Monday, 1 February 2010

Mapping Web 2.0 tools onto Higher Education

I wanted to post something that got back to the purpose of this blog - my learning experience. So I thought I'd reflect on what happened last week and how my thinking moved on. Here at the Institute of Education (an HE college in the UK) academic individuals are more inclined to seek my help than previously. Mostly this is to do with increasing financial pressures which mean that distance learning is a logical way to tap into overseas and long distance markets. I think this is true of HE everywhere. So what I need to do is make sure that what I say to them is at the right level and steer them in the right direction with the result being good quality use of learning technologies. If we end up offering something substandard then it's better not to do anything at all.

Broadly, I want to give educators the understand of the pedagogical values behind any particular tool and the skills to use it. My first thoughts were to present to colleagues my vision of Web 2.0 and hope they could interpret this and map onto their own learning design. I created a voicethread on the subject and a prezi which give some examples of tools that fits within these categories and could be of use within education. I thought that this could be my opening move which gives the big picture from which I could then focus on different areas.

However, in presenting this to be few people, it became clear that I needed to simplify things. I need to speak the language of an HE academic trying to grapple with learning technologies. To do this, I need to stop focusing so much on Web 2.0 and its ethos and get straight to the tools themselves, mapping their use onto the practical consideration of a typical educator in my context. To this end, I created this prezi. Essentially, my previous concept maps were too big with too much information so I've simplified this. Also, people no longer have to understand Web 2.0 and its ethos at the same time as seeing a number of tool names to which they are unfamiliar. Instead, they just see the tools and which activity of their learning design it fits in with. So now there is only one layer of newness instead of two. The next step will be to create a voicethread to get some audio onto this and to start showing people the tools.

You will notice from the prezi that each category includes the relevant blackboard tools. What I'm not doing is getting educators to shun our VLE. However, if there's an outside tool that does a job that the VLE doesn't, or does it much better - we should be tapping into that. I'm not sure that this a majority viewpoint but it's certainly mine.

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