1. TREBALL FINAL DE MÀSTER
Màster en Formació del Professorat
d’Educació Secundària, Batxillerat,
Formació Professional i Ensenyament
ENGINYERIA I ARQUITECTURA LA SALLE
FACULTAT DE PSICOLOGIA, CIÈNCIES DE
L’EDUCACIÓ I DE L'ESPORT BLANQUERNA
(UNIVERSITAT RAMON LLULL)
3. ESCOLA TÈCNICA SUPERIOR D’ENGINYERIA
ELECTRÒNICA I INFORMÀTICA LA SALLE
FACULTAT DE PSICOLOGIA, CIÈNCIES DE
L’EDUCACIÓ I DE L'ESPORT BLANQUERNA
TREBALL FINAL DE MÀSTER
ALUMNE PROFESSOR PONENT
Teaching and Learning with Web 2.0
5. ACTA DE L'EXAMEN
DEL TREBALL FINAL DE MÀSTER
Reunit el Tribunal qualificador en el dia de la data, l'alumne
va exposar el seu Projecte de Fi de Carrera, el qual va tractar sobre el tema
Acabada l'exposició i contestades per part de l'alumne les preguntes formulades
pels membres del tribunal, aquest valorà l'esmentat Treball amb la qualificació de
VOCAL DEL TRIBUNAL VOCAL DEL TRIBUNAL
PRESIDENT DEL TRIBUNAL
There are a lot of persons I would like to thank for their help and assistance during
this incredible year. First, I want to express my deep and immense gratitude to
my boyfriend Sebastiano who constantly encouraged and inspired me with all his
enthusiasm and positivity. I am very grateful to my family for all the support
they gave me - despite the distance - with their patience and their contagious
cheerfulness. I would also like to thank Angelo and Sonia Zaniol for their kindness
and their precious suggestions. A special thank goes also to my friend Istri who
found the time to help me even when he was on the other side of the world. I
would like to pay a special tribute to all the professors of the Master for the
knowledge they gave me and for enhancing my creativity. Also, I extend my
gratitude to all my colleagues who shared with me this great experience.
ICT applications are largely used in education nowadays. Schools and ed-
ucational centres are aware of the fact that nowadays learners have new needs
since they are born during the digital era. For that reason, schools are trying
to adapt their educational projects to the new demand in order to engage and
motivate digital students. This innovative change is related to a wider revolu-
tion the Web is undergoing in the last few years. As a matter of fact, the Web
is becoming more interactive connecting people of all generations and countries.
The new Web, also known as Web 2.0, is labelled as democratic since it gives all
users the power to create and share contents. Web 2.0 applications like Wikis,
Blogs, media-sharing services and other interactive resources are spaces where the
information is entirely created by users. My thesis wants to introduce Web 2.0
and speculate about its possible use for didactic purposes showing how it fosters
communication, collaboration, creativity and motivation.
The use of technologies for didactic purposes is becoming more and more
present in educational environments nowadays. Educational institutions are aware
of the fact that Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) are signif-
icant resources of the learning process. This is probably due to the fact that
technologies and the virtual world resulting from them are currently changing
our perception of reality and consequently our way of thinking and learning. As
a consequence of that, the educational system needs to adapt its didactic re-
sources to these new demands. Present day learners are digital learners and they
need to receive a formation that gives them the possibility to improve their digital
competences. Moreover, they need to know how to select, organize and manage
the amount of information they receive everyday (Redecker, 2009).
This adaptation process may sound a bit challenging because it requires a big
eﬀort not only from teachers but also from educational centres. If on one hand
teachers need to change their way of managing and organizing classes, on the
other hand schools should provide suitable facilities as technical support, teacher
ICT trainings, wi-ﬁ connection and so on. Catalonia is in the right way to accom-
plish this important technological switch. The Spanish region is implementing a
number of measures aimed to enhance and promote digital learning. As a matter
of fact, according to the LEC (Lllei d’educaci´o de Catalunya, 2009), students
should be competent in the use of technologies. In particular, article 57 states
that students should acquire basic competences and that the ICT competence
is one of them. Moreover, articles 58, 59 and 60 explain how students should
be able to use technologies both in primary and in secondary school. About
educational centres, article 87 states that they should provide suitable spaces,
equipments and installations in order to integrate digital technologies. For what
concerns teachers, article 104 states that they should master and use technologies
as a methodological tool. Finally, according to article 109, all the teachers should
receive training in order for them to know and use ICT eﬀectively.
Another important aspect of the digital revolution is the way it is changing
learning paradigms. In particular, the learning process is becoming more and
more social and interactive because of the rise of Blogs, Wikis and media shar-
ing resources which are spaces where knowledge is achieved through community
collaboration. These new ICT tools are collectively known as Webs 2.0. Ac-
cording to Redecker, “Learning in the digital era is fundamentally collaborative
in nature; social networks arise around common (learning) interests and aims
and facilitate the learning process by providing social and cognitive guidance and
support (2009)”. As a consequence of that, digital learners have become the pro-
tagonists of the learning process. As Redecker states, “The learner plays a central
role in the learning process not as a passive recipient of information, but as an
active author, co-creator, evaluator and critical commentator (2009)”. Further-
more teachers’ function is also undergoing a transformation: ICT teachers have
become classroom dynamizers, guides and organizers; they are no more the only
source of learners’ knowledge.
My thesis is aimed to introduce Web 2.0 and to analyze its didactic uses
showing how it fosters collaboration, creativity, motivation and critical thinking.
In chapter 1 I will present Web 2.0 and compare it with Web 1.0. In Chapter 2 I
will deal with the didactic uses of Web 2.0 presenting Connectivism as a learning
theory, speculating about motivation and talking about possible risks related to
user generated information. In chapter 3 I will introduce diﬀerent examples of
Web 2.0 applied to educational environments. Finally, in chapter 4 I will talk
about my personal experience with Web 2.0.
15. Chapter 1
Exploring Web 2.0
ICT are recognized as fundamental tools of the new generation’s learning
process. The Web is one of the most powerful ICT resources and it is becoming
more and more interactive and “social”. In the last decade, the Web is switching
from 1.0 to 2.0. This change aﬀects the way users conceive the Internet and of
course ICT learning and teaching. In the next two paragraphs I will introduce
Web 2.0 and then eventually explain on what this web shift consists.
1.1 A Deﬁnition of Web 2.0
“Web 2.0” or “social computing” is a term commonly associated with a range
of digital applications which facilitate interaction, information sharing among
users and collaboration on the World Wide Web. This deﬁnition originated in a
conference brainstorming session run in 2004 by O’Reilly Media Inc., a famous
American media company that publishes books on computer technology topics.
According to O’Reilly, “Web 2.0 is a set of economic, social and technology trends
that collectively form the basis for the next generation of the Internet a more
mature, distinctive medium characterized by user participation, openness, and
network eﬀects (2004)”.
Participation, collaboration, co-working, user centrality, de-professionalization
of contents, usability, user friendliness and immediacy are some of the key words
16. Exploring Web 2.0
which characterize this complex revolution and that are present in a wide vari-
ety of existing network services. Nevertheless, the 2.0 phenomenon is something
that goes beyond the reality strictly linked to the global network and the virtual
world. As a matter of fact, Web 2.0 are aﬀecting social dynamics, culture and
education in a more radical way.
These changes revolve around a new paradigm of user, called “prosumer”
(Toﬄer, 1980). Users are no longer either producers or consumers of information
and contents, but both producers and consumers simultaneously, with all the pos-
sible consequences. According to O’Reilly, the new paradigm of social computing
can be identiﬁed by the following features:
• “Power to user” (O’Reilly, 2005): whereas prior web was characterized
by content provided in static pages, Web 2.0 has democratized the web by
giving priority to users. Thus, user created content and connectivity have
become a central factor. According to Murdoch, “to ﬁnd something com-
parable, you have to go back 500 years to the printing press, the birth of
mass mediaTechnology is shifting power away from the editors, the publish-
ers, the establishment, the media elite. Now it’s the people who are taking
control (Rupert Murdoch, 2006)”.
• “Web as a platform” (O’Reilly, 2005): users of Web 2.0 can run internet
applications in their browsers. These applications such as Wikis, Blogs
and media-sharing encourage users to collaborate by adding, editing or
reworking content thanks to their participative element. Along with the
raise of Web 2.0 appears the concept of micro-content, which refers to small
information chunks that can stand alone or be used in diﬀerent contexts like
Podcasts, Wiki edits, news feeds, Blog posts and so on.
• “Harnessing collective intelligence” (O’Reilly, 2005): Web 2.0 appli-
cations rely on user-generated content and interactivity. Drawing on James
Surowiecki’s “wisdom of crowds” theory, Web 2.0 applications leverage the
power of the masses (O’Reilly, 2005). In other words, the activities of users
producing content in the form of videos, photos, texts of simply ideas are
“harnessed” by social applications to create value.
17. 1.2 Transition from 1.0 to 2.0
In the early 90s the Internet became more and more popular and it was
widely used by users looking for information. Users could only consult web pages
without having the possibility to interact with the content or to cooperate with
other users. Creating a web page required strong technical knowledge and was
quite expensive. This ﬁrst kind of “Read Only Web” has been later deﬁned as
“Web 1.0”. In the last few years, a new paradigm has emerged. Web pages
oﬀer the users the opportunity to insert comments, pictures, video and all kind
of personal contributions. Users can even easily create their own Web pages,
propose discussion topics on their Blogs, share videos, power point presentations,
pictures, links and so on. In other words, users are creating the web. They are
no more information consumers but information producers. The new web is now
called the “Read-Write Web” or Web 2.0.
In ﬁgure 1.1 the diﬀerence between Web 1.0 and 2.0 is exempliﬁed. As we
can see Web 1.0 is almost unidirectional since users have not the opportunity to
contribute to its creations and expansion. On the contrary, Web 2.0 is strongly
bi-directional and it reaches more than 1 billion of global users (L´opez. Palmero,
The table 1.1 shows the main diﬀerences between 1.0 and 2.0. One of the
most important diﬀerences is that Web 2.0 changes the way users conceive the
1.3 A brief Overview of Web 2.0 Applications
The list of Web 2.0 applications could be endless, considering the fact that
applications continue to grow, to change and to be improved. New services are
continuously created and it is often diﬃcult to navigate in the world of Web-
mediated communication. However, we can distinguish between four main cate-
gories that will allow us to deﬁne the most popular existing services and that will
be analysed in detail in the following chapters:
18. Exploring Web 2.0
Figure 1.1: Evolution from 1.0 to 2.0, adaptation to An´ıbal de la Torre (L´opez.
Palmero, Rodr´ıguez, 2008)
• Wikis: online application for creating and editing interlinked web pages
using a simpliﬁed text editor. The term was coined by Cunningham, the
developer of the ﬁrst wiki application, and derives from the Hawaiian word
“wiki” which means “fast” and makes reference to a quick-web. The main
characteristic of these applications is to support the collaborative writing
between diﬀerent users. While Blogs tend to be written by a single person,
and as a direct consequence are mainly personal, Wikis are more likely to
be the result of a collaborative eﬀort. The aim of the Wiki web sites is to
be a shared repository of knowledge (Godwin-Jones, 2003). The structure
of Wiki pages is usually simple since the main focus is in the content and
collaboration rather than in the design. The most well-known example
of this kind of application is Wikipedia (www.wikipedia.org), created in
2001 and attracting at least 684 million visitors yearly by 2008. Wikipedia
19. Table 1.1: Adaptation to Slideshare presentation by Silvia I. N´u˜nez (2009)
Web 1.0 Web 2.0
• Non-collaborative web • Collaborative web
• Passive users • Active users creating contents
• Few content producers • A large number of producers
• Static pages • Dynamic pages
• Infrequent updates • Really frequent page updates
• Unidirectional and non-
collaborative web pages
• Multi-directional and collabora-
tive web which help the publica-
tion, the research and the consul-
tation of web contents
• Only expert users can create
pages and publish contents
• Publishing information and edit
pages do not require advanced
• Minimum interaction reduced
to registration on mailing lists,
• Promote and stimulate interac-
• Interaction and collaboration
are not encouraged
• Contents are organized through
the use of tags
• Web pages and content are ﬂex-
ible and in constant change
project has more than 75.000 active contributors working on more than
10.000.000 articles in more than 250 languages (Redecker, 2009).
• Blogs: web applications that display a series of text, video and image
entries in reverse chronological order, usually created and maintained by an
individual. The term is a contraction of web log, introduced for the ﬁrst
time by Barger (1999). Blogs typically include a tool that allows other users
to respond to posts using comments. Blogs are organized by tags, keywords
associated with the posts which permit to sort them by topic. For nearly
10 years a set of free blogging applications has been appearing on the web,
20. Exploring Web 2.0
allowing any user to write a Blog without the need of speciﬁc programming
skills. Famous examples of blogging tools are blogger (www.blogger.com)
and wordpress (www.wordpress.com).
• Media sharing services: set of applications which allow users to upload,
aggregate, distribute and host texts, images, videos, audio ﬁles and other
kinds of media contents. An important characteristic of these applications
is the possibility to search contents uploaded from other users and of to
add comments. The most relevant websites are YouTube for video shar-
ing (www.youtube.com), Flickr for image hosting (www.ﬂickr.com), Scribd
(www.scribd.com) and Slideshare (www.slideshare.com) for documents and
presentations sharing and Itunes, a digital media player application for pod-
cast and vodcast hosting (www.apple.com/itunes/).
• Other collaborative resources: within this category we can ﬁnd ap-
plications based on tagging and social bookmarking. In particular, social
bookmarking is a web tool to manage, share and search bookmarks of web
resources. The main diﬀerence with ﬁle sharing tools is that only the re-
sources references are shared and not the resources themselves. In a so-
cial bookmarking system, users save a list of Internet resources which they
consider useful, and share it so that other users with common interests
can look at the links by category. These tools categorize resources using
tags, which are words topic-related assigned by users. Most of social book-
marking services allow users to search bookmarks linked with speciﬁc tags
and to sort the search result depending on how many users have marked
them. Del.icio.us is one of the most used social bookmarking applications
21. Chapter 2
Teaching and Learning with 2.0
This chapter is aimed to introduce the four essential learning aspects enhanced
by Web 2.0, that are communication, collaboration, creativity and critical think-
ing. Later on it will be shown how Bloom’s taxonomy can be applied to Web 2.0.
Then learning aspects such us theory and motivation will be anlaysed. Finally a
brief speculation will look at the disadvantages and risks related to their use.
2.1 Changing the Paradigm
According to Veen and Vrakking, the new generation of learners is changing
from homo sapiens to homo zappiens since new learners are born using com-
puters, acquiring knowledge through screens, icons, sounds, games and they are
constantly communicating with pairs (2006).
The values of new learners are:
• Expression of the self-identity and self-individuality;
• Constant sharing of information;
• Constant reference to peers.
22. Teaching and Learning with 2.0
The new generation of learners works in multi-tasking and resists the tradi-
tional and obsolete way of teaching (Besana, 2008). The new learners or digital
natives -individuals born during the Information Era - are exploring the new
information and communication sources in a non-linear way.
Web 2.0 is an enriching tool for learning and teaching processes and it trans-
forms students in content producers and multimedia creators. This implies a
transformation of students’ role that was previously passive since students were
considered consumers of presentations and videos (Crescenzi and Olmedo, 2009).
Web 2.0 transforms students form passive to active or, better yet, interactive.
Teachers’ role is also undergoing a transformation from being the absolute protag-
onist of classes to a mediator of contents, a promoter of autonomous learning and
a guide of information research, analysis, selection and interpretation (Crescenzi
and Olmedo, 2009). However, teachers should not only teach how to use Web
2.0 tools: their most important contribution should be developing critical skills
Web 2.0 is an eﬀective tool to develop four essential learning aspects: com-
munication, collaboration, creativity and critical thinking (web2teachingtools,
Web 2.0 can help learners to develop eﬀective communication skills by:
• The use of digital media that support personal and collaborative learning;
• Sharing information by the use of appropriate digital media;
• Communicating personal concepts and ideas to diﬀerent audiences.
Web 2.0 is useful to promote collaboration among learners so that they can:
• Work with people, including people from diﬀerent environments and cul-
• Negotiate meaning and contents in order to reach a common goal;
• Show other learners their responsibility as a team member.
23. Web 2.0 can be eﬀective to develop learners’ creativity by making them:
• Create useful contributions based on original ideas;
• Think about and develop new ideas to be shared with other people;
• Be aware and accept others’ points of view.
Finally, Web 2.0 tools are excellent to develop critical thinking because they
lead learners to:
• Gather information and select elements they are interested in;
• Use diﬀerent kinds of reasoning to interpret a situation;
• Analyse, compare and structure information;
• Take decisions by following diﬀerent criteria.
2.2 Connectivism: a Learning Theory for Web
Connectivism is a theory developed by Siemens that considers learning as a
process of creating knowledge through networks. As for connectivists, knowledge
is reached by a strong interdependence between individuals, groups and commu-
nities and follows the same dynamics of socialization and interaction. Connec-
tivism considers learning as networked, occurring in complex and chaotic spaces
and increasingly supported by technology (2005).
According to him, the main principles of Connectivism are:
• Learning is a process based on networking;
• Learning rests in considering diverse, often opposing, views;
• Connections, not content, are the beginning point of the learning process;
24. Teaching and Learning with 2.0
• Knowledge can rest within our networks not only internally in ourselves;
Web 2.0 can be strictly related to Connectivism since it refers to interactive
Web and promotes communication, collaboration, sharing data and creativity.
2.3 Bloom’s Taxonomy
As we have seen so far, teaching with Web 2.0 can be eﬀective not just because
it oﬀers a new learning paradigm that follows digital learners needs, but also
because it helps learners to develop their thinking skills. In the 50s, Benjamin
Bloom developed his taxonomy based on cognitive skills. He classiﬁed them as
a continuum from Low Order Thinking Skills (LOTS) to High Order Thinking
Figure 2.1: Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy
25. Bloom’s taxonomy is an excellent classiﬁcation of learners’ thinking processes
and it can of course be applied to the use of Web 2.0. The cognitive map below
is an adaptation of Bloom taxonomy to Web 2.0 tools and it clearly shows how
these webs develop highest thinking skills.
Figure 2.2: Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy Concept map.
26. Teaching and Learning with 2.0
2.4 Motivating with Web 2.0
Motivation is a psychological variable that inﬂuences individuals’ behaviours.
In educational contexts, motivation plays a key role because it is responsible for
learners’ involvement. According to Celaya, “Motivation refers to the reasons
that the learner has which determine his engagement in learning (2005).” One
of the most hard challenges teachers face in their everyday life is to ﬁnd ways to
stimulate and foster students’ motivation.
Recent studies show how a Web 2.0 based learning environment enhances
students’ motivation, engagement and social skills. In 2006, Cavallaro and Tan
published an article showing that collaborative online writing between two dif-
ferent universities showed positive results in students’ motivation and quality of
writing. Students from the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) of Singa-
pore were supposed to comment and assess the reports written by students from
the Singapore Polytechnic (SP) and vice versa. The fact that the lecturer was
not the only one evaluating the reports enhanced motivation (Cavallaro & Tan,
Similarly, in 2008 Lee et al. describe how podcasting activities promote collab-
oration and students’ involvement in negotiation of meaning. Another example of
how podcasting can eﬀectively motivate students is the study carried out by Cruz
& Carvalho (2007). They asked 27 pupils from a Portuguese school to develop
a Podcasts project where students were supposed to create their own Podcast
episodes. The study showed that students were really involved in the task and
that the majority of them not only considered podcasting as motivating but also
preferred listening to Podcasts than reading books.
Furthermore, in 2006 Langhorst proposed the use of Blogs to develop two
schools projects on historic novels. The project was supposed to involve not only
students but also their parents and the author of the novel. Students were so
motivated that they created a Blog about “Daisy the Duck” (see appendix A.1.1)
and another one called “Trout Diary” (see appendix A.1.2). Both of them include
written stories, Podcasts and interviews. A further example of the motivational
function of Web 2.0 is the Italian Videopoesia, a project that enhances student’s
creation of poetry through the creation of Youtube videos (see appendix A.1.3).
27. 2.5 Risks and Disadvantages of Web 2.0
Web 2.0 allows users to spread ideas and, consequently, represents the demo-
cratization of the online information. Furthermore, it has a great potential since
it oﬀers unlimited alternatives. However, behind such attractive and positive
depiction we can ﬁnd the other side of the coin. In fact, despite its innumerable
advantages, Web 2.0 can also imply risks and disadvantages. The openness of
Web 2.0 makes necessary to rethink a number of concepts like ownership, control
• As regard ownership, it refers to the rights an individual has on his own
creations. The great amount of contents present on Web 2.0 makes diﬃcult
the recognition of authorship. Some of the Web 2.0 applications allow users
to protect and register their creations with the Creative Commons License
(www.creativecommons.org/education). Creative Commons is a non proﬁt
corporation that allows users to have rights of authorship. Creative com-
mon license oﬀers users the possibility to copy, share, re-use and distribute
artefacts only if they acknowledge their author’s worth. For these reasons,
Creative Commons is widely used in education. As a matter of fact, since
teachers and learners can access contents and participate to their elabora-
tion, they not only need to be recognised as authors but also to acknowledge
• About control, Web 2.0 users have an unlimited freedom to publish and
comment on every ﬁeld or topic. This sort of democratization of the web
entails a massive production of contents that are not often reliable. More-
over, the great amount of contents published on the social webs is not always
subject to linguistic revision and it consequently lacks of accuracy. Most
of the users do not check the spelling and ignore morfo-syntactic rules; in
addition, there is a huge tendency to create neologisms and abbreviations.
Teachers should be aware of this aspect and work in this direction in order
to make students publish only reliable and accurate materials. In 2007,
Andrew Keen published “The Cult of the Amateur: How Today’s Internet
Is Killing Our Culture”, a controversial book where he accuses Web 2.0 and
the contents generated by users of being damaging culture. According to
28. Teaching and Learning with 2.0
Keen, “The consequences of Web 2.0 are inherently dangerous for the vital-
ity of culture and the arts...Instead of Mozart, Van Gogh, or Hitchcock, all
we get with the Web 2.0 revolution is more of ourselves (2006).” As it is ev-
ident, Keen’s view is too radical and elitist. It is true that users can publish
information without any limit or control, but at the same time users can
use their critical thinking to select contents and prove their authenticity.
• In the world of social webs, security has become more and more vulnerable.
Users can subscribe to an unlimited amount of websites and most of the time
they release personal information without knowing who can manipulate it.
For this reason it is important to educate users and make them aware of
the possible risks that giving personal details implies.
Web 2.0 is not dangerous in itself as long as users are able to pick out in-
formation. Of course, teachers using Web 2.0 for didactic purposes should take
into account this potential risks and train students to be not only reliable content
authors but also critical information receivers.
29. Chapter 3
Didactic Use of Web 2.0
As we have seen so far, Web 2.0 can face the needs of the new generation
of learners oﬀering them the possibility to communicate, collaborate, create and
think critically. In the following sections I will introduce and analyse diﬀerent
didactic examples of Web 2.0 tools such as Wikis, Blogs, media-sharing services
and other collaborative resources.
3.1 Didactic Use of Wikis
A Wiki is a collection of pages that can be easily edited by any kind of
user. It is an online space that allows users to add, remove and edit contents.
A Wiki can host all kind of contents and as such it can eﬀectively be used for
didactic purposes. As a matter of fact, Wikis are ideal tools for collaborative
writing and group projects involving web resources. Moreover, they can be used
as alternative to scholar closed platforms since a broader audience can have access
and collaborate on them. Wikis are also a valid scaﬀolding resource for teachers
that can easily supervise student’s contributions.
So, using Wikis for education has many advantages because:
• It enhances collaborative work;
• It is easy to understand and use;
30. Didactic Use of Web 2.0
• It is assessable, easy to track;
• It oﬀers learners the possibility to be creative.
There are diﬀerent online resources that allow teachers to create catchy and
motivating Wikis for their students: Wikispaces (www.wikispaces.com), PBwiki
(www.pbwiki.com) and Wetpaint (www.wetpaint.com).
Wikis can oﬀer a huge range of possibilities both for classroom and for edu-
cators. In a classroom context a Wiki can be used to:
• Create a classroom website with notes and interesting activities carried out
by the group (see appendix A.2.1);
• Write a story, a diary or a report;
• Develop collaborative and individual projects;
• Foster communication among learners, parents and teachers;
• Organize and promote school events;
• Collaborate with other schools anywhere fostering inter cultural collabora-
tions (see appendix A.2.2);
• Create a digital magazine;
• Give support to teacher training (see appendix A.2.3);
• Provide educational resources (see appendix A.2.4);
• Be teachers’ personal page (see appendix A.2.5);
• Be schools’ main pages (see appendixes A.2.6 and A.2.7).
3.2 Didactic Use of Blogs
Blogs are online public writing environments which enable users to easily dis-
play articles listed in chronological order (Ellison & Wu, 2008; Anderson, 2007).
31. Blogs can contain video and audio clips, other users’ comments, links to other
Blogs and so on. From the end of the 90s onwards, an extremely large and in-
creasing amount of Blogs has been populating the web. According to OECD
data, in 2007, there were up to 200 million Blogs (2007). Bloggers (Blog editors)
can be people of diﬀerent ages and backgrounds which use Blogs for several pur-
poses. Obviously, Blogs are also popular in the educational environments, since
they oﬀer teachers and educators a large amount of suitable possibilities. Blogs
are useful to:
• Provide a space where students and teachers can share opinions and infor-
mation. In those spaces students can learn to express their opinions and be
critical, analytical and creative;
• Help students to consider knowledge as a set of interconnections rather than
a static amount of notions;
• Make students aware of the importance of the authorship and ownership of
• Learn within the community. Students can read and comment their class-
mates contributions, meet new people and develop their social skills;
• Give students the possibility to connect with experts and have their opin-
• Enhance student’s motivation because of its interactive nature;
• Engage students in conversation and learning;
• Give the opportunity to teach responsible public writing since students
become conscious of the responsibility they have when publishing contents.
There are several web spaces that allow teachers to create interesting and
engaging blogs: Blogger (www.blogger.com), Wordpress (www.wordpress.com),
Edublog (www.edublog.org) and Ning (www.ning.com).
Blogs oﬀer a wide range of educational possibilities:
32. Didactic Use of Web 2.0
• Students digital portfolio, where projects and works are collected;
• Schools’ spaces to publish news, announcements and articles;
• Tutor Blogs which provide students with class information and resources
for self-study (see appendix A.3.1);
• Class Blogs organized by teachers that inform students about events, home-
work and activities (see appendix A.3.2);
• Autobiographical journal edited by students and commented by pairs;
• Book journals though which students makes their commentaries about a
book proposed by the teacher;
• Science reports, to give students the opportunity to comment their scientiﬁc
• Art Blogs, a space where learners can comment and interpret artistic cre-
ations (see appendix A.3.3);
• NarraBlogs or creative writing Blogs, a space where students publish their
original and creative narrations or poetries;
• TravelBlog, a space where students talk about their schools trips (see ap-
3.3 Teaching with Media-sharing Resources
Media-sharing resources are online devices that allow users to store and share
their own creations. Through the use of media-sharing users can upload ﬁles,
collect them in a group, share them with a massive audience, open a Forum or a
Blog for discussions, display and comment others’ media and so on. Media-sharing
services oﬀer unlimited possibilities for teaching since they provide students the
possibility to be creative and critical. There is a vast quantity of media-sharing
resources available on the Web. Most of them have completely changed users’
33. 3.3.1 Photosharing
Posting pictures on the Web has become one of the most popular activity in
the last few years. This phenomenon has been driven by the growing fame of
digital cameras and of mobile phones with cameras (Redecker, 2009). On the
web, there are many sharing services that provide users with the possibility to
upload their pictures, organize them in albums and eventually share them.
One of the most popular web-sharing services for posting photographs is Flickr
(www.ﬂickr.com), an online device that enables users not only to upload and
organize pictures, but also to edit them. Flickr has a enormous social potential
since it can be a place where photo amateur meet, a gallery for exhibitions and a
way of sharing experiences and initiatives. Since pictures easily catch students’
attention and engage them, Flickr can be widely used in education. It is easy to
access, it oﬀers quality products and it frees teacher and students to rely just on
textbooks and photocopies.
Among the unlimited possibilities of using Flickr for teaching there are:
• Oral presentations (about a city or a place in particular, hobbies, interests,
• Vocabulary (tagging pictures);
• Grammar (what are they doing? Use of present continuous);
• Writing (impressions, comparisons, conclusions, reﬂections or descriptions);
• Oral discussions (culture, events, pop stars);
• Competitions (best pictures, best gallery).
A part from Flickr, there are other online spaces where people not only
share pictures but can also create nice slideshows and posters such as Smilebox
(www.smilebox.com) and Glogster (www.glogster.com).
34. Didactic Use of Web 2.0
Sharing videos has become more and more popular since 2005 when Chad
Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim founded YouTube (www.youtube.com), a
web page where people can upload, share and comment videos (L´opez, Palmero
and Rodr´ıguez, 2009). Since YouTube was created, it has been possible to ﬁnd
an unlimited amount of videos online. Of course, there are many other web pages
where videos are shared and commented, but the peculiarity of Youtube is that
videos are uploaded by users. YouTube can extensively be used for educational
purposes since it is a huge video database where is it possible to ﬁnd every kind
of topic. Moreover, both teachers and students can upload their own videos.
In classrooms, YouTube can be used to:
• Introduce a topic;
• Stimulate students to give opinions;
• Show trailers, documentaries, plays and so on;
• Help students to work on listening and comprehension;
• Make students take notes to retain information
• Ask them questions on what they have just watched;
• Make students create and upload their own video.
Websites with similar characteristics that can be used for educational pur-
poses are TeachersTV (www.teachers.tv), TeachersTube (www.teachertube.com),
Videojug (www.videojug.com), Zimmertwins (www.zimmertwins.com), Classroom-
Clips (www.classroomclips.org/), YoutubeEDU (www.youtube.com/education),
Neok12 (www.neok12.com), ScholarSpot (http://scholarspot.com/), CosmoLearn-
ing (www.cosmolearning.com/) and Lectr (www.lectr.com).
35. 3.3.3 Audiosharing
Sharing audio ﬁles is a powerful way to allow the communication and the
distribution of contents. Audiosharing enable users no only to listen to a wide
variety of audio-ﬁles, but also to collect, create and share them. The device used
to share audio-ﬁles is the Podcast, a recorded ﬁle available on the Internet that
users can easily download and listen to either with their iPod or with other media
players. Thus, users can download entire audio broadcastings and listen to them
wherever and whenever they want.
There is a wide range of Podcasts available online and they range from general
to speciﬁc topics (music, art, science, culture). Podcasts can also be useful tools
in education since they provide teachers and educators with a large variety of
possibilities. Moreover, they are attractive to learners because they can listen to
the recorded ﬁle as many times as they want and learn by their own. Podcasts
can be used either inside or outside classrooms and they can be created not only
by professionals but also by students and teachers. In educational contexts, Pod-
casts can be either a short story to be uploaded on the school website or a weekly
radio show that students should organize and record. Podcasts are used by a large
range of institutions. For example, the University of Stanford has created a web-
site where students can ﬁnd and download useful Podcats (see appendix A.4.1).
Furthermore, there are many schools that publish their students’ recordings to
show contributions and achievements. An example can be a Scottish Primary
school that produces Podcasts with jokes, games and competitions (see appendix
In order to create a Podcast it is necessary to download the software Audacity
(www.audacity.sourceforge.net) that allows users to record and edit audio-ﬁles.
Listening and creating Podcasting oﬀer a wide variety of educational beneﬁts like:
• Introducing topics that will be eventually developed by the teacher;
• Allowing students to develop their listening and speaking skills;
• Making students familiar with ICT devices;
• Giving students a potential audience for their creations;
36. Didactic Use of Web 2.0
• Developing students’ literacy skills for the creation of scripts, interviews
and so on;
• Promoting collaboration and teamwork.
Among the websites that provide useful Podcasts for education we can ﬁnd
iTunes (www.apple.com/itunes/podcasts/), Librivox (www.librivox.org), Inter-
net Archive (www.archive.org), Jamendo (www.jamendo.com), Education Pod-
cast Network (www.epnweb.org) Radiowaves (www.radiowaves.co.uk) and Pinky’s
Power point presentations and slides are more and more used by professionals
since they oﬀer the possibility to present contents in an easy and catchy way.
Those tools are also widely employed in educational contexts both by teachers
and students since they can be used to:
• Present contents;
• Engage students by the use of images or animations;
• Develops student’s speaking skills and their capability to be communicative;
• Summarize key points previously developed;
• Give students the possibility to be creative and critical;
• Engage students in conversation, debates and opinion sharing.
Many websites enable users to upload their own presentations, share them
or download others’ presentations. Some of these online tools are Sliseshare
(www.slideshare.net), Scribd (www.scribd.com), Storybird (www.storybird.com)
and authorSTREAM (www.authorstream.com). A part from the basic functions
of uploading and downloading presentations, those Web resources give users the
possibility to include their comments and browse presentations by topics. More-
over, uploading presentations in these Web pages allow users to share their cre-
ations with a vast audience and to have them available everywhere.
37. 3.4 Tagging and Social Bookmarking
Tags are short descriptions that denote the content of speciﬁc resources and
makes possible the classiﬁcation and information searching based on keywords.
Tags can be considered as labels usually chosen by the creator of the content
according to personal and informal criteria. Since they are useful to organize
users’ web creations, tags are widely used in many Web 2.0 services. Tags can
also be represented in charts called tag clouds which are visual representations of
user-generated tags and are typically used to draw the content of web pages. An
example of tag clouds generator is Wordle (www.wordle.net), a web application
that creates word clouds from arbitrary texts highlighting those words that appear
Tags are directly related with the concept of social bookmarking service, a
device that gives users the ability to organize, search and publish references of
web resources. According to Franklin & van Harmelen, “A social bookmarking
service allows users to record (bookmark) web pages, and tag those records with
signiﬁcant words (tags) that describe the pages being recorded (2007).” Tags
help users to know web pages contents even before accessing them. The process
of organising information with keywords (tags) generated by users has been given
the deﬁnition of folksonomy. Examples of web pages based on social bookmarking
are Del.icio.us (www.delicious.com), Bibsonomy (www.bibsonomy.org) and Digg
The popularity of such services is growing constantly as they are easy and
intuitive tools to identify, classify, sort and share Internet resources. Moreover,
concerning the quality of the information provided, they have several advantages
over traditional search engines. This is because the classiﬁcation is based on tags
created by users who understand the content of the resource, and not extracted
by an algorithm trying to determine the meaning of the resource itself.
Another relevant characteristic of tag is that users can look for other users
who possibly share the same interests because they have tagged their resources
with similar keywords, and add them to an own network of contacts. This allows
an easy monitoring of contacts’ tagging activities for interesting bookmarks.
38. Didactic Use of Web 2.0
Thanks to its characteristics, social bookmarking can be used in educational
contexts through the creation of pedagogical applications based on the concept
of collaborative information discovery. Below are listed some of the possible
• Teachers and students can build up collections of bookmarks by sharing
their personal links to web pages and collaborative ﬁltering of digital content
• Groups of users with a common interest can team together to use the same
bookmarking service to bookmark items of common interest. If they have
individual bookmarking accounts, they all need to use the same tag to
identify their resources (Franklin & van Harmelen, 2007).
• Teachers and learners can recommend, rate and comment on certain re-
sources they found and post their bookmarks to an individual’s blog or a
common websites focusing on a given subject area, thus supporting each
others’ research eﬀorts (Vuorikari, 2007).
• With the use of multiple tags and tag clouds, these collections can be used
to build up reading and resource lists (Franklin & van Harmelen, 2007).
Alternatively, teachers and librarians can create pre-selected and tagged
lists of resources for learners to browse and extend (Vuorikari, 2007).
The University of Pennsylvania for example has promoted the Penntags project
(see appendix A.5.1), a social bookmarking tool for locating, organizing, and
sharing members’ favourite online resources. Similarly, the Harvard Law School
started the Haward’s H2O project (see appendix A.5.2) to promote the concept of
community-based development of educational software and encourage the growth
of a more open set of intellectual communities than those spawned by the tradi-
tional academic system.
39. Chapter 4
A Web 2.0 Experience
As we have seen so far, Web 2.0 can be used for didactic purposes and be part
of educational projects. During my teacher training - carried out in Escola Pia
Balmes (Barcelona) from February to May 2010 - I designed diﬀerent activities
with 2.0 applications and I eventually proposed them to my students. The aim
of my intervention was not just to get students familiar with ICT applications,
but also to stimulate their creativity, their communication skills and their critical
thinking. The idea of applying Web 2.0 tools to my lessons came from my atten-
dance at the APAC (Associaci´o de Professors d’Angl`es de Catalunya) convention
in February 2010. During those three days I learnt a lot about technologies and
learning innovations by participating to diﬀerent interesting workshops. In par-
ticular, I met some of the teachers that are currently using Web 2.0 in their
classrooms and that strongly believe in their potential. They showed me how
Web 2.0 applications can become an unlimited source of ideas and how they pro-
vide teachers with a wide range of possibilities to design and carry out activities.
During their explanations about the modality of use of Web 2.0, I was not only
surprised by the enormous potentiality of these technologies but above all fasci-
nated by the energy those teachers were transmitting me. After the meetings I
was so enthusiastic that I started gathering information and collecting materials
about Web 2.0. Nevertheless, the most exciting moment came when I started
designing my own activities on my Wikispace. The idea of teaching using my
personal resources stimulated me and I could feel the same energy the APAC
teachers had. So, the creation of my Wiki has been a process of discovering,
40. A Web 2.0 Experience
experimenting and above all experiencing.
When I started ideating my Wiki I thought it was going to be a complex
task. As I discovered later on there are diﬀerent online applications enabling
users to create catchy and interactive spaces where teachers can upload activities
and students can create and collaborate. To build up my Wiki I used PBworks
(www.pbworks.com), a 2.0 application especially designed for online collabora-
tion. It is a very user-friendly space where it is possible to upload videos, photos,
Slideshare, Google gadgets and even talking Avatars. It is easy and simple to
structure and edit. Moreover, PBworks helps teachers to organize their students’
accounts providing automatically both usernames and passwords.
4.1.1 Create your own recipe!!!
This task consists in the creation of an original and delicious recipe that
students would eventually publish on their Wikispace. It is aimed to get pupils
familiar with web 2.0 technologies and prepare them to share information and
collaborate both with their classmates and with peers from abroad. In order to
fulﬁll the assignment students should work in groups and look for information
and pictures on the web pages I suggest them.
• To achieve the communicative oral, written and audiovisual competences
of English language.
• To use with autonomy and critical spirit the social media and the informa-
tion and communication technologies (TIC).
• To listen to and understand both general and speciﬁc information and to
be able to express in a foreign language.
41. Figure 4.1: Francesca Escola Pia Balmes - PBworks
1. Students should get in groups and think about their recipe. It has to be
original and follow the modalities and steps present in the example provided
by the teacher.
2. After having drafted their recipe, students should think about an original
and creative title.
3. In order to give directions, students should use the imperatives. The
following web pages oﬀer examples of imperative forms: British Council
42. A Web 2.0 Experience
4. Students should include at least 10 ingredients with quantities (use grams,
liters and teaspoons).
5. In order to ﬁnd a speciﬁc words for ingredients and kitchen utensils, stu-
dents should use Visual dictionaries: ingredients (http://visual.merriam-
webster.com/food-kitchen/food.php) and utensils (http://visual.merriam-
6. Finally, students should ﬁnd and upload imaged representing ingredients
using the following applications: Flickr (www.ﬂickr.com) and Google images
4.1.2 Analysis and Observations
The ﬁrst aspect I was concerned about when I started designing my Wiki
was how I would manage to control and eﬃciently guide students. At the same
time, I was convinced that creating catchy and innovative activities would have
helped me to capture students’ interest and in some way their attention. My
good expectations have been conﬁrmed once I proposed the class the project of
building a Wikispace. They clearly showed me their enthusiasm and the majority
of them immediately started creating their own contribution. Nevertheless, some
problems arose during the fulﬁllment of the task due to its complexity and also
because using Web 2.0 tools was somehow completely new for my students. They
managed to use visual dictionaries and photosharing applications like Flickr but
the rhythm of the class was chaotic. I couldn’t follow all the students at the same
time and that was making me feel that they weren’t learning. At the end of the
session, I saw that despite my negative feelings the majority of the class acquired a
good knowledge of some Web 2.0 resources and that most of the students enjoyed
a lot the experience of collaborating with eﬀort and originality. I realized that the
fact that I did not have the control does not mean that students are not learning
and that the knowledge they acquired was generated by their collaborations and
by the connections they established.
43. Chapter 5
Web 2.0 applications can be used in educational environments to foster col-
laboration, creativity, motivation and critical thinking. They empower students
as content producers and give them the opportunity to share their creations with
a large audience. Thanks to Web 2.0 students can collaborate either with their
classmates or with peers from other institutions. Moreover, Web 2.0 can be
extremely useful to promote innovation and to foster collaboration among insti-
tutions. Since we are part of a world community, connections are fundamental
to trigger collaboration and content sharing. Web 2.0 is a highly eﬀective tool
to create connections and to stimulate confrontation. Furthermore, it seems that
Web 2.0 is motivating students and this is demonstrated by several researches we
have seen above.
The adoption of Web 2.0 for didactic purposes implies a radical change in
both teaching and learning processes. Information is no more just transmitted
by the teacher to students, but it can also come from the students or selected
through the web. The role of 2.0 teachers is to guide and scaﬀold students during
their process of selection and creation of the contents. Teachers should make
students aware that when they publish opinions or tag a picture they are not
just diﬀusing information or establishing connections but they are creating the
Web. The great potential of Web 2.0 is clear, but more research is needed to
provide teachers with instructions and to ensure the appropriate integration of
these revolutionary applications.
45. Appendix A
Examples of Educational Web 2.0
This appendix is aimed to present practical and real examples of educational
Web 2.0. The following pages will show how schools and educational centres are
using applications like Wikis, Blogs, Podcasts and social bookmarking resources
46. Examples of Educational Web 2.0
A.1 Motivating with Web 2.0
A.1.1 Duck Diaries
Figure A.1: duckdiaries.edublogs.org
65. Appendix B
Programming with 2.0
Here follows a didactic programming of “Create your own recipe!!!”, the
task I carried out during my teacher training experience in Escola Pia Balmes
Skills: S (speaking), W (writing), R (reading), L (listening)
Group: W (group work), I (individual), P (pairs), A (all class)
Diversity: Visual-spatial VS, Verbal-linguistic VL, Logical-mathematical LM,
Bodily-kinesthetic BK, Musical-rhythmic MR, Naturalist N, Interpersonal IE,
Evaluation: Participation P, Interest I, Task T, Questions Q, Presentation E
Homework: Workbook exercises W, Complete the task C
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