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Thursday, 29 October 2009

Research the Web 2.0 Way

Research plays an important role in the education of students. The development of  a research skills program is one of the LRC’s many important objectives for SY 09/20.

This year we have taken advantage of the wide range of Web 2.0 tools available to support and enhance research work with students. Students are learning more about how to search the web efficiently and effectively, while at the same time evaluating the sources they encounter. Web searching and evaluation are now taught utilising the 21st Century web fluency tutorials and hands on challenges, in combination with the pertinent videos from Brainpop.

One of the most exciting developments in research this year is the introduction of Diigo, a powerful social bookmarking application. Diigo enables students to form learning groups and networks, bookmark, tag and annotate web pages online, share their findings and annotations with their research groups, as well as search the bookmarks and annotations of others interested in the same topics.

In the 8th grade Twitter is being used along with the hashtag #abcict to record nuggets of information in 140 characters or less, forcing students to be succinct in their note taking. They are also using Twipic to upload photographs to their Twitter stream. The entire grade can then access the research as part of the #abcict stream. 7th grade used Google Chat to accomplish a similar feat in small groups, and later on this year, some classes will be using Today’s Meet to do the same.

An updated version of Noodlebib is being used to create notecard from these collaborative streams of information, as well as create outlines and citations. The 8th grade presentations based on all this research, will then be constructed and delivered using Prezi, a very exciting web application for delivering dynamic presentations both on and offline.

It’s a fact that the number of powerful web applications that can be harnessed for educational purposes is rising quickly. Educators from around the world are quick to identify those which are relevant to their work and together with students incorporate them as a part of authentic 21st century learning experiences, which are dynamic, meaningful, and often collaborative.

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