Web 2.0: Tools and assessment practices

From the introduction it seems that the themes in this section overlap with H800.

‘Educators are generally in agreement that the roots of social networking are not a paradigm shift from what went before but a growth or development from previous practice and theory.’ Mason and Whitelock(2010)

Mashups

‘A mashup is essentially the creation of something new from parts of several separate sources in order to produce a single integrated whole…The use of mashups by students, therefore, needs guidance and scaffolding by the teacher…The use of mashups by students requires the teacher to adopt a ‘fluid’ attitude to information. They need to be aware that information is always changing and is something that can be mixed in different ways to produce a new learning experience. For this reason, mashups represent a very different experience of learning from the traditional textbook, which presents information as static and unchanging..


RSS

‘RSS, or Really Simple Syndication, is a set of web feed formats used to publish frequently updated content such as blog and wiki entries, news headlines or podcasts. The RSS feed contains either a summary of the content from the associated site or the full text. This explains the alternative meaning of RSS – Rich Site Summary.’

I use http://www.igoogle.com and google reader to aggregate my RSS feeds.

Advantages: This year I have switched from my class website to a blog (stigstud.wordpress.com). This enables my students to keep updated with new posts …if they are subscribed to the RSS feed.  Thus an advantage of RSS feeds is that information is gathered in one location. Every time something new comes out, it is sent to me.

Disadvantages: The problem of RSS or maybe of the aggregator is that due to the many feeds which I havem I am overwhelmed with new posts, many of which I just unread. Another disadvantage

Social bookmarking

‘In a social bookmarking system, users store lists of internet resources that they find useful. These lists are accessible either to the public or to a specific group, and other people with similar interests can view the links by category, tags, or even randomly. Some allow for privacy on a per-bookmark basis.’

examples of educational usage; ‘ There are a number of ways in which social bookmarking can be useful in teaching and learning. Groups can set up a network to share resources they find over a period of working on a joint project. Experts can share their bookmarks with novices. Individual students can share their resources with their peers.’

In social online tools, the strength of a tool is relational to its popularity, If more individuals are using it, more value will be seen in using it as one may connect to a community which has similar tastes and values.

Hopefully the popularity of a tool, may give more profits to the developers who will then continue improve the tool with better and better functionality.

So why adopt a tool instead of another? Why isn’t Connotea as popular as Delicious ? The individual needs of users and the tool’s functionality are related. But also being adopted by the right communities at the right time.

Social networking sites

‘Social networking sites have become incredibly popular with young people almost overnight. They offer an interactive, user-submitted network of friends, personal profiles, blogs, groups, photos, music and videos internationally. There are many such sites, some more specialised than others and some very much more popular than others.’

Key points for educators to bear in mind if they want to use a social networking site on a formal course.

  • Students are wary of teachers intruding their personal space.
  • Social networking sites are popular with students
  • Minority of students may not be familiar with social networking sites
  • Be aware of accessibility issues
  • Intellectual property rights may be an issue for content being used or reused online.Choice of social networking site should be done whilst considering ‘System stability’ and ‘Interoperability’ with other tools.
  • Using a social networking site on a formal course might mean that the educator needs to be constantly monitoring student contributions to filter out any inappropriate posts or spam.
  • Does the institution provide a tool with the desired functionality?

Relating to the first point, in my Facebook profile, I actually do not accept students as ‘friends’. I’m not keen in allowing my secondary female students to access my private life. I often discuss this issue with other colleagues who accept their students on facebook. Am I a laggard in this regard?

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