...because open source matters

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2.0 or not 2.0: that is the question…

Examples? One of the best known examples of Web 2.0 is Facebook; a website and later a web community started by Mark Zuckerberg. Mark started Facebook in 2004 – for the purpose of connecting Harvard University’s alumnae. At that time Mark was a sophomore at Harvard University.

Three years later, Microsoft bought Facebook for $15 billion. To date, Mark has not returned as a student to the College. However Facebook statistic reports that Facebook has become the world’s most popular social-networking site with 200 million active users in February 2009. Furthermore, More than 100 million users log on to Facebook at least once each day. More than two-thirds of Facebook users do not attend college. The fastest growing demographic is those 35 years old and older (the age of university professors for instance).

Collective production. Wikipedia, Wikiversity, YouTube, Flickr, MySpace, gSites, Blogger are other bright Web 2.0 examples. All of them use the web as a platform to harness collective production of users to build products with huge educational value or potential.

Is it possible to utilize Web 2.0 potential in an educational tutor/mentor environment?

Sure; numerous teachers and institutions are using web 2.0 for their academic activities. However, that is more exception than a rule. To paraphrase William Ford Gibson’s sentence: Web 2.0 is already in the academic community - it is just unevenly distributed. (The future is already here - it is just unevenly distributed).

Instructional environment? However, can Wikipedia, YouTube or FaceBook be used as an instructional environment?

Answer. Wikipedia is the biggest and the fastest growing encyclopedia, YouTube can provide us with brilliant educational videos and FaceBook can help us connect with our peers or stay connected with alumnae, or with eminent experts... Although there is enormous potential the answer is no. These tools and communities can be extremely helpful supplements to educational programs, but they do not have learning goals and appropriate feedback ((Guidance that a well mentored e-course can provide, Cole, Foster 2007).

Blended? Since an E-learning course has learning goals and appropriate feedback (mentor), can we blend an eLearning course with Web 2.0 tools and communities?

Integration. Sure. Modern Course Management Systems as Moodle have numerous Web 2.0 features like wiki, peer assessment, groups and groupings… Furthermore most of the Web 2.0 applications can be, not just linked, but integrated into a Moodle course.

Old and New. However, in a traditionally structured course only an instructional designer and/or mentor have rights to make changes like start a new activity or make a new group. Furthermore, users have to come to a specific course to do a specific activity and if they participate in more than a few communities/activities… they will find it time consuming and probably annoying. It is not very convenient to visit numerous courses, remember numerous web addresses/links – especially in a world with competition from FaceBook which provides users with all they need in just one click. Or even better, they can integrate FaceBook into their iGoogle page – together with all e-gadgets they like (Twitter, Facebook…).

Personal Learning Environment is a system that (according Wikipedia) helps learners take control of and manage their own learning. PLE includes support for learners to set their own educational objectives, manage their learning, and manage content and communication. Since a Web 2.0 framework allows us almost unlimited customizability in web interfaces and combines almost all educational, communicational & working tools, PLE has become part of personal web environment.

LMS vs PLE. Learning Management Systems have numerous features of 'the old educational system '. For example, a teacher makes decisions about what, how and when information will be learned and everything is centralized. On the other hand, a Personal Learning Environment is almost 100% controlled by students. Students makes decisions about what, how and when material will be learned and their PLEs are completely (or almost completely) decentralized agglomerations of tools chosen by a student.

Combination? Although completely different, it seams that LMS and PLE make perfect complements; a combination of the 2 could give you the freedom to customize your web/e-learning environment with guidance provided by well designed (and well mentored) moodle courses.

Can we personalize the Moodle interface? Or can we add a Moodle course into a Personal learning environment?

Goodle & Moogle. Moodle allows us to customize the interface. Since recently we can integrate Google applications (gDocs, gSites, gMail and gCalendar, into Moodle ( Moode-Google Integration "plugin" can be downloaded from http://moodle-google.googlecode.com/files/google.zip) and synchronize Google and Moodle users’ databases. Furthermore, we can integrate news, forum, and dictionary from moodle coursed into iGoogle page.

Everything you need in one place.

A good way to go. Right?

What are your thoughts?