Thursday, 18 February 2010

Web2.0Learning

I delivered a new training event for the first time on Wednesday. I called it Web2.0Learning - Using Web 2.0 tools for teaching and learning . The aim is to teach educators about the principles of Web 2.0 and get them using some tools. The idea is sound and I had bits of content that I was going to use. However, it has been a challenge creating it from scratch. A much larger challenge than I anticipated.

It was ok sorting out what I wanted to say about Web 2.0 and education and VLE and all that interesting stuff. But when it comes to a hands-on session involving Web 2.0 tools, the practicalities and logistics bring their own challenges. Firstly, you have to decide which tools you want to showcase. This is hard. I had a day or actually 5:30 of teaching time. So it's a question of what do you leave out and why is one tool better than another. I had a principle of only showing one instance of any particular type of tool but it's difficult to be sure you are showing the right one. I don't profess to be familiar with everything (it's impossible) but if you are going to do something of this nature you have a duty to be up to date and clear why you are showing one thing over the other. I'll need to upskill in this area as I probably made a couple of wrong choices. Overall, I'm happy with what I put together but there was a lot of learning having delivered it.

For the delivery, I was in an unfamiliar ICT setting and largely, things went smoothly. However, when you are working with a variety of different tools with different requirements you are likely to come up against some problems if you in an educational setting with all their blockage and rights issues. The learning here was to check thoroughly beforehand what they have and what you need. I thought I'd done this but had assumed some basics (like audio) which I shouldn't have. In a session like this, when the technology fails you are stuffed. Luckily, if it failed for one tools it was ok for others. Also, there's always a couple of machine which don't work properly - it's the law!

For those that are interested, here are my session titles:

What is Web 2.0?/How does this fit?
Ning
Imagination Cubed
Delicious
Bubbl.us
Aggregation
CreateDebate
Finding Web 2.0 tools for education
Blogging
Voicethread
Twitter
Prezi
Googledocs

If anyone wants to know which sessions went well and which didn't go so well and for what reason then make a comment and I'll let you know (I don't want to do a massively long post here).

What's important is that I did a surveymonkey at the end where I gathered views on their attraction to the types of tools on offer. The more I do of this the better so that I can get a feel for what educators want and are interested in.

2 comments:

  1. Hi Tom,

    I've been running a similar event for local gov staff - an intro to social media tools. Your comments on blockages and rights issues resonated with me. I've also found that when setting up - say Google or Twitter - accounts as part of the training, if using the same IP address (e.g the router), Google or Twitter will block the creation of new accounts.

    I'd be interested in knowing which of your sessions went well and which didn't. Happy to share my own experiences.

    Thanks

    Steve

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  2. Hi Steve,

    Thanks for commenting. Your context sounds pretty similiar to mine. The issue about google or twitter makes sense but isn't something that I'd thought about. Luckily, this didn’t happen to me. In terms of details of the day:

    The big hit was Ning. I created a network to house the session and all the links and documents associated with it. I also tried to promote discussion and sharing of content they created through the day. This served its purpose but also they were very interested in using it in their teaching. I ended up showing them how to create and manage a network later in the day. All session worked technically expect two:
    • Imagination Cubed didn’t work on the whole because it requires emailing the drawings between users. For some reason, accessing their emails to do this just wasn’t something they could get their heads around. Also, the concept of visualisation through drawing tools wasn’t something that many of them thought worthwhile. However, I still do so I going to find a better tool to use. This shouldn’t be hard.
    • Voicethread – I asked for some microphones and they provided some. However, the PCs didn’t have external speakers. In the end, we managed to cobble together a set of headphones or speakers for a few of them and had them work in groups but it didn’t work. I was sceptical whether it could work anyway with everyone in the same room, but I think it would have been ok if the equipment was there.

    Apart from that, when I asked them to explore delicious I got a shock when some of them tried to sign up and discovered that they had to create a yahoo account. This is new to me and annoying.

    From the feedback I received the sessions, the tools which were most popular are as follows:
    • Ning
    • Web 2.0 tools websites (I gave them a few good ones to explore)
    • Bubbl.us
    • Voicethread
    • Blogging
    • RSS

    To be honest it all pretty close although the following didn’t come out well:
    • Creatdebate
    • Googledocs
    • Twitter (disappointed about this)

    I’d be interested to hear how you structure your training.

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