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Purdue students find ways to utilize Web 2.0 in K-16 classrooms

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Teams of Purdue University students have created an online teacher resource for utilizing Web 2.0 technologies like Facebook, Google Docs, Flickr and Twitter in K-16 classrooms.

Timothy Newby, professor of educational technology, charged the students of the “Introduction to Educational Technology and Computing” class with investigating 34 different Web 2.0 technologies and figuring out how to put them to use in a classroom. Each team, which included members in Turkey and Korea, then developed an online resource, or “wiki chapter,” for teachers that detailed how to use the application.

“I wanted them to learn about applying Web 2.0 technologies within a learning situation. They actually did this by developing the wiki chapters,” Newby said. “Moreover, they used various types of online discussions, videoconferences and so on to work with partners in other countries. They also learned what a team effort is all about. Working under these conditions wasn’t always easy, but it was amazing to me how the project managers got their teams organized and motivated and how they executed their plans. This is a skill that these students can directly use in their future occupations.”

Including students in Turkey and Korea enabled Newby to incorporate an international component by using videoconferencing equipment and electronic discussion boards.

“Our Korean partners have been instrumental in the development of this project, and I think what I have enjoyed the most is watching the entire group work together, create an amazing project and move forward in such a cooperative fashion,” said Ashley Robbins, a student in the class.

“Within Purdue and also the College of Education, we have a strong desire for our students to gain a more global perspective about the world in which they live,” Newby said. “One direct way to do that is to work on a common problem with others who can bring a different perspective. It is always a benefit for our students to see different perspectives and viewpoints.”

As part of this assignment, the teams will present their findings at the International Network of Students Investigating Technologies for Education (INSITE) event set for 6-9 p.m. Thursday (Dec. 4). This showcase of student work will be in Stewart Center, Room 310, on the Purdue campus. The event is free and open to the public. Provost Randy Woodson will kick off the showcase at 6:30 p.m.

“They have created a great, useable product,” Newby said. “This wiki repository will be something that people all over the world will be able to access and use. If you want to know about the application of Web 2.0 technologies within education, the EDCI 270 Purdue wiki will be the place to access and use as a valuable resource. These students were the ones who developed the first version, and it is something they can be proud of.”

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