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Using Social Software for Educational Purposes


by Joan Vinall-Cox, Ph.D. - http://joanvinallcox.wordpress.com/


The World Wide Web and computer-use in general have caused massive changes in how we communicate, and consequently, how we teach and learn. Currently, the Web has changed from a “read-only” environment to a “read/write” space where lack of technical knowledge is no longer a barrier. Anyone who can send and receive email has the skills required to be part of what is called Web 2.0, the Read/Write Web, or Social Media.


Web 2.0, the social web, is of special importance in education for two reasons:

1. It is a superb environment for teaching and learning as it allows, indeed almost demands, collaborative construction and sharing of projects and papers.

2. We must not abandon students to simply a youth-culture use of the social web. They are on it, they understand the technical aspects, but they need to balance what can be a rather unstructured space with an understanding of the possibilities for civil, educational, and business uses.



An Introduction to The Significance of the Social Media for Learning and Teaching

  • An Opening Education Report from Futurelab - by Martin Owen, Lyndsay Grant, Steve Sayers and Keri Facer

Regularly Updated Information and Ideas for Using Social Media in Education

In my blog, WebTools for Learners, I write regularly about new web applications and uses for educational purposes. To keep up-to-date, you can follow me there.


Uses of Wikis in Education



Uses of Blogs in Education

  • Explanation of blogs - http://www.commoncraft.com/blogs
    • Blogs can be set up to be individual or to have groups where everybody can post in the same blog. The teacher can maintain a single blog, allowing student comments, or can set up a group blog where all the members of the class can add posts.
    • Blogs can private by setting them up so the readership is limited to the students, or to he students and their parents
  • EduBlogs - especially for teaching - http://edublogs.org/  - powered by WordPress, free - http://edublogs.org/10-ways-to-use-your-edublog-to-teach/
  • Blogger - easy, familiar, free - https://www.blogger.com/start  - blogs here can also be set up to be individual or to have groups to post on.

Other Uses of Social Software - (Knowledge Management)

RSS and Aggregation

Social Bookmarking

  • An explanation of social bookmarking - http://www.commoncraft.com/bookmarking-plain-english
  • Using del.icio.us, or other social bookmarking tools, you can save links and access them from any online computer.
    • You can also categorize or “tag” them for future searching
  • You can share all or parts of your collection, a feature which can very useful for sharing a collection of links with classes
  • Using tags, you can also find URLs saved by others on the topic you are searching in, which can help you in your search.

 Tagging & Folksonomy

  • "Tagging" or "labelling" are a way of organizing links called "folksonomy" - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Folksonomy
    • Tags (or labels) can be used with photo collection sites, social bookmarking, blogs, and many other online activities.
  • The basics - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tag_%28metadata%29 
  • Flickr is a photo-sharing space and tool where you “tag” (or label) your own photos so people can search through public photos
  • Blogs often allow writers to tag their articles - as can be seen in my blog - WebTools For Learners - on the right, under my Twitter links


Other Applications for Educational Communities




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