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Abstract: Studies involving the use of digital technologies in educational settings, based on the concept of Personal Learning Environments PLE , show the possibilities of enhancing educational processes through a pedagogical approach, which benefits from the affordances of technologies. We understand that a PLE is organized with tools, mechanisms, and activities that each student uses to read, produce and share. These actions are possible through different web 2. This study aims to foster educational practices with technologies in the context of the classroom from the perspective of the PLE. The research, based on a qualitative approach, is organized into two phases.
Thus, we understand that in one first moment the teachers can start using web 2. After, in a second moment, students can start to select and use web tools and services according to their learning necessities. This article is organized as follows: in section 2 we present the research context, which describes the educational setting; presents a reflection on frameworks for building web 2.
In section 3, we present the research path, which involves the presentation of our framework and its validation procedures in a school context.
We finish the paper by presenting the findings and making recommendations for future research. The research context This section presents the research context, involving a description of the educational setting based on data about the use of information and communication technologies in Brazilian schools.
We also present a study about frameworks for building web 2. However, the most frequent activities with the students are those that do not involve the use of computers and internet, such as practical exercises related to the content of the class, lectures, and reading comprehension. So, we can understand that the teachers are using the internet for personal and professional activities, but they need to improve the use in their teaching.
Besides, the results of ICT Education show that the students use the computer and internet frequently, but the main activity related to learning is research support. This shows that the potential of communication and interaction of web 2. The ICT Kids Online research shows that Brazilian students are using the internet for school research, but they also use it to communicate with friends.
We consider, then, that this context fosters the use of internet tools in an educational proposal. Thus, for us, it is necessary to show students how they can use web applications in their learning activities. This means that in the context of this work we recognize the importance of the teachers in showing different possibilities to the students on how they can improve their learning possibilities using the internet.
This way, the teachers have an important role in promoting activities that explore the potential of cyberspace as a learning space that foster production, distribution, and sharing of content and knowledge. This is our research focus. Bates says that web 2.
These elements are stated by several authors studying the characteristics of the users of the web. Pisani and Piotet indicate that current web users are no longer passive browsers, which only consume content provided by specialists. These new users, who are not satisfied with just browsing, but producing web content, are called web actors. Thus, we need to investigate how to use the potential of technology in the teaching and learning process of these subjects.
Frameworks for building web 2. The framework proposed by Torres-Kompen and Mobbs focuses in the use of a web 2. They understand it is necessary that the student chooses an application as a central component for the PLE. In their study, they present four different approaches for building a PLE, and each approach is based in a web 2.
The framework is based on constructivism as its theoretical foundation, and proposes a model to incorporate PLE building into teaching and learning processes.
Their research was conducted with a group of thirty year-old students enrolled in a first-year class of a secondary school. During the research, teachers and students faced some technical problems to create an account in some web tools, and it caused some dissatisfaction. They understand that web 2. One of the initial steps to addressing that challenge is the creation of a taxon- omy of Web 2. Accordingly, for the purpose of categorization of Web 2.
The first dimension refers to the type of Web 2. The third dimension represents cognitive processes which are part of the revised Bloom's taxonomy: Every social web service that will be further discussed can be posi- tioned in one or more intersections of these dimensions. For instance, the Web 2. Figure 1: The Bubbl.
Finally, the Google Docs tool is in the office applications category and is predominantly designed for collab- oration and sharing, with a potential to support cognitive functions like applying, analysing, evaluating and creating.
It should also be noted that the functions and cognitive processes, though often intertwined, may vary depending on how a particular Web 2. For example, tagging podcasts and videocasts using the Veotag application will primarily imply understanding and remembering on the part of the learner. On the other hand, if students need to insert tags and add their annotations to a podcast or a videocast, they will need to employ higher order cognitive processes like analyzing and creating.
Tools are not always exclusive to a single category, however; some tools can be associated with multiple categories for example, flowcharts also are used for collaboration and sharing.
Similarly, as suggested by multiple associations within the model, there are applications that are not explicitly included in any of the aforemen- tioned three categories, and are discussed elsewhere in the chapter, that potentially also deliver some of those functions.
For example, blogs, although primarily used for collaboration and communication, can make for a powerful knowledge organization tool. Although a variety of different social media types exist, the scope of this chapter will be Web 2. In the following subsections, we shall describe various types of Web 2.
Wikis A wiki is a set of interconnected and structured pages that provides a new dimension to information exchange and knowledge management. The first wiki was developed in and contained only text. Today's wiki systems such as MediaWiki and Wikispaces allow the user to add multimedia content and thus represent a substitute for personal web pages, forums, etc.
Owing to these advantages, wikis started to be actively used in the education domain even before the emergence of the Web 2.
Wikis allow users to create repositories of knowledge, interact with their peers, and participate in projects as part of a group Cole, Through asynchronous collaboration, content in the wiki is gradually expanded and improved with each entry. Using a wiki in an educational environment has three benefits: Wikis allow many users to participate in the preparation of in- structional material. Wikis are well suited for collaborative ac- tivities.
Students can use a wiki for collaborating on project documentation and tracking the execution of project activities. In addition, students can prepare a summary of literature read- ings and publish it on a common wiki page. The result of such educational activities is a critical review or a bibliography which can be useful for learning or revision of the teaching content.
Wikis allow different types of users to participate in their con- struction. When used for educational purposes, wikis can be effectively used by both teachers and students.
Teachers can use a wiki to publish lecture resources, post information related to the course, respond to student questions, etc. On the other hand, students can use a wiki to ask questions and comment on and thereby supplement the published educational re- sources.
Wikis foster centralization of e-activities. If a wiki is the only application that is used in the educational process, it serves as a focal point for implementation of collaborative e-activities.
However, if other Web 2. Blogs Originally conceived as a web log where individuals publish ideas, notes, links and comments, blogs have evolved into a social web service where students can learn in interesting and entirely new ways. In education, a student or teacher can use a blog as a personal diary on which the con- tents are published in reverse chronological order.
All blogs together make a subworld of user-generated content which is called the blog- osphere. Although blogs and wikis share several characteristics such as their ease of use and the variety of e-learning activities that can be im- plemented using them, these two types of web applications are concep- tually very different. For example, a wiki page can be edited by more than one user, while blog posts are usually only edited by a single user their owner.
Furthermore, blogs offer greater possibility of asynchro- nous interaction among students and between students and teachers by means of comments on published posts. Both teachers and students can benefit from using popular blogging tools or services like WordPress, TypePad, Blogger and Weebly. By using a blog students can publish their assignments, make critical reviews of literature, develop online materials for learning or even create a portfo- lio of their work.
Microblogs Microblogs are special types of blogs that possess extended social net- work features and which limit user posts to a small number of charac- ters for instance, the Twitter microblog only allows posts of up to characters.
Microblogs are an informal type of communication where teachers and students can follow each other and respond to messages that are sent directly to them. Accordingly, microblogs are suitable for implementation of both teacher and student centered educational activ- ites Ramsden, Because of their ease of use, microblogs give students the opportunity to ask questions and exchange thoughts, ideas and results of their work in one place.
There are two basic features of a microblog: Microblogs can be read and written using either specialized web services e. Twit- ter, Jaiku, Plurk, and Tumblr or free mobile applications e.
Social Networks Social networks are web services that allow for communication, collab- oration, and connectivity between individuals with similar interests, as well as sharing of all types of resources. A social networking revolution began in with the public launch of Friendster.
The main idea of this Web based application was to have a place where everyone could set up a profile and invite friends to join a dinner party. Less than a year after Friendster went public, Faceebok was launched. Currently, it has more than milion active users who spend about bilion minutes on the site every month Facebook, Depending on their basic characteristics such as the number and type of users , social networks can be classified into three main categories.
The first category consists of general social networks that have the larg- est number of users due to their interactive tools and features. This category includes social networks Facebook and MySpace. Students main- ly use them for interaction with peers, discussing problems encountered during their studies and commenting on social situations Selwyn, Considering that most Face- book users are between 18 and 24 years of age Morrison, , that network is convenient for exchanging knowledge and experiences among young people, especially students.
General social networks can be used in the educational process because of numerous advantages they offer to students, including peer feedback, active participation, association with the social context, and collaboration Mason, The second category consists of social networks such as Linkedln, Re- searchGate and Academia.
By opening a profile on one of these networks, students can connect and interact with experts who have practical experience in a specific field, and thereby deepen the theoretical knowledge they acquired at universi- ty.
In addition, the aforementioned social networks can serve as a source of information about recent scientific and professional papers in the area in which students are involved. It must be noted that most of the profiles on Linkedln belong to adults Royal Pingdom, and therefore this social network could also serve as a platform for lifelong learning. The last category of social networks consists of sites like Ning and So- cialGo, which can be categorized as online community sites.
These sites are also suitable for teacher education Olcese, Social Bookmarks Social bookmarking is the process of categorizing, storing, referencing and searching web resource URLs online documents, web sites, web pages.
Categorization of such web resources is performed by using individually selected keywords known as tags that uniquely describe a web location or a link to an online document. These tags simplify access to thematically related content. Tags are often visualized via a tag cloud where the font size determines relative importance or popularity of the tag and facilitates search and navigation of saved links.
Bookmarks can be public or private. If they are public, users of popular web services like Delicious, Diigo, and StumbleUpon can see who created each bookmark and when this was done, which supports the initiation and continuation of social relationships between individuals with simi- lar interests.
The main advantage of social bookmarking services is that they make stored web resources more readily available. Specifically, if a student creates bookmarks to various resources by using the bookmarking op- tion in their web browser, that repository of bookmarks will only be accessible to users of that specific device computer, phone, etc.
If the student uses a social bookmarking service to create their bookmarks, however, that repository will be accessible from any computer connect- ed to the Internet.
Finally, some social bookmarking services such as CiteULike, CiteSeer and Connotea specialize in tagging, organizing, sharing, and saving scholary papers. Likewise, students who are involved in a variety of team and individual learning activities sometimes have to follow regularly updated information from various web sources, which can be time consuming.
A possible solution to this problem is a web application that tracks changes to all relevant web resources — such an application is called a mashup. Specifically, a mashup is a feed reader aggregator that checks user-subscribed Internet re- sources for new or updated content. Both students and teachers can subscribe to a large number of online services and resources including blogs, wikis, podcasts, e-mail, status updates on social networking sites, social bookmarks, etc.
Furthermore, they can create their own RSS feeds and thus enable all interested users to subscribe to podcasts or posts they publish through various mecha- nisms blogs, wikis, etc.
First, it is necessary to choose a web site for which the RSS feed is being created. Next, parts of the web site which the user wants to track and which will appear in a feed need to be selected. The proce- dure ends by generating the link that needs to be uploaded into the feed reader so that the user can start monitoring the activity at the desired site.
Podcasts Podcasting is the process of producing and distributing audio or video files using specialized web applications. In terms of their primary purpose, podcasting services can be divided into three groups: The latter is further subdivided into substitutional, supplementary and creative podcasts McGarr, Podcasts can be used to substitute or supplement teaching materials.
In such cases, students do not need to record all the details mentioned by the teacher during the lectures, but can rather refer back to the podcast any time they want. When students are absent from lectures, they can listen to the podcast to catch up on the content they missed.
Podcasts can also serve as replacement for classic presentation of student papers in hybrid instruction. Namely, instead of presenting their work in front of an audience, students can create an audio or video podcast in which they show and explain their work by combining different multimedia content.
Using podcasts, teaching materials can be adapted to the style and pace of student learning. After downloading audio or video pod- casts from the web, students can listen to them or view them with their favorite multimedia player whenever they want and as often as they need. In terms of their primary characteristics, podcasting web services can be grouped into three categories: Web applications for audio podcasting are exclusively used for recording audio content through a microphone, mobile phone or webcam.
This group of tools includes AudioPal, Woices and Podomatic. Besides the ability to create new audio podcasts, registered users have the option to browse and listen to podcasts created and posted by other users. The second category consists of video podcasts that can be made using JayCut, Yodio and Masher.
A video podcast is a combination of photo, audio and video content, and various effects. These applications allow users to not only make video podcasts, but also to categorize, publish, share and search for them. By using these tools, both students and teachers are able to create multimedia tutorials that represent step-by-step demonstrations.
Some examples include a tutorial showing how to solve a programming or mathematical task, or an explanation of differ- ences between formal and informal letters in learning a foreign lan- guage. Podcasts have been applied successfully in numerous educational sce- narios, including: E-portfolios An e-portfolio is a web application that allows teachers and students to register and present the skills, knowledge and experience they acquired over a certain period of time.
It consists of artifacts and digital materials in which the ideas, activities and achievements of portfolio owner s are stored. The collection and organization of content in an e-portfolio is performed by using a variety of interactive applications feed, blog , and the content is commonly presented with different media text, image, audio or video podcast.
There are numerous benefits which teachers and students can gain from e-portfolios, including: There- fore, e-portfolio applications allow for a funtional integration of differ- ent Web 2.
Open source web services that are most commonly implemented for the development of e-portfolios are Mahara and Elgg.
Whereas the for- mer enables integration with learning management systems and easy generation of a CV in the Europass format, the latter is a special kind of social network containing all the necessary modules to store and organ- ize artifacts. It must be emphasized that both Mahara and Elgg don't offer free accounts to the public, but must be implemented and hosted by an institution or commercial support company. In the past few years, the popularity of e-portfolio systems has increased and they have been implemented for a variety of activities at many universities includ- ing: Virtual worlds A virtual world is a computer-simulated 3D environment in which individuals communicate and collaborate via avatars.
Basic characteris- tics of such collaborative virtual environments are participation in a community, acquisition of social skills and learning through fun. Through social interaction and active participation in games and simu- lations which are part of virtual worlds, students can better understand complex concepts, learn something new and participate in the creation of knowledge.
Teachers can use a virtual world to present educational content in an entertaining and interesting way or set tasks in which students will need to show their imagitiveness, creativity and intelligence. A virtual world like Second Life can encompass almost all the artifacts mentioned in the description of preceding types of Web 2. In a single place, students can watch video podcasts, play educational games, browse and read professional and scholarly literature, attend and active- ly participate in lectures, seminars and conferences, visit and explore historical and geographical locations, learn about new cultures, conduct experiments and become part of a community of interest.
In other words, a virtual world can become a substitute for a hybrid form of teaching. Some examples of virtual world implementation in an educa- tional setting include: On the other hand, collabo- ration is heterarchical coordinated engagement of all participants that are jointly solving the task.
Note-taking and Editing Services Web services for collaborative writing are a type of application designed for synchronous work on the same document. Although collaborative writing is one of the basic functions of wiki, there are plenty of web services that have functionality nearly identical to that of a desktop word processor. Tools for collaborative writing can be divided into two categories. The first consists of services designed for note-taking in hybrid teaching.
Instead of recording the most important parts of lec- tures on paper, students can use specialized tools such as SpringNote and Helipad as an effective substitute. The second group consists of text editors like Adobe Buzzword and iNetWord.
Using collaborative edi- tors, students can jointly work on essays, write project documentation and participate in brainwriting sessions. Office Applications Due to their characteristics, office applications like Google Docs, Think- Free and Zoho can serve as an alternative to commercial versions of desktop applications.
By using them it is possible to create effective presentations, write and format text, create spreadsheets and graphs, etc. Office applications allow students and teachers to synchronously work on the same document, and to transport documents between other web and desktop office applications.
Source Code Publishing Collaborative programming is a common process of writing computer code with the aim of developing a joint solution to a programming task. There are several ways of implementing collaborative programming in a hybrid course. Firstly, students can individually solve parts of the pro- gramming task and then merge them into a coherent whole.
In this way, the work on complex projects that consist of hundreds or thou- sands of lines of code can be facilitated. Finally, by publishing and commenting software code, students can more easily understand programming concepts and learn from each other.
Creative Learning Creative learning applications aim to generate a stimulating learning environment in which teaching activities facilitate the adoption of new knowledge and the recall of existing knowledge.
Furthermore, by using these applications the students can present task solutions in an innova- tive way. In addition to virtual worlds and games, this group of Web 2. One of them is Bubblr, the purpose of which is making photonovels cartoon strips that show the solution of a task in a creative way.
Multimedia Sharing Using multimedia in the educational process facilitates the adoption of new content and helps in understanding complex concepts. There are numerous web services that allow users to publish and distribute vari- ous types of media.
Students can use them as a source of external con- tent for blog or wiki posts, as well as for their assignments, writing of papers, or for merging them into a multimedia mashup. Web services for media sharing can be subdivided into three different categories: Photo Sharing Web services designed for sharing photos represent a very important resource since they enable students to store, search, organize and cate- gorize a large number of photos in one location.
The main representa- tive of this group of tools is Flickr. One of its most interesting modules is related to the functionality which enables commenting of images as a whole or of their parts, which can be very useful if a teacher or a stu- dent wants to highlight certain parts of the image. With the use of a photo album for educational purposes, it is possible to obtain more detailed infor- mation about a course topic and facilitate learning in other ways than by using a traditional encyclopedia or a textbook.
As an alternative to Flickr, Photobucket can be used as another rich resource of categorized photographs. Abstract Background We have witnessed a rapid increase in the use of Web-based 'collaborationware' in recent years.
These Web 2. Because of their ease of use and rapidity of deployment, they offer the opportunity for powerful information sharing and ease of collaboration. Wikis are Web sites that can be edited by anyone who has access to them. The word 'blog' is a contraction of 'Web Log' — an online Web journal that can offer a resource rich multimedia environment. Podcasts are repositories of audio and video materials that can be "pushed" to subscribers, even without user intervention.
These audio and video files can be downloaded to portable media players that can be taken anywhere, providing the potential for "anytime, anywhere" learning experiences mobile learning.
Discussion Wikis, blogs and podcasts are all relatively easy to use, which partly accounts for their proliferation.
The fact that there are many free and Open Source versions of these tools may also be responsible for their explosive growth. Thus it would be relatively easy to implement any or all within a Health Professions' Educational Environment.
Paradoxically, some of their disadvantages also relate to their openness and ease of use. With virtually anybody able to alter, edit or otherwise contribute to the collaborative Web pages, it can be problematic to gauge the reliability and accuracy of such resources.
While arguably, the very process of collaboration leads to a Darwinian type 'survival of the fittest' content within a Web page, the veracity of these resources can be assured through careful monitoring, moderation, and operation of the collaborationware in a closed and secure digital environment.
Summary and conclusion If effectively deployed, wikis, blogs and podcasts could offer a way to enhance students', clinicians' and patients' learning experiences, and deepen levels of learners' engagement and collaboration within digital learning environments.
Therefore, research should be conducted to determine the best ways to integrate these tools into existing e-Learning programmes for students, health professionals and patients, taking into account the different, but also overlapping, needs of these three audience classes and the opportunities of virtual collaboration between them. Of particular importance is research into novel integrative applications, to serve as the "glue" to bind the different forms of Web-based collaborationware synergistically in order to provide a coherent wholesome learning experience.
Background Introduction and aims of this paper Recent years have witnessed a growing interest in the latest generation of Web-based collaborationware also known as Web 2. They offer many unique and powerful information sharing and collaboration features. They also afford users the added advantage of reducing the technical skill required to use these features, by allowing users to focus on the information and collaborative tasks themselves with few delivery obstacles [ 18 ].
Such technology is known as 'transparent technology' [ 19 ] in as much as the user is able to concentrate more on the learning task by 'seeing through' the technological environment they are immersed within. This paper explores, with examples, some of the current uses of Web 2.
We then touch on the pedagogy underpinning these tools see also ' Additional file 2 ' , and discuss some of their advantages and disadvantages. Perhaps the best example of a wiki in action today is 'Wikipedia — The Free Encyclopedia' [ 21 ]. Wikis, and in particular Wikipedia, represent a promising principle that can significantly transform the Internet information age; they have greatly grown in popularity in recent months and years [ 17 ].
Special conferences have been and are being organized to discuss the interesting Web phenomenon of wikis. Wikis can be used as a source for obtaining information and knowledge, and also as a method of virtual collaboration, e. Medical and health-related wiki examples include the Flu Wiki, which is intended to help local public health communities prepare for, and perhaps cope, with a possible avian influenza pandemic [ 18 , 23 ], and Ganfyd, an online collaborative medical reference that is edited by medical professionals and invited non-medical experts [ 24 ].
Wiki features include easy editing, versioning capabilities, and article discussions see [ 25 - 27 ] and ' Additional file 1 ' for further details and screenshots. Blogs A related Web information sharing technology is the 'blog'.
A blog WeBLOG is a Web site that contains dated entries in reverse chronological order most recent first about a particular topic [ 28 ]. Functioning as an online journal, blogs can be written by one person or a group of contributors.