The blog craze started in 2004, MySpace came out in 2002. From then till now, Web 2.0 has penetrated deeply into our lives.
You may have heard the buzz: it’s all about communications, exchange information and expressing the ego.
Have you thought of utilizing all those things for learning?
Recently I’ve been very aggressive on the net to see how we can use the applications for learning, and here I am with my key findings:
Let’s imagine a very familiar study scenario: you’re assigned into a group to do a research on topic X.
Traditionally, the group would rely on emails, phone calls and IM to communicate and collaborate. Have you found these media difficult to classify your information?
This is how I would use Web 2.0 for learning
1. Search for information with Search EngineS
Obviously, information searching starts with search engines.
I have some hints for this:
- Don’t just use Google. Try Yahoo! search, Live search, Ask search and other engines. They give different results and thus, relevant information might be found from ones other than Google
- Try Google on different region settings. google.com/ncr (international version) yields different results from google.com.vn
- Try different keywords and keyword combination. Also, exploit the operators
- Also search for images. At least Google, Yahoo! and Live support this. Images are useful for illustrating your ideas and, in some cases, give you additional information.
Watch a slide show on Google services:
2. Ask your questions
Use Q&A service such as LinkedIn Answers to ask questions and receive information from professionals.
Watch a video explaining LinkedIn
3. Make information comes to you with RSS
Normally you go out for information. Think about making information come to you?
Use RSS for this.
Watch a video explaining RSS
For example, if I’m looking for “globalization”, I would take these steps
- Go to wordpress.com/tags/globalization
- Get the RSS of this tag
- Subscribe the RSS into a feed reader like Google Reader
Then check with the feed reader everyday to see if relevant information comes in.
You can also use Yahoo! Pipes to aggregate the feeds. Click here to view videos on Yahoo! Pipes
Try exploring different sources of information you can use this trick.
4. Share links with bookmark-sharing sites
If I encounter useful webpages, I would want to share it with my group mates.
Using email would bury the link under heaps of other information. Sharing through IM stands the risk of losing the message when the program lags.
So I would bookmark the site using del.icio.us and use the function “links for friend” to share the link.
Watch a video explaining del.icio.us
5. Blog your group’s findings on group-blog powered platform
WordPress supports multiple-author. I would want our group members to blog our research everyday on our blog. This is not superficial. It helps us
- Collect information, thoughts, findings, analysis and intermediate conclusions
- Track each member’s progress
- Present to the lecturer our growth
5b. Share micro details
This is optional though. Some information might be very detailed and we want quick sharing methods. I would connect my mobile phone to Twitter and quickly update my thoughts on the way.
Watch a video explaining Twitter
6. Schedule activities with Calendars
Schedule activities such as meetings, field trips with Google Calendar
7. Watch and learn
Go to Youtube, not to entertain, but to learn from podcasters on the topic.
For example, this video is useful to understand Web 2.0
8. Compose Collaboratively
Use Google Docs to compose the documents. This is very convenient in such that
- No email chain flying around
- Single repository of document
- Better version control
- Many collaborators do the job concurrently
Watch a video explaining Google Docs
9. Build wiki to store develop information knowledge
Wiki is great to understand new concepts and link the information to get the big picture.
Watch a video explaining Wiki
10. Relationship building
Facebook is good to build relationship with your work mates.
11. Publish your research
Publish your research as presentations on slideshare or documents on scribd to share your knowledge engage in discussion on the topic.
12. Consolidate them all into one page
There are just so much!
How’re you gonna navigate around them all?
Well, one solution is to use a homepage service like netvibes to put all these services together.
Why all these?
Too complicated? Well here are the reasons why I would do it this way
- Better organization of information. No email confusion
- Exhaustive analysis. You write on the way so no information is missed
- Better collaboration
- Man, isn’t it fun?
I know it would be much easier for you just to email. But how much time have you spent searching for information later on? I’d rather spend the time to get things organized first, then make it easier later to focus more on creating contents.
And I’m pretty sure of one thing: just next year, this entry will be outdated because many new services will come out. Semantic web, mobile apps are just a few to predict.
It’s not a fashionable fad or a time-killer, it’s a shift in the way we can be more effective. Do you want to miss the train trend?
But you know, all these will never happen if digital divide hasn’t been closed.
Technology proficiency and more importantly, community habit is a big gap. I want my team to do so, but other teams may not, so some of my team members may argue “why do we have to!”
With the internet connection speed in Vietnam, using Google Docs et al is insane.
Today, a world that is flat is till a romantic dream for me.
I’ve already tried out these services. Kindly see mine as example of how things may end up evolve: taitran.com/blog/resources