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Teaching and Learning with Emerging Technologies. The reasons that prompt us to acknowledge Web 2.0 technologies as powerful learning tool are the ease of use and the freedom to share.

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Introduction

Teaching and Learning with Emerging Technologies Table of Contents 1. Introduction 3 2. Explaining choice of technologies 3 3. Rationale behind the material 5 4. How the materials should be used 8 References 11 1. Introduction The produced educational material supports a unit on Web 2.0 technologies, as part of the optional course unit 'Web applications' which is included in the Italian National Curriculum of secondary education. The targeted audience is 16-17 year-old students, who have basic ICT skills, including web-navigation, downloading and uploading files and file management. In addition, the targeted students have experience in CMS such as Moodle since they are using it for most of their course units. The face-to-face sessions are held once a week for 1 and a half hour. 2. Explaining choice of technologies As a group we decided to use Moodle which was compulsory for our course and blog, which we thought was an emerging technology appropriate for our educational aims. Moodle is a free CMC, based on the social constructivist pedagogy. It is easy to use and customize, with readily available documentation and consistent method for online content and communication. The fact that it addresses limited people, is not searchable on the net and needs authentication most of the times makes it more secure, but at the same time limits communication with broader audiences. ...read more.

Middle

Taking into consideration our learners' age, we assumed that they would have already acquired basic ICT skills, mainly web-navigational ones that they would enable them to construct the new knowledge related to Web 2.0. Use discovery or guided discovery approaches: Learners explore, experiment, research, ask questions and seek answers (Alessi and Trollip, 2001). The material that we have produced is supportive to the classroom's teaching rather than instructional. It provides students with useful resources (journal entries on Web 2.0, readings, useful links, videos, tutorials) and discussion forums where they can retrieve information on the topic they are interested in. Active learning through authentic learning activities: Learning environments should be embedded in authentic and real-world contexts where learners learn by doing (Geiger, 1991). Our students are assigned with activities such as reflection and discussion on readings, production and uploading of podcasts and creation of group blogs. We have used real-world environments such as forums (Moodle), podcasting sites (Youtube) and blogging spaces (Blogger) as to motivate them in real context activities, personally relevant to them, and to enhance their creativity. Self-directed learning: Learners should be given choices and the opportunity to be more autonomous in their actions (Alessi and Trollip, 2001; Doolittle, 1999) and therefore they develop a sense of ownership of what is done. ...read more.

Conclusion

Currently, three sessions of the course are included in Moodle, but it is supposed to include all sessions and to be used throughout the course. Blog The blog will be used a bit differently from Moodle. It is focused on only one part of the course and namely "web 2.0 technologies." It can be accessed from within Moodle and it is created to serve primarily two purposes. The first purpose is that it can and should be used as a revision and resource page for web 2.0 technologies. It provides students with definitions of the term web 2.0, as well as definitions and examples of seven web 2.0 technologies. It also explains the difference of web 1.0 and web 2.0. Finally, it provides students with supporting material for web 2.0 technologies, such as videos from YouTube and supplementary reading for further knowledge. The second purpose of the blog is that it acts as an example of what the students can do in their final project, which is to create their own blog in groups. The blog becomes more interactive for students, with assigned activities, such as posting their comments on the blog and voting on the blog's poll. This way, the students are guided to act like readers and critics of blogs, before moving on to the stage where they have to become writers of their own blog. ...read more.

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