What are Web Tools

Transformative Change... Taken from the ...Handbook of Emerging Technologies for LearningGeorge Siemens,Peter Tittenberger, March, 2009

http://cellphonesforlearning.wikispaces.com/file/view/Handbook+of+Emerging+Technologies+for+Learning.pdfHigher education is in the midst of transformative (but exciting) change.
Over the next decade, the practices of teaching and learning “will undergo fundamental change” as universities and colleges respond to global, social, political, technological, and learning research trends. A duality of change – conceptual and technological – faces higher education. Large-scale transitions, such as were evident in the democratic revolutions across Europe in the late 18th century (conceptual) and industrial revolution in the late 18th and early 19th century (technological), transform the large institutions of society: government, education, and religion.Today, the duality of conceptual (new models of education, advancement of social learning theory) and technological (elearning, mobile devices, learning networks) revolutions offers the prospect of transformative change in teaching and learning.Education and fragmented informationThe aim of education to “arm every single person for the vital combat for lucidity” appears more difficult in a world of hyper-fragmentation, reflected in the development of the Internet and in the breakdown of traditional information structures such as newspapers, journals, and books.How is education to fulfill its societal role of clarifying confusion when tools of control over information creation and dissemination rest in the hands of learners, contributing to the growing complexity and confusion of information abundance?We now differently relate to information. The roles of experts (educators) and novices (learners) have been altered substantially. What once involved mediators and experts (journals, books, encyclopaedias) can now be handled informally through the aggregated actions of many (Wikipedia, blogs, ebooks).

What Is a Wiki?
Wikis can be remote hosted (such as PBWiki, WetPaint, wiki spaces or collaborative Google Docs) or hosted by an institution – such as MediaWiki or the wiki feature in Moodle. Wikis can be open - where anyone can create an account and edit - or closed - requiring approval from a site administrator. Edits may be handled through simple editing with wiki markup (similar to HTML) or a Word-style formatting bar (in hosted wikis such as PBWiki).How can it be used for teaching and learning?Wikis, like any tool for learning, are limited in use primarily by the creativity of the instructor or designer. Common uses include:• Course notes• Course syllabus• FAQ• Collaborative writing and group work• Brainstorming• Inviting experts (whose work may/may not be the focus of the wiki) to review completeness of learner wikis• Content creation with educators from other universities/schools

What is Social Bookmarking?Social bookmarking is a way to store and organize bookmarks (favorites) on the web. Having bookmarks on the web means they are accessible from any computer with an internet connection and a browser.How does it work?Bookmarks can be posted to services such as Delicious directly through the website or through a browser toolbar. When saving a webpage, users can tag the resource, select it for private/public view, and share it with others in a network. The use of a specific tag will allow others with similar interest to discover shared resources. Services like Diigo and Stumble Upon allow users to rate, tag, and comment on specific web pages (comments are only visible to other users of the service).How can it be used for teaching and learning?In addition to organizing personal information, social bookmarking is a useful tool for sharing information, articles, and learning resources. For example, a course can be assigned a specific tag, and the contributions of all learners can result in a useful collection of resources.Social bookmarking is valuable for researchers. Writing an article? Researching an industry? Slaving away on your dissertation? Delicious can be used to keep track of all the source materials and commentary. Or, a special tag can be used for an assignment or group work to easily gather all bookmarks.

What is a Blog?A blog is a basic web page with posts presented in reverse chronological order. Posts can be retrieved via an RSS reader (such as Google Reader), negating the need to visit the blog.Google uses its blog to communicate new products or offerings. CNN uses blogs as an alternative news source. NASA has a launch blog. Well known people like Dave Barry, Scott Adams (Dilbert), and Tom Peters use blogs as well. Even the president of Iran has a blog. Blogs figured prominently into the last American president election, providing candidates with another venue to connect with voters.The simplicity of blogs is deceptive. Blogging enables unique opportunities for educators to improve communication with (and between) learners, increase depth of learning through reflection, and enable the formation of diverse viewpoints and perspectives. Perhaps most importantly, they enable educators to connect with each other.How does it work?Prospective bloggers can sign up with an online services – such as Blogger or Eduspaces – or download software to a server and host their own blog (Movable Type or Wordpress).Posts can be made through a desktop application (such as Microsoft’s Live Writer) or through the interface accessible with a web-browser.Blogs generally allow readers to provide comments. Due to spam, many bloggers use anti-spam measures such as holding comments in moderation or requiring commentators to enter information (often a captcha) to verify a person, not a script, is entering the comment.How can it be used for teaching and learning?Blogs are simple tools for learners and educators to use in teaching and learning. Educators can use a blogs to update learners on course activities, post reflections on in-class or online conversations, and to share journal articles and related course resources.Learners can use blogs to reflect, connect with others, use as an e-portfolio or journal, and comment on important posts made by other learners.

What is Microblogging?Microblogging involves sharing resources and engaging in short conversations with other users of the service. Twitter, Tublr, and Plurk are popular examples.How does it work?With Twitter and Plurk, users are limited to maximum responses of 140 characters (including spaces and punctuation). Accounts can be setup without charge. Social networking consists of adding friends (which means you follow their updates/posts) and interacting with others. The key question in Twitter is “what are you doing”. Conversation ranges from meaningless – “I just finished a cup of coffee” – to meaningful “My partner just had a baby”. Twitter enables the creation of strong social networks by sharing the “small details of life” that are often only experienced by people in physical proximity. Blogs lack the immediacy and personal communication found on Twitter. In additions to posts being displayed on a public timeline (or, if you wish to only share with your network, privacy settings are available), direct messages (of 140 character length) are possible.How can it be used for teaching and learning?The social dimension of Twitter can be overlooked when focusing on the triviality of many “tweets” (posts). Sample uses in education include:• Ask learners to “follow” notable thinkers in a particular field• Forming social networks with other learners• Sharing resources• Follow conferences within a field of study48• Track current events• Participate in conversations with experts in a discipline• Provide an alternative avenue for student-instructor interaction• Provide class updates and reminders

What is Video?The last decade has seen the web transition from a text-based medium to a multi-media platform with audio, video, and greater interactivity. For educators, this presents a great opportunity to add diversity and variety to courses.While video-taped lectures have been common on university campuses for decades, the increased bandwidth available to most computer users has opened the door for a new approach to extend lectures - enabling learners to view missed (or not fully understood) lectures at their convenience.How does it work?Video in education runs a spectrum from easy-to-create “talking heads” (recorded with a web cam) to edited professional quality resources. Easy to create video – with a web cam, Flip Video, or video recorder – are more accessible to individual educators than studio-produced recordings.After videos have been created and edited, they can be uploaded to a university site or posted on a public site such as YouTube or blip.tv.How can it be used for teaching and learning?Video can be used for:• Short demonstrations• Incorporate video from experts• Incorporate video developed by other institutions/organizations as open educational resources• Add recorded presentations of conferences (like TED Talks) as curricular resources• Pre-class videos to place future lectures into context• Use videos to review key concepts discussed in class (for learner review or to augment lectures)

What is Flickr?Flickr is a web-based image sharing tool.How does it work?Learners can upload, tag, share, annotate, and discuss images and photos. Images can be licensed under Creative Commons license, allowing for varying levels of use. Groups can be formed around topics and themes. For example, a conference can set up an image group and all attendees can post and share images. Individual images can geotagged (tagged by location) – useful experiencing (from a local perspective) different parts of the world. Images can be annotated so individual components within the image can be described.How can it be used for teaching and learning?Flickr can be used to:• Share photos within a class, school, department, faculty, college or university.• Set up a group for a courses - share photos with group members• Architecture/visual arts groups can use the geo-tag feature to share images/locations, etc.• Work with international students - i.e. stimulate discussions on countries of origin• World issues - a map for students - i.e. making it seem like more than a map by using photos and linking to real-life images• Traveling - flickr journey - share with family, classmates46• Field research• Use for building community in distance education - i.e. students share images of themselves, where they live, etc. “introduce yourself in flickr” - where you live, work, etc.• Use in Telemedicine for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes.• Use in Anatomical Pathology for diagnostic consultations.

What is Podcasting?
Podcasting is the distribution of audio online through RSS. Technology has developed to the point where an educator can record and distribute audio files with only a computer, a microphone, and internet access.Of particular potential in audio is the increased use of different audio tools for easy collaboration (such as Seesmic or Voice Thread). While podcasting is generally a one-way flow, collaborative audio creation around images adds the learner’s/listener’s voice to the exchange.How does it work?Podcasts can be created with Audacity, Odeo, Garage Band, or digital voice recorders. Audio files can be shared via services such as PodBean, iTunes, or plugins for blogging software (such as Word Press). As with blogs, learners can subscribe to RSS feeds of podcasts. Learners can listen to podcasts on a computer or iPod (or similar audio device).How can it be used for teaching and learning?Podcasts can be used to:• Record lectures• Include external presenters• Evaluation and feedback• Learner created reflections and interviews• Interviews with notable contributors to a particular field• News or course-related updates• Short introductions to new subject areas

What is Virtual Worlds, Second Life and Games?
Virtual worlds and games are common topics discussion in educational conferences. Most educators have at minimum, indirect experience with games - whether through conversations with students, the activities of their children, or their own personal use of virtual games.Virtual games - such as World of Warcraft - generally involve the achievement of a certain goal, such as mastering a game level. Virtual worlds, in contrast, are environments where individuals can interact with each other, but may not necessarily be focused on achieving a particular goal. Traditional video game systems – XBOX and PS3 – now offer online gaming as well.Second Life has received considerable attention from educators over the last several years. SL provides an alternative learning experience to a traditional online course, as learners interact with peers and educators through avatars, explore course material (often in a more interactive manner than only reading text), and express personal learning through visual means.Simulations are particularly valuable as a learning tool in providing learners with a situated experience that is more cost effective than actually performing the task (such as flying). Simulations can be expensive to design and administer.How does it work?Games, simulations, and virtual worlds are all distinct. Discussion here will be confined to Second Life. After a user has created an account (free version is available, but to participate in the “Linden” economy, a paid account is required), she can modify her avatar (appearance, body type (or non-human), accessories, etc.). She can then form a social network by adding friends, participating in chat (audio or text), attending conferences, concerts, clubs, and other activities. Users can rent/purchase living spaces, vehicles, build homes, and almost any other activity that is possible in their “first life”.How can it be used for teaching and learning?Games, virtual worlds, and simulations have many academic uses, including:• Simulating real experiences (nursing and medical uses in Second Live)• Interactions in 3D environments (valuable for architecture (design), psychology (human behaviour), and other fields)• Galleries – art and other exhibits• Programming and scripting• Building objects – tables, chairs, furniture, buildings, etc

What is Aggregation?Blogs, news, social bookmarks, academic journals, Flickr images, and YouTube videos produce a sea of information that threatens to inundate us to the point of paralysis. How can learners manage these disparate sources of information in meaningful ways? With more technology of course!Tools like iGoogle, NetVibes, and Google Reader give learners control of information. By subscribing to blogs, journals, Moodle forums, and other online services, learners can bring together meaningful resources.How does it work?Many websites are now producing RSS or web feeds. RSS stands for really simple syndication (or rich site summary, depending on who you ask). It is simply an XML file that can be read by software. An aggregator skims the site and updates any information added since the last visit to the site. Essentially, RSS allows information to come to you (through an aggregator) instead of you having to go to the information. If you are following 20 different websites in your field, and they all produce an RSS feed, an aggregator visits the sites and retrieves new content and displays it in a browser or50on your desktop RSS reader (depending on the type of aggregator).Aggregators (and the RSS information sharing structure as a whole) differ from email in that the emphasis is on pulling in resources of interest. Email, in contrast, is a push technology. Through RSS, resources are intentionally solicited, whereas anyone can send an unsolicited email. By pulling in information (versus having it pushed), we have greater control over the quantity and type of information we encounter.How can it be used for teaching and learning?Creating personal learning environmentsLearners can follow key thinkers in a field (blogs)Learners (and educators) can subscribe to academic journals

What is Web conferencing?
Webconferencing is used to facilitate group meetings or live presentations over the Internet.In its simplest form its text messaging, at its most complex, it’s videoconferencing combined with application or desktop sharing. What is common to all forms of webconferencing is that they are synchronous communication (real time) tools using computers and the internet. Most webconferencing programs now have recording capability which allows you to save your conference for later playback.The advantage of webconferencing to videoconferencing is that webconferencing can be accessed from anyplace that has a computer with the appropriate software and an internet connection. Unlike traditional videoconferencing, expensive videoconferencing equipment is not required and the technical overhead to ‘operate’ a webconference is much lower. The disadvantage to webconferencing is that the quality of video in videoconferencing systems is usually superior.How does it work?Desktop webconferencing or online classrooms can be managed through services like Elluminate or Adobe Connect. A typical service will include an interactive whiteboard, text chat, audio, video, polling, application sharing, web browsing, filesharing, and presentation (Powerpoint) tools. Presentations can be recorded and used for future playback. Elluminate Publish! can be used to create podcasts or Flash videos of Elluminate presentations.How can it be used for teaching and learning?Webconferencing software has numerous uses:• Group meetings• Virtual classes• Office Hours• Grad students meeting with mentors• Guest lecturers• Recording classes or meetings• Online conferences