E-learning with web 2.0


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- ► category - Although static webpages used to deliver information are one of the most obvious features of web 1.0, there is a whole new generation of websites which are dynamic rather than static and have a more web 2.0 feel and orientation. Webpages can also be accessed on mobile devices, especially if they have versions which are mobile-optimised, in which case the website recognises the user's device type and formats itself appropriately. However, the current trend is very much moving away from visiting websites on mobile devices, with users preferring single-function apps instead (see Going Mobile below).

- ► what - Websites are made up of webpages (and often include a main page called a homepage). The new generation of websites, with their web 2.0 orientation, often:

- ► how - Over time, it has become easier and easier to create such pages: nowadays, with little knowledge of web design or HTML code, you can set up your own simple website.

- ► where - You can quickly and easily set up a free website with a number of different services. Three of the most popular with educators are Google Sites, Moonfruit and Weebly. The images of the start pages of Google Sites (top right) and Moonfruit (bottom left) demonstrate just how simple it is to set up a website with these services. Other options include Roxer, Socialgimme, Tackk, Webs (formerly Freewebs), Wix and Yola. Personal webpages can be set up with about.me.

Moonfruit1.pngThere is also a range of services which allow you to quickly set up a simple homepage (that is, a single webpage rather than a whole website consisting of multiple pages). Some of these services now refer to homepages as dashboards. These services typically make it easy to incorporate RSS feeds and materials drawn from social sharing sites. In fact, some of them operate much like older RSS aggregators.

Examples include iGoogle, My Yahoo, Netvibes, Pageflakes and Protopage. Teachers or students could use one of these latter services to create a start page which pulls together features of interest from across the web.

- ► going mobile - With the proliferation of mobile devices that underpin m-learning, website owners are increasingly considering how best to optimise their websites for mobile traffic. Typically, mobile-friendly websites have simpler navigation, reduced text and resizable images. Some websites can detect whether they are being accessed from fixed or mobile devices, and they provide a mobile-friendly version automatically. For advice on creating websites which work across multiple devices, see Google's Think Insights. To check whether a website is mobile-friendly, try mobiReady.

However, it is worth bearing in mind that on current trends, users prefer dedicated mobile apps to mobile websites, as a result of which mobile web use is declining relative to app use.

- ► examples - For examples of webpages created by pre-service teachers using Weebly, see European Exploration of WA (2012) and The Tree of Life (2012).

- ► variations - Time-limited webpages can be set up at disposableWebPage. Eenoxallows you to create HTML5 websites for smartphones and other mobile handheld devices. Start.io allows you to create a start page that pulls together links to all your most visited sites and resources.

For a guide to the whole range of Google applications that may be useful to teachers, and which can often be embedded in or linked to from a website, see Richard Byrne's 2011 Google for Teachers.



Credits: The screen captures on this page show the start pages of Google Sites and Moonfruit. I owe the about.me link to Rui Qi Ng.

Contact: There's no such thing as a finished wiki. Like all wikis, this one is a work in progress and there will be changes from time to time in organisation, content and links. However, don't let that stop you from contacting me at any time with comments, suggestions or questions. I owe the Google for Teachers link to Adam Marchant.