Integration of Web 2.0 Collaboration Tools into Education: Lessons Learned

Integration of Web 2.0 Collaboration Tools into Education: Lessons Learned

Phillip Olla, Elena Qureshi
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-384-5.ch029
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Web 2.0 is opening new capabilities for human interaction. It also broadens the way technology is used to collaborate more effectively. This chapter discusses instructional strategies and techniques used to successfully utilize Web 2.0 tools for classroom collaboration. It will also shed light on pedagogical issues that arise with the implementation of Web 2.0 into the educational setting. The chapter will present case studies describing how various Web 2.0 applications can be incorporated into a variety of courses in the areas of nursing, education, and computer information systems. Finally, recommendations for teachers and students on how to effectively use Web 2.0 tools to improve collaboration will be outlined.
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The Importance of Collaboration in Education

The importance of collaboration in education has long been acknowledged. It is a critical aspect of successful teaching and learning practices and achieving better outcomes. Collaboration is an intricate concept with multiple attributes. The term is hard to define because it encompasses a variety of activities such as peer response groups, peer tutoring, peer workshops, group research projects, classroom group discussions, and learning communities.

The focus of this chapter is on what is most useful about collaboration within the context of education: how we can usefully share ideas and information among the members of a project and what it is about this team project that creates benefits for the collected individuals involved in this project. According to Linden (2002), collaboration can provide the following benefits: 
Better use of scarce resources; cost savings; ability to create something that you cannot create on your own; higher quality, more integrated product for the end users; potential for organizational and individual learning; and better ability to achieve important outcomes.

When creating an effective collaborative environment, instructors always consider using technology and the Internet. In the last few years Web 2.0 – more collaborative Internet- has created a buzz in education. Web 2.0 programs are rapidly becoming tools of choice for a growing body of classroom educators. University instructors are discovering that Web 2.0 tools provide compelling teaching and learning opportunities. It is obvious that the Web 2.0 is changing the very nature of student work. The fact that a student's work can be seen, commented on, and collaboratively improved by a larger participative group of people has a very favorable effect on students’ engagement with course content. Students become more involved in educational discussions and debates. They come to realize that they work collaboratively with their peers and not just their instructors in the discovery, exploration, and clarification of knowledge. A very proactive learning environment is the result of effective use of the Web 2.0 tools.

To sum up, Web 2.0 is opening new capabilities for human interaction. It also broadens the ways we can use technology to help us collaborate more effectively. The next section of this chapter will deal with the Web2.0 concept and terminology.

Key Terms in this Chapter

ePortfolio: An ePortfolio is a collection of work developed across varied contexts over time. The portfolio can advance learning by providing students and/or faculty with a way to organize, archive and display pieces of work.

Podcast: A podcast is a series of digital files distributed over the Internet using RSS for playback on portable media players, such as IPods, PDA, smartphones, or computers.

RSS: RSS is short for “Really Simple Syndication.” This is a technique to easily distribute content such as news headlines, Websites update notices, and sometimes movies and applications to a wide audience. An RSS document can be referred to as a “feed”, “Web feed,” or “channel.” The feed will contain either a summary of content being distributed from an associated Web site or the full text of the article.

Wiki: A wiki is Website that allows users with access to collaboratively create, edit, link, and categorize the content of a Website in real time covering a variety of reference material. Wikis have evolved from being purely a reference site into collaborative tools to run community Websites, corporate intranets, knowledge management systems and educational sites.

Telemedicine: Telemedicine is an application of clinical medicine where medical information is transferred via telephone, the Internet or any other telecommunication networks for the purpose of consulting, diagnosing or performing remote medical procedures or examinations.

Blog: A Blog is a site maintained by an individual, organization or group or people, which contains recurrent entries of commentary, view points, descriptions of events, or multimedia material, such as images, pictures or videos. The entries are typically displayed in reverse chronological order with the most recent post being the current focus.

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