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Blog o' Greg

Greg's thoughts on education and technology (and anything else that comes to mind)

Wikis, Web 2.0, podcasting, and audio/video conferencing

Do wikis make a difference in educational experiences? What role might Web 2.0 play in fostering change in education? How does voice and/or presence change the way learners interact with one another?

Wikis can be a tool for collaboration or a source of consternation, depending on who you ask. Throughout OMET, we have used wikis to share ideas, develop plans, and collaborate in general. I have found wikis to be useful. I recently tried to introduce the use of a wiki in a project at work. The group was lukewarm to the new technology. After trying for about three weeks to keep the wiki alive, I let it die. One group member commented that he didn't have enough control over formatting on the wiki. The group returned to emailing Word documents. What happened? My group wasn't ready to switch to a new tool that could uproot the use of a tool that has served as a staple for years.

I think the strength of Web 2.0 is the ability to bring curriculum to learners. RSS subscriptions enable the use of podcasts and news/learning feeds in courses. Web 2.0 also brings the ability to easily write to the web, which means the web is now prime for collaboration. Of course, learners need to see the value in this new capability.

Distance learners now have options for communicating with each other. Voice over IP and video conferencing are really just taking hold in the mainstream of learners. Several times this year, I have used video conferencing for some 1:1 meetings. I have to say that, while it was nice to see the face of the person I was talking with, it wasn't a requirement. Skype conferencing or text-based communication would have worked just as well. There probably are occasions when video has value. I, however, am a digital immigrant compared to many younger learners who equate value with "cool factor."

Published May 30 2007, 05:05 AM by ghinshaw
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