Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Web 2.0 on the Move

There is absolutely no doubt Web 2.0 transformed the educational system forever. Opening up the possibility for open, online communication and collaborative work means idea sharing, technique borrowing, and mind expanding that transcends geography, history, and culture. And beyond the technicality of the transformation, while we are gathering online to share and mingle, the bits of our cultures we leave behind are adding to the educational processes in different places and circumstances, and expanding globalization to the formation of educational material and principles.

Web-based working and learning tools are plenty, but here is a Top 5 list of my favourite Web 2.0 tools that make learning fun and creative. There are thousands of tools out there, but these are special because they support different styles and inclinations in learning. Mostly, I love these for their convenience and creativity, but in the larger picture I am thrilled by the way they bring people together for the express purpose of more interesting and engaged learning.

Google: Tried, tested and true, there is no better way to collaborate on a working project than the Google suite of tools that includes Docs, Sheets, and Presentations. These programs have assisted my work flow with remote colleagues by allowing us to plan projects, share ideas, implement emergency plans, and stay on top of budgets. The functionality is similar to any word processing program, meaning the learning curve is short and troubleshooting is intuitive.

Educaplay: Turn any lesson into games, riddles, puzzles, or other activities. Who doesn't love a great game? There are so many ways in education students are primed for failure -- this is site offers endless possibilities for success with fun, interactive, gamified ways to bring information to the table.

Inkelwriter: There is a reason storytelling exists in so many cultures the world over, and Inkelwriter lets you capitalize on the ubiquitous nature of teaching and learning in this way. Devise, organize, and structure stories in a focused way so tangents stay useful and your subject remains on track. Imagine the possibilities!

Magisto: Imagine a magical force grabbing the most important moments from your photos and video clips and compiling them into one focused, meaningful one-minute video. This is Magisto. Upload your material and the thing just takes over and finds the material that brings your point home.

Zunal: Don your cape and unsheathe thine sword--it is time for a webquest! Learners take a scavenger hunt-like tour of the Internet exploring a particular topic. Choose from prewritten quests or create your own, to make learning dynamic.

Once again, there are so many out there that are amazing--it is hard to narrow it down. The main thing to note is the availability of Web 2.0 tools and the way they remove limitations on how students and teachers interact, and on barriers to learning. Whether you believe the research on "learning styles" or other ways of categorizing learners, I think we can all agree certain activities appeal to certain people and these tools can help integrate learning among elements of our favourite activities.

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