flickr is a free photo sharing site which has made its way into education providing teachers and students with an easy way to upload and share photos on the web. Students can search for photos to help with research and projects and educators can upload photos for classes, school events, and so on. I can also 7


see Flickr being used in photography classes allowing students to keep an organized collection of their work, share their photos with the world, and receive commentary from viewers and classmates. And who knows? Maybe all it takes is a comment or a couple views of a students work to inspire and motivate them in continuing with photography. One feature to take advantage of is Flickr’s photo annotation, or note functionality. In short, it allows you to add boxes around specific parts of a photo which you can add notes to. For example, if something was hard to make out in the background of a photo, one could place a note around it to explain what it is. What’s more is that other users can annotate your own photos. Say you are a teacher and you uploaded an art piece that you want your students to critique. Have them browse to the art piece and add notes around parts they want to comment on.

Educational Podcasting Podcasting is a powerful medium that many educators and students are beginning to pick up that not only delivers rich educational content, but enhances student/teacher communication. As I student, I would be able to download educational content and take it around with me where ever I go. I could also download daily lessons and school news created by educators. Likewise, I can produce my own podcast and publish it for the teacher, classmates, and the world to hear.

Wikipedia While researching about wikis in education, I came across a Wikipedia article for educators called, “Schools’ FAQ,” covering the ins and outs of Wikipedia and how schools can benefit using Wikipedia. The article led me to Wikipedia’s School and University Projects, which I found to be very interesting. In short, Wikipedia encourages teachers and professors to use Wikipedia in their classes providing students with hands on exercises involving editing and publishing content on Wikipedia. Wikipedia suggests that students participate in exercises such as working on existing or requested articles; linking orphaned articles to appropriate places; fixing spelling, factual, grammatical, and other errors in articles; and even translating articles from other languages. It’s a great idea and is beneficial to both the student and Wikipedia. Students can learn about the topic as well as improve on their writing while Wikipedia gains more content. Wikipedia even provides teachers with a syllabus boilerplate to hand out to their students. If you are a teacher, think about giving it a try with your class, maybe as a project. I feel it would be a very perceptible and comprehendible variation of learning. I will also add that these projects may be more suitable for college and university students rather than K-12 students.

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To many school systems, believe that video sharing sites are evil. They are blocked from students in an attempt to hide noneducational material and explicit content. Well I say, big mistake! I will admit, I have seen many hilarious, pointless, painful, and explicit videos on video sharing sites, but I can also say that I have learned a whole lot from them. Google Video offers some of the best educational videos you can find on the Internet. You can pull up their educational category and search for specific topics; watch hour long NOVA videos (highly recommend – I’ve watched many of these during my free time. Additionally, YouTube offers a new service called YouTube College where students can join their college and share videos only with students from their college. On the down side, YouTube does not offer an educational category making it harder to find educational content.

Web 2.0…Courses? I never really thought about the possibility of there being a Web 2.0 course in college, but apparently it’s happening. IBM and The University of Arizona are teaming up to teach about Web 2.0 and Social Networking to give students skills in creating and managing online communities. What’s interesting is that it’s not just a presentation or learning event – it’s an actual full course! From what I understand, students from The University of Arizona will learn about Web 2.0 products and social networking from a business standpoint to give leadership, communication, and community-building skills. All in all, I do not feel school systems or businesses should immediately jump on the Web 2.0 train, but I think it’s time they start considering it as an option and try some of the solutions it has to offer. Try some of the applications for a week or two and find if they work for them. If you’re a teacher, see if your class prefers writing in the friendly and social Writely, blogging or the intimidating and feature packed Microsoft Word. Through the survey I performed on random students. Almost all knew what was meant by web 2.0 and all believe that they were very web savvy. Most of my student survey taker stated that they follow more than one blog site. I also sent questionnaire to professors asking if they are using any web 2.0 tools in their classes? Surprisingly they all are taking advantage of some type of web 2.0 tools, ranging from YouTube clips, blog sites, wikis, and blackboard web technology. In their response most stated that they are using Blackboard which is a web 2.0 tool for the school; that engage students in the use of web technology in the school environment.

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Bibliography Web 2.0 technologies for learning Becta Research reports http://emergingtechnologies.becta.org.uk/index.php?section=etr&catcode=ETRE_0001&rid=14122

Back to School with the Class of Web 2.0. <http://www.solutionwatch.com/512/back-to-school-with-the-class-of-web-20part-1/>. Web 2.0 for Teachers. <http://www.kn.pacbell.com/wired/fil/pages/listweb20s.html>. Web 2.0 in Education. <http://www.shambles.net/pages/learning/ict/web2edu/>. Web 2.0 Tools for Teachers. <http://www.scribd.com/doc/19576895/Web-20Tools-for-Teachers>. Web 2.0, Educational Social Networking. <http://www.stevehargadon.com/2009/12/social-networking-in-education.html>. School and university projects http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:School_and_university_projects

Syllabus Boilerplate http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:School_and_university_projects/Piotrus_education al_boilerplate Google Video educational http://www.google.com/search?q=genre:educational&tbs=vid:1,sbd:1

IBM and The University of Arizona Bring Web 2.0 http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/20459.wss 1.Tools: http://www.teacherly.com/ http://www.engrade.com/ http://www.easybib.com/ http://www.wikipedia.org/ http://www.youtube.com/ http://video.google.com/ 2. Office Applications

Docs.google.com http://writer.zoho.com/home?serviceurl=%2Findex.do http://www.slideshare.net/ 3. Educational Blogging Flickr.com

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Teachers Questionnaire

Teachers Answers

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How many Blogs do you follow

What is meant by Web 2.0

what is meant by RSS A format for delivering regularly changing web content A format for delivering regularly changing web content

One.

Second generation of the World Wide Web or Internet.

One.

second generation of the World Wide Web or Internet.

2 or 3. -- only people I know though

Second generation of the World Wide Web or Internet.

none

Second generation of the World Wide Web or Internet.

A format for delivering regularly changing web content A format for delivering regularly changing web content

I do not follow any at all

Upgrade from web 1.0

A format for delivering regularly changing web content

zero

Second generation of the World Wide Web or Internet.

A format for delivering regularly changing web content

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How do you rate yourself as Web Savvy?

3

3

4

2

Can you briefly describe what is web 2.0? The future of the internet. Faster, sleeker, badder to the Xtreme. The future of the internet. Faster, sleeker, badder to the Xtreme. Advanced Internet technology and applications mainly used for blogs and sharing stuff.

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no really I really have no idea I would have just thought it was an upgrade of Web 1.0. I donâ&#x20AC;&#x;t know much about computers and the web. Just know enough to get by.

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A way to communicate or share things over the net with social media


Student Testimonials and Reflections “Blogs are revolutionizing this country, and many people are completely oblivious to even what a blog is much less what it can. So thank you Mrs. Vicki for convincing me what a viable resource a blog can be. Thank you for not letting me be ignorant to something so revolutionary.” – kyli “At the beginning of the year when we started blogs, I didn‟t really feel like doing these, and I thought that they were just a waste of time, but I was WRONG! I have loved having these blogs and I learned a lot about writing, people, things happening with my friends, I met new people, I have learned ALOT about things going on in the world, and I learned that I can be free to write what I want, and I like how people would disagree with me, becasue it just encouraged me to write more.” – Xoxo-Hillaryy-xoxo “I love my blog so much! I like writing in it, even if there isn‟t anything to write about! Haha. When i get bored, my blog says „Ashley, come write in me.‟ I‟m just joking, but it gives me something to do. I am so happy that we are doing blogs this year!” – Ashley “I love my blog so much I can write what I want when I want except when my mom or sister is on the computer. My favorite part about having a blog is that it can be due on a Sunday and you cannot forget it at home or at school. I also like how you can write on it even if it is not for homework. The thing I worry about with blogs is that its world wide and if I say something to offend them then they will get mad at me and I wont no why. Other wise I think blogs are a great idea.” – Joey Girl “When I wasn‟t in the weblog group I would still be writing one paragraph essay. Now I‟m writing a page essay.” … “Weblogs are helping me a lot.” – Jhonathan General Testimonials “Never in 25 years of teaching have I seen a more powerful motivator for writing than blogs.” … “And that‟s because of the audience. Writing is not just taped on the refrigerator and then put in the recycle bin. It‟s out there for the world to see. Kids realize other people are reading what they write” – Mark Ahlness “Even when they‟re out sick, students work on their blogs.” – Carol Barsotti “I‟ve got 6th graders coming in during their lunch and after school to add articles to their blog and to respond to their classmates‟ articles.” – Al Gonzalez “The response has been tremendous. Students seem so much more willing to blog in their own space and time. They seem less inhibited and more enthusiastic.” – Beth Lynne Ritter-Guth

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Web 2.0 For Teachers