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Using Social Software for Educational Purposes


by Joan Vinall-Cox, Ph.D.


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 is morphing 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.


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 Excellent Introduction to Social Software and Learning: An Opening Education report from Futurelab

by Martin Owen, Lyndsay Grant, Steve Sayers and Keri Facer

The first 12 pages introduce the reader to what social software is, and the remainder discuss why it is so significant for education.



Uses of Wikis



Uses of Blogs



Other Uses of Social Software - (Knowledge Management)

RSS and Aggregation

Social Bookmarking

  • Using Furl or del.icio.us, or other social bookmarking tools, you can save links in your account 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, which can be used with classes
  • You can see URLs saved by others on the topic you are searching in, which helps you in your search.


Tagging & Folksonomies


Applications for Educational Communities



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