Teaching and Learning with Web 2.0 Tools

I am excited to be part of EDTEC498!

While I am finishing up a master’s degree in adult education with a certificate in distance education, I am still working full-time as a business administrator. Though my life at work takes place primarily in front of two large LCD displays, the organization itself has yet to take full advantage of the opportunity for an extended reach available through the use of Web 2.0 technologies. From a personal standpoint, the picture is much different, but it wasn’t always that way. I remember my first experience with myspace several years ago. My kids set up an account for me, but I could never figure out what to do with it other than keeping an eye on my kids’ myspace accounts! Becoming an online learner changed all that!

Now I use a variety of Web 2.0 tools to varying degrees for both social and academic purposes. I connect with family, friends, and peers on facebook and Skype while I use Google+ and hangouts as more of a professional connection. I have developed what I hope is a healthy profile and network on Linkedin where I contribute content and participate in discussions in several professional groups. After a year of debate, I also started this blog a few months ago. While it is far more time-consuming than I ever imagined, I have found the opportunities for and benefits from self-reflection that seem to accompany blogging to be invaluable. Actually, starting this month, I am a paid blogger as one of the new student bloggers for Penn State’s World Campus!

In addition to learning online through World Campus, I am also currently participating – albeit not as actively as I would like – in a MOOC (massive open online course) called Change: Education, Learning, and Technology. The primary methods of information sharing and interaction (that I  have discovered) for participants are Twitter, personal blogs, Moodlerooms, Google groups, and Google +. Compiling all of the blog posts with the #change11 hashtag in one central location allows participants to direct their own learning through the selection of threads that are most interesting to them.

I chose a course on Web 2.0 tools because I see interaction as the fundamental component of teaching and learning online – interaction with the material, interaction with the instructor/facilitator, and interaction among peers – and I believe that Web 2.0 tools facilitate and support that interaction as the methods for connecting. I am looking forward to learning more about Web 2.0 tools and their capabilities, but I also want to understand their links to pedagogical principles. When the decision is up to me, I want to be sure to select the optimal tool in support of the learning objectives.

3 responses to “Teaching and Learning with Web 2.0 Tools

  1. Thanks Deb,
    I think my confidence has grown just in the last couple of days. The article “Minds on Fire: Open education, the Long Tail, and Learning 2.0”
    states exactly what you mention. The blogger improves and become more fluid as they blog. As we move through the course, I believe I will grasp the concept better. Right now, I do not have a complete picture, the differences here and the discussion board are not shouting out to me. There is always next week.

  2. John, I know exactly what you mean! I even blogged about it here!

    First, I am definitely a novice blogger (still). Second, I continue the process of vetting out what a blog can be as well as what my blog is and could or should become. It’s not static like I expected, like a notebook. It’s more fluid and I think that it is changing me as much as I am changing it!

    Last semester I wrote that a blog really has the potential to be anything that the author wants it to be and I believe this range of capability means that, as tools, a blog and blogging hold great potential. The question then becomes fit to purpose.

    Last semester I also learned that writing this blog has changed the way that I write and I think it is because the audience changed. In other words, when blogging for a class, my entries tended to contain more and broader content while the entries of my peers had a more narrowed focus. Actually, they brought the difference to my attention and when they did, I realized that they were writing to fulfill their interpretation of the course expectations, but I was writing for public consumption. It is different…

    As far as putting yourself out there, I say DO IT! Then again, I know just how you feel. The suggestion was made for me to blog way back in May 2010 and you can see that I did not start this blog until July 2011! Keep thinking about it and everything will click into place :-)


  3. Originally posted by John Burton at http://www.personal.psu.edu/dam5283/blogs/edtec498a_-_debra_mynar/2012/01/introductory-post.html:

    Hi Debra,
    I have also thought about starting a blog. Even went so far as setting one up and that was as far as it went. There is so much negative information concerning school lunch (my career) that I thought I would use a blog to share with readers a different perspective. Maybe this course will give me that motivation or inspiration to take the next step. I think a defense mechanism might be a barrier to “putting myself out there”. Did you have any thoughts regarding that? Initially, I was a little intimidated with the discussion boards as I was posting an opinion on a subject new to me and my classmates were so intelligent. I recognized that they were very caring, after all they were teachers. That may be the difference between a social blog and a course discussion board. Look forward to reading your future posts.