Friday, January 11, 2008

Try Podcasting!

I'm all fired up after creating my first podcast on a session from the High School English seminar at Mallya Aditi International School, Bangalore. It's now up on iTunes too!

It was such a thrill to create one; and with teachers asking me about what podcasts are, their relevance in an educational context, and how they could go about creating their own, I've been thinking about sharing some basics on Podcasts and Podcasting - what it is, and how teachers can get started with this fairly simple technology for sharing audio artifacts - interviews, personal reflections, seminar sessions - with students and the world at large. The great thing is that one can do this with minimal technology investment (an audio recorder is probably all you will need to spend on if you do not have one already. Most laptops come with a built-in microphone).

Fortunately for me, just as I sat down to write this article, I stumbled upon this fabulous site that contains all the information one needs to get started - from a simple, easy-to-read-and-comprehend article on what podcasting is, to a step-by-step guide, and several other relevant links thrown in for good measure, such as those on "Podcasting in Education", and "Podcast for Teachers".

If you do take the time to go through the articles and links on the site, and give podcasting a try, please do share your thoughts and experiences.

Science 2.0

Yet another space that admits to a web 2.0 avatar is Science!

Here's an amazing Scientific American article I came across this morning - Science teachers, please take note! It's called 'Science 2.0: Great New Tool, or Great Risk?' which is not just an article but a web 2.0 "experiment" in "networked journalism", since the article itself will be re-written with views of all those who comment on it. Probing the role of open, collaborative technologies such as blogs and wikis within an inherently "secretive" research communtiy, the issues that the article is urging readers and contributors to look at (in the context of scientific journalism) --

  • What do you think of the article itself? Are there errors? Oversimplifications? Gaps?

  • What do you think of the notion of "Science 2.0?" Will Web 2.0 tools really make science much more productive? Will wikis, blogs and the like be transformative, or will they be just a minor convenience?

  • Science 2.0 is one aspect of a broader Open Science movement, which also includes Open-Access scientific publishing and Open Data practices. How do you think this bigger movement will evolve?

  • Looking at your own scientific field, how real is the suspicion and mistrust mentioned in the article? How much do you and your colleagues worry about getting “scooped”? Do you have first-hand knowledge of a case in which that has actually happened?

  • When young scientists speak out on an open blog or wiki, do they risk hurting their careers?

  • Is "open notebook" science always a good idea? Are there certain aspects of a project that researchers should keep quite, at least until the paper is published?

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Creative Web 2.0 Learning

[I posted this on and hence the rather long drawn-out intro to Web 2.0]

Web 2.0 is a buzzword that many of you may have come across in your wanderings around the Internet. In fact, too, is using Web 2.0 technologies like blogging and tagging, to facilitate bringing people together to discuss issues, share and organize (through tags and categories) resources, and participate in a common space.

Among the common Web 2.0 technologies are blogs, wikis, RSS, tag-sharing (folksonomies) tools like, mashups (bringing together information from various sites to create a more "unified" or "integrated" experience, like in Google Maps). Social networking sites like Facebook & Orkut, and video/photo sharing sites like Flickr & YouTube which bring together elements of the aforementioned technologies are all part of the "Web 2.0" revolution.

Probably the most important "affordances" of Web 2.0 are sharing, collaboration and the ease with which anyone can create/publish content (text, audio, video, or a combination of these) on the internet. This new generation Web is a great leveler, in some sense, where one does not have to be a web developer or geeky programmer to publish his/her thoughts, stories, artwork, stories, photos, video clips, on the Internet.

(You can find tons of information on "web 2.0" on the Internet, including videos on youtube. I found this slideshow and this one interesting, although someone completely unaware of the concept may find it hard to get it without any accompanying commentary or notes, but they may be worth a viewing, anyway).

After that rather long drawn-out introduction, I guess I should come to what I really wanted to share - an interesting slideshow titled "Creative Web 2.0 Learning" which focuses on the idea of "Library 2.0" but also describes in several interesting slides the meaning of web 2.0 technologies in education.

Slide #8 is referring to this impressive youtube video - The Machine is Us/ing Us which provides a definitive look at the web 2.0 interaction paradigm. I think slide #16 is a good description of web 2.0, and slide #24 provides a wonderful look at where education is, or should be, headed in this century, especially when we have at our disposal these great technologies of the "read-write" web (another way of describing "web 2.0") --

* Formal Learning Spaces --> Informal Learning Spaces
* Mass Learning --> Personalized Learning
* Competitive (or I would call this "Individual") --> Collaborative learning & assessment
* Restricted & Constructed --> Creative & Extended
* Instruction --> Personal Author & Innovator
* Content --> Knowledge & Understanding