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Web 2.0 Technology




People tend to be put off, even frightened by technical talk, especially when it comes to computing and the internet. Do not let this happen to you! Ignore all the terminology, basically web 2.0 tecnology means a way of sharing ideas, resources and making the internet work for you. No longer do you have to spend hours searching for information that you find interesting. With a few tricks you can receive information to your desktop, and more interesting for teachers share it with other teachers or students. With just a few quality websites that are focused on your subject; you can supply your classes with not only interesting, but up to date material.

The video above I found extremely entertaining and thought provoking and with a few clicks of a mouse I have been able to share it with any members of the conference who have accessed this site,,,,,and I've not met you yet. This is what web 2.0 is all about. The possibilities are endless and on this page I hope to provide you with some ideas that you could use, making lessons more interesting and saving you and your students time, which, lets face it is extremely important for IB students!

Enough of boring text lets get on with some interactivity ;-)


Basics: How can I get students to collaborate and share work?


We've all been there, students are in groups of 4 and asked to produce a document for a presentation to the rest of the class, this could be in a variety of forms; podcasts, video, powerpoints etc. We'll start with the obvious, Powerpoints are something that we all use regularly to share information but by using powerpoint software. On one computer students are restricted in how many of them can work which means them e mailing a number of powerpoints and one of the students collating. This often results in 'I e mailed it to Bob but he's ill and didn't do his bit' or sorry 'I forgot my memory stick' or there seems to always be one student that does the majority of work. By using google documents it is possible for any number of people to work on the presentation and for the teacher to be able to see who is doing the majority of work. Finally it cuts out all the possible excuses of e mail and memory stick problems! If you have access to the internet the presentation is always ready to show! Example of student powerpoint workand word document in google docs.




To enable you to try this sort of online collaboration go to gmail and sign up for an account, this will come in useful later for other web 2.0 content like igoogle and google reader. I generally do this with all students during their first lesson if they do not have one. Enforce the importance of having a sensible email address for university correspondance later on in their academic careers, vodka_freak@gmail.com does not bode well!
google_docs.jpg

igoogle: a home page that works for you!


igoogle is an application that can be adapted to give you all the information that you require. There are lots of applications or 'gadgets' that can be added to this page such as weather, news, twitter readers, traffic for your local area and a range of other useful tools. In conjunction with 'google reader' you can have all the subject specific information come to your homepage. For your students they can set up a number of tabbed pages, for example one for each of their subjects using rss feeds, which I will now explain.











Some great ideas on how to use igoogle. igoogle for educators Google Apps for your School FREE!

Google Reader

Google reader is another great way to get information from the web to you and to share this with your students.










For example I am always looking for good graphs, maps and other graphics for use in classes and for students to use in essays, presentations and revision notes. By linking my google reader to UNEP / GRID all the new graphics that they produce automatically come to my reader page:
reader_example.jpg

Any of these images or documents that I then find useful I can then 'share' directly with my IB classes which are stored as addresses in my gmail contacts.
How to do this? If for example I would like updates for Population trends I go to a search engine and tenter my search term (see here), by clicking on a link that I think is interesting I end up at the 'PRB page' , by clicking on the 'Add to Google' icon I have a choice of adding it to igoogle or google reader. That's it!
PRB-example.jpg

Tagging websites and creating you own rss feeds for students

There are a number ways of creating your own feeds which students can then add to google reader or any type of rss feed reader they may us. I'll explain how to use Delicious. First of all get an account at delicious

Next get a 'plug in' as this makes it much easier to tag interesting sites as you are browsing: Internet explorer, firefox, Safari


How to tag interesting websites:











For example I have tagged a few pages for this workshop and now taken the rss feed for these tags and created a feed below:



    Now as I tag interesting pages with 'geogjim' and 'web2.0' the page links will automatically arrive on the rss feed below! this saves adding links to webpages which is time consuming and also very boring! If your students use google reader to subscribe to a your delicious feed they don't even have to go to your web page! Other people can also contribute to a feed using delicious as long as the use the same tags. This is how we set up the resource for the new IB diploma geography course. This means that the workload can be shared by any number of people, an example is shown below for a section of the syllabus on Population Change:



      and here is a screen shot of the same feed in google reader:

      rssfeed.jpg


      Next step Diigo


      If you would like to play with something more complex and flexible then try Diigo
      This will allow you to tag pages, share them in delicious, highlight interesting parts of pages, take screen shots of pages so that even if the address changes you still have a copy, discuss and comment and collaborate online with just this one tool. It is fantastic!












      Sign up for an account

      Drop Box

      Drop box is a site that allows you to share files of any description with any number of computers. By signing up for an account and downloading the software it will create a folder on your computer called 'dropbox'. Any files that you save to this folder will be uploaded to your online account. You automatically get 2 gigabits of space. On top of this you can invite other users to have access to your folders and it will automatically update the files on thier computer when the sign in! A great way to share files with staff, students and collegues!

      download 'dropbox'


      Posterous.com


      Would like a web presence just by e mailing messages? Try posterous.com! This post took me about 10 seconds.
      you can even attach files. you can then send your students to your home page: http://geogjim.posterous.com/ or they can recieve all updates directly to their google reader by clicking on the rss feed icon (screen shot below):
      postblogfeed.jpg


      A great way to share homework details, resources or instructions for students if you only want to spend a short time setting things up!

      Mind42.com online collaborative mind mapping

      mind42_copy.jpg

      Keep track of all your ideas, whether alone, with colleagues and friends or working together with the whole world.

      Mind42.com is a browser based online mind mapping application. With Mind42.com installing mindmapping tools is no longer needed - for a hassle-free mindmapping experience. Just open the browser and launch the application when needed. A very basic and quick example can be found here
      You can easily embed your maps:


      Other ideas, Powerpoint of ideas used by our humanities department

      Click here to download (it will take a while, it's a big file!)