This is a self-guided course introducing participants to early web 2.0 technologies such as wikis, RSS feeds, and podcasts. It includes nine weeks of activities wherein participants read about technologies, experiment with free online tools that use those technologies, and reflect by writing and publishing blog posts. It is recommended for librarians and teachers who want to create more interactive and engaging instructional activities.
Type of Material:
This tutorial would be best used as homework and self-paced.
Tested on Firefox, Chrome, and mobile. Not mobile-friendly for small devices.
Identify Major Learning Goals:
The purpose of this site is to teach students and teachers how to use Web 2.0 tools for various uses. Some of the areas that are covered are: social networking, wikis, video, podcasting, and gaming sites. The goal is to make users more competent and fluid in using technology in various settings.
Target Student Population:
School librarians, other librarians, teachers, and trainers, middle school, high school, college general education, professional development.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Basic computer skills such as using a mouse, drag and drop, and an inquiring mind.
The material is clear and concise with additional information provided that goes into more detail for new technology learners. All the information is self-contained and does not require additional training. It can be easily integrated into the classroom setting to include further learning.
This is a good introduction to web 2.0 technologies, but there are many more (and newer) technologies that are not covered or mentioned. The site would benefit from a “recommended readings” section, which would give participants a place to start on continuing to explore on their own. This site is from 2007 and thus many of the technologies covered are no longer new; participants may already be familiar with them. Some of the tools linked to are no longer available (e.g. Google Reader). The presentation of the material is oriented toward the original project participants; it might be unclear to casual visitors that the content is flexible and open to anyone.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
Each section clear identifies what the user will learn and how to achieve a finished product. One section builds upon another so users will be able to apply what they have learned to reinforce knowledge and apply it in different settings.
Although each technology is presented clearly, it is not always clear why the writers think it is important for participants to be familiar with that technology; learning objectives are present but not spelled out. The site presumes a certain level of web-savviness without explicit prerequisite knowledge. Participants are instructed to blog about each week’s topic, but otherwise there is little continuity between weeks and few references back to previous content.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The tutorial is designed to draw the user into the section. The material is fun and users can quickly see how to apply and use their new knowledge. It is visually appealing with easy colors and no disturbing flashing or color difficulties.
If a user has a mobility disability, it may be difficult to do a few of the modules, but these can be adapted to address this problem.
Other Issues and Comments:
This is a very interesting tutorial. It addresses many common technologies that users will encounter in personal, school, and work settings. It is short enough that users can finish it in a timely manner but not too long that would make it a difficult and time consuming project.
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