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Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The Web & eLearning 2.0 Phenomenon

The effect that web technologies can be having on commerce, media, and business are indeed quite significant – sometimes it can border close to being revolutionary. I have to agree with Richard McManus on the fact that outside of the 'edublogosphere', there's been little coverage of the impact it is having on education. Across different regions, I definitely see that the potential of blogs, media-sharing services and other social software are getting integrated within e-learning frameworks successfully – all these have the effect of greater empowerment for all involved in elearning. I have been reasonably involved in a few leading edge elearning initiatives to confirm this. Steve O’Hear elaborates –"The traditional approach to e-learning has been to employ the use of a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), software that is often cumbersome and expensive - and which tends to be structured around courses, timetables, and testing. That is an approach that is too often driven by the needs of the institution rather than the individual learner. In contrast, e-learning 2.0 takes a 'small pieces, loosely joined' approach that combines the use of discrete but complimentary tools and web services - such as blogs, wikis, and other social software - to support the creation of ad-hoc learning communities. Look at these :Blogging is getting leveraged by students – both for individual publishing to focused community efforts like even book publishing. Even podcasting seems to be gaining significant currency. Apple, focusing substantially on the education sector has tied up with Stanford to create the Stanford iTunes University - which provides a range of digital content (some closed and some publicly accessible) that students can subscribe to using Apple's iTunes software. What’s novel herein - Swap 'user-generated content' for 'learner- generated content' and you soon get the picture.Flickr is also finding use in the education community – students/instructors use the features of annotating and discussing on Flickr. Myspace has almost gained the status of a must for students all over and videosharing sites like Youtube are beginning to get used. No wonder why Google worked out this deal. Clearly education/elearning would look very different within a decade – opening the gates for new technologies, players and techniques.

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Sadagopan's Weblog on Emerging Technologies, Trends,Thoughts, Ideas & Cyberworld
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