Watching the paint dry
It's been a busy day teaching with two of my BA groups having a stab at creating their first blogs here at the University of Plymouth. I have shown them how to integrate these into a Wetpaint wiki (probably the best of the bunch at the moment for functionality, ease of use and ad-free response). 'Watching the paint dry' is usually a euphemism for boredom - but on this occasion, I found it truly rivetting to watch them explore Web 2.0 tools. Time will tell what content is generated, but I'm encouraging the students to read and comment on each others' postings so that they can get the feel for how blogging works and the benefits it can accrue. Hopefully this will encourage all to create content that is engaging and informative. I also touched on social tagging and the theory behind it - the use of Delicious tagging was a particularly popular part of the session. My slideshare set has also created some interest.
In future sessions we will examine a number of other Web 2.0 tools including aggregators (probably Crowdvine and Twemes), microblogging (probably Twitter) picture sharing and podcasting. I'm impressed with the manner in which the students (almost all of whom have never done any of this stuff before) have taken to the concept of Web 2.0 and how enthusiastic they are to learn more about how these tools can be used to promote collaborative learning, encourage knowledge generation and create new educational experiences in schools and further education.