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Padova, 17 April 2008


Using Web 2.0 tools for CMC

Sarah Guth Lisa Griggio









Web 2.0 is characterised by what can generically be called ‘social software’: different types of software that enable people to collaborate and create communities using computer-mediated communication. The tools can promote different types of communication: synchronous and asynchronous, one-to-one, one-to-many, or many-to-many. They can be used to share and create different media, from text (blogs and wikis) to images (image blogs) to audio (podcasting) and video (YouTube) to contextual maps (C-map). Given the information overload created by the exponential growth of content on the web, other Web 2.0 tools can be used to help learners filter and manage information on the Web (social bookmarking and syndication feeds). What is particularly interesting about social software is the widespread use it has achieved in a very short time, especially among young people, i.e. the so-called Digital Natives (Prensky, 2001) or Net Generation (Oblinger & Oblinger, 2005).




The aim of this workshop is to introduce participants to the numerous Web 2.0 tools freely available online, often using remote servers, to show how they have been and are being used in various academic settings. Participants will also have the opportunity to consider and discuss how the tools can be exploited in various language learning contexts.





Participants will have a general understanding of the different types of Web 2.0 tools available online for implementing computer-mediated communication projects and those for managing Web content as well. Participants will leave the workshop with concrete ideas about how they can adopt Web 2.0 tools and social software in their own contexts to enhance their students’ learning.





This is a paper-free workshop (except for the  handout you received at the workshop) since we have decided to exploit Web 2.0 to provide you with resources. We hope this will encourage you to start the process of familiarization with these tools.


The wiki 

This wiki is one resource. You can access the contents created by participants in the Eurocall 2007 and Padova workshops (see the sidebar) as well as the tool-pages where many resources are provided (again, see the sidebar). You are also encouraged to contribute to this wiki as you explore the world of Web 2.0 and find new, interesting ways to use these tools. For example, if you implement the tools in your teaching, please add what your doing to the various tool pages or create a new page. To edit this wiki all you need to do is log in using the password workshop. If you want to play around with wiki editing, please go use the sandbox we have created. The sandbox is for everyone's experiments. 

Before you start exploring, you might want to check out the tips page. If you learn anything new and useful that's not already there, please add your tips to this page!



Another resource is a list of bookmarks on del.icio.us. The link is http://del.icio.us/lamericaana/WorkshopOE There you will find bookmarks of actual uses of these tools in different disciplines, not only language learning, to get ideas about how to implement them in education. Again, should you find examples of these tools used in education, please save them on delicious and tag them with the WorkshopOE tag to share them with the rest of us. In this way, our network on del.icio.us can provide us all with an ever-growing list of examples.




In order to use most of the tools, you need an account, i.e. an email, username and password. Therefore, to help get you started in your experimentation with Web 2.0 we've created accounts for you in several of the tools: del.icio.us, diigo, bloglines, pbwiki, wikispaces, slideshare, googledocs, YouTube, TeacherTube, Flickr. Participants in all the workshops have access to these usernames and passwords so in your exploration you may find something they've already done! To see this information, download a .pdf file by clicking accounts_Web_2_0.pdf.







10.00 – 10.15




Presentation of the workshop




10.15 – 11.15




Journey into the galaxy of Web 2.0: Presentation of the tools and how they are used for CMC




11.15 - 11.30




Coffee break




11:30 - 12:15




Group activity: making your own proposal




12:15 – 13.00




Presentation of group proposals and discussion




Web 2.0 for CMC: tools and examples



This table provides examples of how Web 2.0 can be used in the classroom. It is in no way exhaustive and you are asked to edit the table  as you find new ways to exploit social software and Web 2.0 in educational settings.


Main Activity Didactic Model Tools
Sharing Media
  • access existing media for lessons, class discussions, class projects
  • teacher creates materials for students to access and discuss
  • students create and share mdia
  • blogs, wikis, Flickr, YouTube, podcasts
  • podcasts, videos
  • Flickr, YouTube, podcasts
Building Contents
  • students collaboratively create contents for project-based work
  • wiki, C-map, googledocs, podcasts, videos
Managing Sources
  • students learn to manage the information overload on the Web by building knowledge that fits their specific needs
  • students create a distributed research network for project-based work
  • teacher uses feeds to keep track of student progress
  • RSS feeds and feed readers such as Bloglines, Netvibes, Sage to receive constant updates; i-Tunes of Juice to download podcasts
  • social bookmarking (del.icio.us) and social annotation (diigo)
  • RSS feeds
  • students express their thoughts, ideas and opinions and complete tasks
  • students complete tasks and share ideas
  • telecollaboration projects and exchanges
  • students organize seminars for presenting the results of group research
  • personal blogs (interconnected with RSS feeds if desired)
  • course blog
  • Skype, IM, blogs (used like a forum), forums and wikis
  • Second Life
N.B. Tools and activities can (and often should) be integrated and blogs and wikis are useful tools for providing a 'hub' for this integration.



Group activity: BUILDING A WEB 2.0 TASK


Groups: 5 attendants  (feel free to make groups as you like!)


Step 1 (10 mins.):  Establish the general context for your mock task using the flash cards, choosing one card from each group.

Step 2 (15 mins.):  Brainstorm ideas for the task. You may want to consider, for example:


  • How will students interact with the tools / each other / the teacher?


  • What are students going to do?


  • What will the role of the teacher be?


  • What are the technical requirements? (e.g. broadband, installing software, technicians, other equipment such as microphones, i-pod, etc.)


  •  What are the proposed learning outcomes?


Step 3 (20 mins.):  Build the task. With the poster and materials you have been given, build the task on the poster and prepare to present it to the rest of the group. In the poster, the group should point out:


  • the main steps of the task,


  • who does what and when (students and teachers),


  • Web 2.0 tools useful in each step,


  • expected output from the students at each step.


 Step 4 (45 mins.): Group presentations and discussion


Group Output

Here, with your consent, we would like to publish photographs of your proposals together with a brief description.

Group 1

Group 2

Group 3

Group 4

Group 5

Group 6


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