Demonstrating the potential of Web 2.0 software

Andrew Rosenthal (LS)

Web 2.0 empowers student participation in many activities. Unimaginable possibilities (just three years ago) are now commonplace opportunities for interaction, sharing, participation and ownership of virtual spaces. Social annotation software is a relatively unexplored medium with tremendous educational potential. This talk will initially introduce the delegates to the software showing some of its capability. It will then move on to a preliminary study which is currently being undertaken this semester.

Students were involved in a web based information searching exercise in which they identified the best web site for their topic and then highlighted technical terms and explained them using sticky notes annotations. Through this exercise the students become aware of the fragility (and often unreliability) of web based sources compared to refereed sources. Students are required to research and substantiate claims made on the web with appropriate scientific sources. Plagiarism is deterred by reducing the ease of cutting and pasting from the internet into essays which often result from similar research exercises.

Web 2.0 is an everyday phenomena to most of our students, yet it is hardly present in their experience of learning. This talk encourages educational practitioners to participate in social annotation software. Measured use of such software has capabilities in learning and teaching which previously have not existed.