Web2.0 tools have been growing rapidly in population over the last decade. Some of the more popular tools that society uses are wikis, blogs and Google Docs. All three of these tools can be used for online educational purposes as well as leisurely means.
All About Wikis
A wiki is a Web2.0 tool that is a blended learning method to collaborate with wiki users’, along with collaboration among each user as they create and edit contents of the site to encourage learning and dialogue. According to Kelly (2010), there are many characteristics that make wikis an excellent tool for students in all levels of education. Some strategies for wikis that are in an informal environment can be projects that require teamwork, brainstorming among students and research. The main advantage of a wiki is that it has a collaborative component which helps decrease the need for multiple emails and confusion in the message being delivered.
There are many different kinds of educational wiki sites, that all have different layouts of formats to deliver information to students. This educational wiki https://21centuryedtech.wikispaces.com/, is a site has been created for students to help them with projects and research assignments since there are links to blog sites within this wiki. Neumann & Hood (2009), states that students who use a wiki as part of their learning process instead of a traditional learning environment were more engaged in the material, scored higher on assignments and also didn’t have to take work home with them due to failure to complete with the given time allotted. With having the collaboration among students, it creates more of a joined system within the classroom.
To get started using a wiki, the user needs to first determine what they want their wiki to contain. What information does the user what to convey and receive more information on. The next step to using a wiki is to check to ensure that there is not another wiki on the same subject. Step three is about creating your team before creating a wiki. This will help ensure that there will be interaction between all users and will help motivate additional information getting added to the site. Step four is about building your very own wiki or using a wiki that already has an established URL, like yourwiki.com. After all of these steps have been taken, the user has successfully created their own wiki site (wikihow, n.d.).
Here are some additional wiki sites that helped me explore more about the tool being used in an educational setting. http://wikieducator.org/images/5/58/Wikiasateachingtool.pdf & http://kkermode.com/docs/moodledocs/wiki_artic.pdf
All About Blogs
A blog is another form of a Web2.0 tool that is used in many educational settings. A blog is a website that has one author who updates the site on a regular basis and has areas for comments to allow for interaction between author and viewer. Blogs are used for many different reasons such as personal journals and diaries, a sharing of information and thoughts to a method of teaching. Blogs are usually short entries that may have links to other websites for additional information to give the viewers more information about their topics (Byrd, 2015). By using this tool for educational purposes, the author or teacher is able to post information on that week’s topic and allow the students to respond and create dialogue which increases a level of understanding.
Many blogs today are used as great resources for higher education. Teachers will post current topics that affect the higher education world, such as politics or what is happening at other universities, which allow the students to expand their knowledge and create discussions. A blog site that does exactly that is https://www.timeshighereducation.com/academic/blog. This site has all of the world’s hot topics which encourages students to learn more about their surroundings. Some strategies for creating an informal blog to teach in a higher educational surrounding is the ability for the blogs to become a platform for: ePortfolios, assignments, announcements and group discussions.
Creating a blog is very simple; there are five steps on how to start a blog. Step one is choosing a blogging platform. There are many different kinds of blog platforms like wordpress, web,com and weebly, the user needs to keep in mind that not all of the platforms out there are free. After choosing what platform you want to go with, you will need to create a web address or domain name. This will be your blog’s URL address so people will be able to find and locate the blog. The next step is constructing your blog through the platform that you chose. Step four is about designing your blog; this step is what makes the blog unique to you. If you want a blog that is about education or about parenting, your design and format will be different. The last step of creating a blog is to add content for readers to view and start commenting on. This is a simple, five step process that will get you started on your way of sharing and gathering information (Rowse, 2016).
Here are some other websites that can provide additional knowledge about blogs: http://www.emergingedtech.com/2015/09/the-state-of-blogging-in-the-classroom/ & http://www.educatorstechnology.com/2012/06/ultimate-guide-to-use-of-blogs-in.html
All About Google Docs
A great Web2.0 is Google Docs. Google Docs is an online application of word processor that allows the user to create and format a document or spreadsheet and collaborate with other people in current time. This feature of real time updates and collaboration efforts, makes Google Docs appealing to all in the educational world since the educational world uses a form of Word document and internet. Google Docs can be accessed from any computer that supports Word, OpenOffice, RTF, PDF, HTML or Zip File with access to the internet as well. Since Google Docs allows many different forms of Word processing, it is how this Web2.0 tool has become an important educational learning platform for the 21st century learning goals (google, 2016).
Google Docs can be integrated into the educational world through many different venues; virtual learning environments (VLEs), which is an online tool that delivers learning material to students in an online form. A portal is a tool built around online informational sources and then, e-portfolios are another tool that is an electronic assortment of material that relates to the specific individual’s personnel activity (Franklin & Harmelen, 2007). This tool helps share and give feedback on students work, such as writing in a virtual 24/7 classroom. Having a Web2.0 tool such as Google Docs that is built around the internet’s wide capabilities and also built around Word processor, creates a learning tool that is easy and familiar for students to use.
To get started using Google Docs, you will first have to create a Google Drive account or if you already have some form of Google then you are able to get started from that. At this point you will be able to log onto your account and find the option that says Google Drive. Once this has been clicked on, then you can click the ‘new’ bottom to start creating your online learning environment.
Here are two other websites that future the understanding of Google Docs:
Byrd, Kenneth. (2015). What is A Blog?. Retrieved from http://scholar.googleusercontent.com/ scholar?q=cache:ptCJU5X8uUIJ:scholar.google.com/+what+is+a+blog&hl=en&as_sdt= 0,6
Franklin, T., & Harmelen, M.. (2007). Web2.0 for Content for Learning and Teaching In Higher Education. Retrieved from https://staff.blog.ui.ac.id/harrybs/files/2008/10/web-2-for- content-for-learning-and-teaching-in-higher-education.pdf
Google. (2016). Overview of Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides. Retrieved from
Kelly, Rob. (2010). Using Wikis for Collaborative Learning. Faculty Focus. Retrieved from http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/online-education/using-wikis-for-collaborative- learning/
Neumann & Hood. (2009). The Effects of Using A Wiki on Student Engagement and Learning
of Report Writing Skills in a University Statistic Course. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology. Retrieved from http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/ download?doi=10.1.1.177.7627&rep= rep1&type=pdf
Rowse, D. (2016). How to Start a Blog in 5 Steps. ProBlogger. Retrieved from http://www.problogger.net/archives/2016/03/30/how-to-start-a-blog/
Wikihow. (n.d.). How to Start a Wiki. Retrieved from http://www.wikihow.com/Start-a-Wiki