Online Learning Activities, Web 2.0 Tools and Social Networking in the Online Classroom

Wow! What a great selection of readings this week. I enjoyed learning more about different web 2.0 tools and activities that can be used in the online classroom in Ko & Rossen’s book and sharing information about Social Networks as a learning tool in our discussion form.

While reading about translating traditional classroom activities into the online realm, the theme of “past, present, and future” kept floating through my mind and I asked the following questions:
What online tools have been used in the past? Why are they still around? Which ones didn’t work? What tools do we use today? Why do we use them? Will they be replaced in the future? What new technologies will be introduced in the coming years? How will they transform the online classroom experience?

Additionally, I often thought back to our discussion of choosing an activity first, then the learning tool. With so many new online offerings, it is easy to want to find activities to fit a certain tool. The danger in this is using trend, instead of teaching to guide a lesson. This has been a big takeaway from the class so far!

I was also intrigued by the large number of learning resources that were mentioned in Teaching Online. I visited MIT Open CourseWare site and am existed to incorporate some of the materials into future classroom lessons. I also had forgot that many museum’s offer large online database with photos, articles and simulations. I’ve added the Louvre’s to my list to check out.

One thing that was not mentioned as a learning tool was the idea of creating online magazines with free programs like Issu. This is something that I’ve been exploring as a way to present course material in an interactive but familiar fashion. All you need is an existing PDF or Powerpoint slides and then upload them to the site. Once created, the magazine can easily be embedded into course management systems or learning blogs.

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