International Conference Villach/Austria Sept. 23-35 2009 ICL (Interactive Computer Aided Learning) http://www.icl-conference.org/
Workshop: Exploring Web 2.0 to support online learning communities: where technology meets pedagogy
Giselle, Wendy, Jon and Karen, recently presented a workshop at the ICL2009 conference, currently in its twelfth year, at Villach in Austria. The aim of the workshop was to raise awareness of how Web 2.0 tools can support collaborative learning.
The three-hour, interactive workshop was facilitated by Jon and Wendy in Austria, with Giselle and Karen making real-time presentations and contributions to the workshop via Flashmeeting and other online tools. Twenty three international participants took part in the workshop, which was a mix of discussion and hands-on activities via participants’ WiFi enabled laptops. The participants really valued the opportunity to work together in a face to face environment and at the same time work through online activities.
Two weeks prior to the event, the organisers of ICL 2009 provided the names and e-mail addresses of the twenty eight participants who had registered for the event. On the same day they were invited via email to join a ‘Ning’ social network set up by Wendy. Using three profile questions, the organisers of the workshop were able to find out where people worked, what their interests were in Web 2.0 and what they hoped to get out of the workshop. This meant that the activities could be personalised for the participants prior to the workshop.
The workshop started with brief presentations from Jon and Wendy about the Open University and their own research interests, punctuated by a ‘speed-dating’ ice-breaker, to help everyone get to know each other. Giselle and Karen then joined the workshop via Flashmeeting and gave presentations from Milton Keynes on their research interests.
In the next activity, participants were invited to join the Ning social network (if they had not already done so) and explore its features, contributing their thoughts as blog postings within the Ning environment. (This ‘Ning’ activity was built on previous experience of its successful use at the 4th Blended Learning Conference at the University of Hertfordshire by Mark Russell.)
In the final activity, participants worked in small groups using a wiki. They were invited to choose from eight scenarios which each described a Web 2.0 tool used in an educational context. The groups were asked to consider the scenario in relation to issues chosen from a list provided in the wiki. They were asked to write a short commentary, in the wiki, on how these issues related to their chosen scenario. The issues and scenarios were then discussed in the final plenary.
Feedback from participants at the workshop was very positive, showing that people value the chance to try web 2.0 tools and discuss their use in education. These are just some of the participants’ feedback comments from the evaluation of the event.
• “Very interesting and useful to get to know these tools.”
• “Very good to use the tools that you talked about, direct in the workshop.”
• “Very interesting, great to discuss the use of these tools in ODL environment.”
• “Just what we expected.”
• “To be made online : )”
Link to the workshop’s ‘Ning’ social network http://tergou.ning.com – if interested then e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for an invite.
Link to the workshop’s wiki http://icl2009web2.pbworks.com – if interested then e-mail J.P.Rosewell@open.ac.uk for a password.
Link to workshop’s presentations http://www.slideshare.net/J.P.Rosewell/exploring-web-20-to-support-online-learning-communities-where-technology-meets-pedagogy
Technology and Education Research Group (TERG) blog http://www.open.ac.uk/blogs/terg/
The organisers would like to gratefully acknowledge the support of: COLMSCT, the ATELIER-D project, Regional Director Nick Berry, TERG and the Department of Communication and Systems for their sponsorship and financial support.