Friday, February 03, 2006

Web 2.0 applications for educators on pbwiki

Over the summer break, I had a play with using pbwiki. Learning by doing is what I do best so I transferred a draft of a document I started putting together late last year. The document lists the many Web 2.0 applications that are turning up on Techcrunch and other blogs that I follow. I have sorted the applications into categories like blogging tools, collaboration & knowledge sharing, multimedia audio, visual and collation, mobile applications including MoSoSos, Wikis etc. Although the site is still ‘in the process of being constructed’ it now easier for me to follow what all these applications, tools, platforms are for and how they may be usefully applied by educators towards improving learning opportunities for their students. Another pbwiki site provides a good explanation of the applications & theories behind social software.

pbwiki has shown up on several blogs written by techie educators and it seems to the wiki that is especially recommended for use by primary school level students. So I applied for a password and started up a wiki on Web 2.0 applications for educators. The set up process took all of 2 minutes. Learning how to use the wiki took me a few tries but once I worked out how to get text to be underlined, bold, boxed and hyperlinks to display, I was away. This took about half an hour relying only on the instructions provided by pbwiki. Over the last couple of months or so, I have copied & pasted my original document on to the wiki. So if you would like to help maintain the wiki, just email me & I will email you the password providing you with editing rights.

At the moment, pbwiki does not have a mobile option but I can see a similar platform being build up for eportfolios to be delivered to a repository. We will need the following:-
  • a WYSIWYG text interface,
  • a simple way to upload pictures and
  • perhaps a set template for where things should go.
  • a mechanism for signalling that an update has been made by the student and then emailed to the tutor will also be helpful.
  • be mobile phone friendly to use
  • ability to not only archive but re-collate / organise content

Many of the content / knowledge sharing and WIKI tools that are listed in Web 2.0 applications for educators are possible candidates. I will need to work out a way to evaluate these tools with apprentices. Apprentices will need to upload photos & input text into their eportfolio using their phones. I can then evaluate the process with them to see how they easy or user friendly the software was to make use of. From my point of view, I will need to look at how reliable and valid the evidence collected in the eportfolio is towards completing the required unit standard.

I will need to think this through & then present a research proposal to the powers that be to see if CPIT will agree to the evaluations taking place. If anyone out there knows of a free application that will do what I have just described in the paragraph above and has worked with and evaluated it’s potential, please let me know.