Role of Teachers
Role of Students
E-Learning Trends
  Overview
  Web 2.0
  Application of Web 2.0 Tools in E-learning
  Blogs
  Teachers and Blogging
  Wikis
  RSS Feeds /Syndication
  RSS Feeds Aggregators
  Podcasting
  Getting Started with Podcasting
  How to create a podcast?
E-Learning in School


Overview

The e-learning industry is very dynamic so innovative technologies are constantly being introduced. Many new features and components have contributed to a new dimension of e-learning.

Web 2.0

The term "Web 2.0" refers to the ever-changing web designs that aim to enhance collaboration and discussion through a creative channel. "Web 2.0" features can be used in the classroom in order to enhance teamwork and in order to make lessons more engaging. Technologies such as social networking websites, wikis, communication widgets, and tools that support collaborative and shared learning, collectively contribute to the new adoption of Web 2.0.

Application of Web 2.0 Tools in E-learning

We have comprised a list of tools that can be used in schools to ensure collaborative learning through discussions and knowledge sharing among students. Teachers should also use these tools in order to coordinate with other teachers, students, and parents. Instructors are encouraged to use these technologies for administrative aids and knowledge management.
  • Blogs
  • Wikis
  • Podcasts
  • RSS Feeds
  • Social Networking
  • Social Tagging and Bookmarking
  • Personal Learning Environments
Blogs

A blog (derived from "Web log") is a website where a user can create numerous entries. It is similar to an online journal. Students can write their own entries, link to other examples on the web, upload videos, and comment on other student's blogs. Teachers can create a private community so students can share with one another while maintaining privacy.

Teachers can use blogs as an online journal tool or they can use it as a way for students to answer specific questions. Blogs are a form of asynchronous discussion and teachers have the ability to directly comment on student's blogs.

Blogs can be easily created on websites such as www.blogger.com or www.wordpress.com. These websites offer complimentary services and teachers should make sure to set proper privacy controls. Blogs can also be created through learning management systems and can be properly managed in this domain.

Teachers and Blogging

Blogs can aid teachers in course management and create an organized platform for a class to meet online. Teachers can publish information such as:
  • Assignments and due dates of assignments
  • Post links related to classroom discussions
  • Post general class information (field trip days etc.)
  • Post a summary of current in-class learning
Some of the benefits of using blogs include:
  • Blogs can be easily accessed without any time or geographic barrier
  • Blogs can be easily edited and thus keep information constantly up-to-date
  • Students will not be able to change the content of other students like wikis. This is a good space for journal entries and assignments.
  • Parents can have access and be kept up-to-date with information being taught in the classroom.
Wikis

In a collaborative leaning system, wikis allow students to log in and edit a project assignment, leave comments for each other (or the team) and see the transformation of collaborative writing as it occurs.

Similarly, wikis help teachers in tracking changes made to the project/assignment; RSS feeds (or similar notifications) ensure this task.

Use of wikis for collaborative learning, reduces costs associated with time and space (as only computer and Internet takes care of entire infrastructure need).

RSS Feeds /Syndication

RSS stands for Rich Site Summary or Real Simple Syndication.

Acronym for Rich Site Summary or Real Simple Syndication or Real Simple Syndication, RSS Feeds/Syndication is proving to be an indispensable technology that helps information specialists and educators in facilitating a smoother and faster e-learning.

The innovative feature of RSS Feeds is that it generates coded pages (called weblogs under appropriate subject lines) from a vast pool of websites; readers, instead of searching each and every blogs, can access a pool of information from these weblogs, therefore the name "Real Simple Syndication."

RSS Feeds Aggregators

Aggregator, a software, capable of collecting feeds (as per search keys entered by teacher) relevant to instruction curriculum, is of immense utility to a teacher as he/she:
  • Is relieved of laborious search of individual blogs.
  • Can open accumulated feeds when required.
  • Can file the accumulated feeds for future use.
  • Can delete the unwanted information from the files.

Podcasting

"Podcast is a sum total of sequential audio or video digital-media files obtained through Web feeds, syndicated and downloadable over the Internet into portable media players and personal computers."

The difference between Podcast and RSS is that Podcast is a higher order feature with audio and video utilities.
  • Podcasts enable engaging learning through multimedia content; interest groups in e-learning can access the relevant content as and when they need.
  • Podcasts, being syndicated, allow subscribers (either teachers/students/parents) updated information content.
Getting Started with Podcasting

How to listen to podcasts?

Listening to podcasts requires RSS technology, which aggregates relevant multimedia content and transfers it to the listener's personal computer.

On his turn, the listener can smoothly transfer the content to an MP3 player (iPod or Personal digital assistant (PDA) for convenient listening.

How to create a podcast?

Following are the steps in teachers and students can simply create podcasts:
  • Employ a digital audio recorder or an MP3 player to record sound.
  • Feed the recorded sound to a computer.
  • Bring desired edits to sound, splash with music, voice-overs or other audio features using audio software.
  • Make the final product MP3 compatible. Place this MP3 compatible audio file on a Web server.
  • Enable RSS technology, whish allows listeners an easy and fast access to this MP3 feed.
 

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