Social Web/Teaching

Teaching and LearningEdit

As we have seen already in the first class, the revolution that is currently under way is not only restricted to the net, but is also entering the class room. Let's see how teaching and learning are affected by the social web and its technologies.

Learning Styles and Multiple IntelligencesEdit

Each person is different, even in the way how to learn things best. The educational psychologists have discovered this already in the 70s and developed a concept with different learning styles.[1] In total there are over 80 learning styles which are all a bit different.

Well-known models are:

Neil Fleming's VAK/VARK modelEdit

Fleming distinguished four basic types of learners:

  • Visual learners (learning by seeing)
  • Auditory learners (learning by hearing)
  • Reading- or writing-preference learners (learning by processing text)
  • Kinesthetic learners (learning by doing, by motion)

David Kolb's modelEdit

  • Convergers are characterized by abstract conceptualization and active experimentation. They are good at making practical applications of ideas and using deductive reasoning to solve problems.
  • Divergers tend toward concrete experience and reflective observation. They are imaginative and are good at coming up with ideas and seeing things from different perspectives.
  • Assimilators are characterized by abstract conceptualization and reflective observation. They are capable of creating theoretical models by means of inductive reasoning.
  • Accommodators use concrete experience and active experimentation. They are good at actively engaging with the world and actually doing things instead of merely reading about and studying them.

Honey and Mumford's modelEdit

  • Activists: Having an experience
  • Reflectors: Reviewing the experience
  • Theorists: Concluding from the experience
  • Pragmatists: Planning the next steps

Howard Gardner's theory of multiple intelligencesEdit

Gardner's theory [2] has evolved out of the conviction that traditional intelligence tests are not sufficient to identify and promote skills.

Initially he distinguishes between seven intelligences:

  • Logical-mathematical: People who are able to recognize abstract patterns, to think scientifically and have the ability to perform complex calculations.
  • Spatial: People possessing a spatial judgment and be able to visualize with the mind's eye.
  • Linguistic: People who are usually good at reading, writing, telling and memorizing. Those people learn foreign languages very easily as they have high verbal memory and recall, and an ability to understand and manipulate syntax and structure.
  • Bodily-kinesthetic: The core elements of the bodily-kinesthetic intelligence are in control of one's physical movements and the ability to handle objects skillfully.
  • Musical: People who have a sensitivity to sounds, rhythms and music.
  • Interpersonal: Interpersonal intelligence is the ability to understand others. In other words, the people who have a high degree of interpersonal intelligence and a sensitivity to foreign moods, feelings, motivations and an ability to distinguish cooperation.
  • Intrapersonal: People who are able to reflect about themselves and identify their strengths and weaknesses. Philosophical and critical thinking is common with this intelligence.

How to reach different types of learners?Edit

When you see how many different types of learners there are, it quickly becomes clear that the traditional teaching methods can only reach a fraction of the students. At this point the Web 2.0 offers many more possibilities. Students have the opportunity to actively shape content and get involved. A short summary which tool for which learning type suits best can be found under.[3]

Khan AcademyEdit

The way teaching is done in schools and universities is all wrong. ;-) When a teacher gives a class or lecture he or she is actually doing a broadcast. The students are supposed to be quiet and listen. However, this is not using any of the group dynamics, group learning that could be leveraged here. On the opposite side, homework and assignments are done at home, when the students are alone and have no help available when they might need it. Thus it should be exactly the opposite way round, do the homework in class, and watch the lectures at home. This is what Mr. Khan [4] is telling us, and it seems Bill Gates agrees with him.


Watch the following video on TED: ’Salman Khan: Let’s use video to reinvent education’ (

Please discuss the video, and write about what you think of it in your blog.

Open Source LearningEdit


Connexions is a dynamic digital educational ecosystem consisting of an educational content repository and a content management system optimized for the delivery of educational content.[5]

The content is structured as a standalone modules, so that others can easily use the tools provided by the platform to combine them into collections and context, specific to a certain class. These custom collections are specially designed to meet the needs of their students.

This is the advantage of Connexions to another creative-commons platform - "frictionless remixing". Another great thing about this side it, that it can be used as pdf, as online library, books can be orders in a printed form and by cutting the middle man - publishing, they cost less.

Everything is published under the creative commons licence. A global community of authors continuously converts and adapts information in the Connexions repository. Connexions promotes communication between content creators and provides various means of collaboration through author feedback and shared Work Areas. Collaboration helps knowledge grow more quickly, advancing the possibilities for new ideas from which we all benefit.[6]


Udacity[7] is a private online academy which makes it possible to attend free lectures and tests. So far, all the course topics are in computer science and programming. The good thing is that the lectures are not just filmed, but the students are always asked questions about the recently explained, to which they can then enter the solution directly on the screen. Depending on whether the answer was right or wrong, the video goes further then. If there is a wrong answer for example, then it is explained how you get to the correct solution.

In addition, there is a discussion forum where you can ask questions about courses, or get advice from other students.

The courses are spread over 7 weeks and end with a final exam that extends over the thematic content of the whole course. In Germany students can pass the exams at a real university in some cases and get a very regular confirmation.

The founders of Udacity, Sebastian Thrun, and David Evans wanted to democratize higher education with their online portal and provide education for all, regardless of race, wealth, age and gender.

Udacity now is financed through sponsorship and working with people from academia and countless volunteers.[8]


Not only Feynman's lectures are now available online, but many, many more. As it turns out iTunes, YouTube and others has an incredible number of free high quality lectures available.

On iTunes you find podcasts for children, but also lectures from universities:

  • Wissen macht Ah!,!-zum-mitnehmen/id211720164
  • Grundlagen digitaler Medien, K-U. Barthel,

Stanford, MIT and others have channels on YoutTube with their course offerings:

There are search engines specialized to listing / finding open course ware:

But not only courses are offered, but also research seminars, as for instance

Finally, as we have seen already, also conferences become available to the public, as for instance is TED:

Another new thing is Udacity, coming out of Stanford. They believe university-level education can be both high quality and low cost. Using the economics of the Internet, they have connected some of the greatest teachers to hundreds of thousands of students all over the world:


Many schools have Moodle [9] as a Course Management System. Its typical features are [9]

  • Assignment submission
  • Discussion forum
  • Files download
  • Grading
  • Moodle instant messages
  • Online calendar
  • Online news and announcement (College and course level)
  • Online quiz
  • Wiki

Web Conferences with Adobe ConnectEdit

Adobe Connect [10] is a web conferencing tool that uses Flash and runs in a browser. It is relatively straightforward to use and has an excellent audio and video quality, especially in conferencing mode. Alternatives are Skype, but conferences have a very poor quality last time I tried.

Activity for ParticipantsEdit

Watch the video ’Attending a meeting’ ( to get an idea on how to use Adobe Connect as a participant. Help can be found here

Activity for PresentersEdit

  • Overview of all tutorials:
  • Creating a meeting:
  • Recording a meeting:
  • Sharing screens and applications
  • Sharing PowerPoint presentations:
  • Using VoIP audio:
  • Sharing Flash content:

For public universities in Germany, the DFN (Deutsche Forschungsnetz) ( provides accounts to be used for online classes.

Gamification of TeachingEdit

Today, students are expected to pay attention and learn in an environment that is completely foreign to them. In their personal time they are active participants with the information they consume; whether it be video games or working on their Facebook profile, students spend their free time contributing to, and feeling engaged by, a larger system. Yet in the classroom setting, the majority of teachers will still expect students to sit there and listen attentively, occasionally answering a question after quietly raising their hand.[11]

Gamification, if handled properly, could be what is needed to make the classrooms more supportive of creativity while still teaching traditional academics.

What is gamification?Edit

Gamification is the concept of applying game-design thinking to non-game applications to make them more fun and engaging.[12] There are two ways games can be included in training regardless of whether they are instructor led or computer based

  • Gamifing the course(s) or parts thereof
  • Creating a game for the course(s) or parts thereof

Depending on how much game like features are required, one or more of the following can be done.[13]

  • Add points to tasks that need to be completed
  • Define badges/rewards to be given out after a criteria is met
  • Create a Leader board to show top performers
  • Define levels to repeat tasks or to perform harder tasks
  • Earning of badges can be tied to unlocking higher levels

Instead of only getting grades students get experience or points. At a later time they can use this points to "buy items" - for example "one free pass at a wrong question". Applying the multiplayer principle from games - a group of people work for a common goal, students are not competing against each other, but helping - because if one person gets the "high score" on the exam, they all get a "goodie"...

Mr. Pai [13] is an elementary school teacher. For his 3rd graders in math and reading he has created a website, where he posts links to easy and fun games, related to his class. The games are online games, that the kids play against kids from other countries. He is tracing the progress of every student and grouping them to help each other learn faster. This way kids learn multiplying, fractures and other math problems using fun games with names like - Flower Power. In only four months Mr. Pai's class went from being bellow 3rd grade average to above 4rd grade average.


Three IVY League colleges - University of Pennsylvania, Stanford, Princeton and the University of Michigan gather in the online platform Coursera and offer courses from world-class professors, that are free and open to use from everyone.

This site isn't like your average library of videos about interesting topics, it is actually a course, you can sign in to do, with professors from top universities. The course videos are not long lectures, that have been recorded, but are short video segments, which are easy to process, without losing concentration.

When you join a Coursera class, you'll also join a global community of thousands of students learning alongside you. At any time, you'll be able to ask questions, make suggestions, and get feedback on course topics from both peers and experts in the field. This community using the site organizes study-groups, discussion boards etc., and it is really easy to ask any class related question any time of the day.

And since this is an online class, they may even be the possibility of getting credits at your university for those courses - "Some students who are currently enrolled at other universities have been able to get credit for taking these courses at their own university (sometimes as individual research units). If you are a currently enrolled student, you might want to check with your university to see if this is an option." [14]


E-learning is the big buzz word used in the context of teaching and learning in the Web 2.0 era. It has received a lot of hype, but if you look at it critically, it has failed the expectations, mostly. Because it fails to focus on the social aspects of learning.

Most of us are social beings, with the exception of a few hermits. That means everything we do, we like to do in groups. And at least since the days of Plato [15] teaching and learning was a social activity, where teachers and students meet at a given time in a given place to learn about a certain subject.

However, E-learning does have its little niche. It does solve the problem of two scarce resources:

  • good teachers
  • time

The Nobel laureate Richard Feynman was said to be one of the best teachers. Unfortunately, only very few students at Caltech had the luck of attending his lectures live. Fortunately for us, they have been recorded and made available,[16] hence now everybody can listen to the best physics teacher.

In today's information society is to convey knowledge of paramount importance. E-learning acquired in addition to traditional teaching and learning opportunities a growing influence. This applies not only to the university context. In economic terms, the e-learning market in Germany point to strong gains. For example, increased the total revenue from e-learning industry, according to survey by the MMB Institute for Media and Competence Research in 2007 to around 139 million euros, representing an increase of about 15 percent compared to last year. Overall, e-learning is on everyone's lips. But what means e-learning at all?

Definition of e-learningEdit

The literature contains different definitions of this term. The following should be understood as e-learning teaching and learning through various electronic media. For e-learning are found to be synonymous terms include: on-line learning (online learning), distance learning, multimedia learning, computer-aided learning, computer-based training, Open and Distance Learning. Since the definition of e-learning has not yet been covered a widely accepted definition, they tried e-learning to be described by different facets. Multimedia, Multicodalität, multimodality and interactivity.

E-learning and related technologyEdit

E-learning can be based on very different technologies and are implemented in different educational scenarios. Are often discussed the following options:

Web-based training and computer applicationsEdit

The term CBT (Computer Based Training) is the work of learning programs (educational software), the learner can be used flexibly in time and space, and where learners are not in direct contact with the teachers and other learners. These programs can include educational multimedia content (e.g. animations or video documents) and are usually distributed on CD-ROM or DVD. In CBTis a form of e-learning, where the self-study is more important then communication, if any, takes place in an asynchronous manner. CBT has been around since the 80s. For older computer-assisted learning systems, there are also a variety of other names. For example,. are the CAT (English: Computer Aided Teaching), CAI (Computer Aided Instruction and Computer Assisted Instruction) and many more. The basic building block of network-based learning opportunities is the so-called WBT (Web Based Training) - a development of the CBT. These learning units are not distributed on a disk, but accessed by a web server online via the Internet or an intranet. The embedding into the network provides a variety of advanced methods of communication and interaction of the learner with the teacher / tutor and other learners. Thus, mail, news, chats and discussion forums associated with the WBT and audio and video signals are streamed live. A further development of the WBT towards a more communicative use the learning platform. It supports different types of communication, such as Chat and forums, so as to encourage the users of the learning platform for direct exchange and application of the learned (e.g., Babbel (software)).


Simulations are models, which depict important features of the real world trying to get students through free or targeted experimentation or observation of knowledge on structural or functional properties of the original convey. Complicated issues and processes of reality can thus be simplified and reduced to the essentials are presented, especially when real experiments are too expensive or too dangerous.

Video conference / distance educationEdit

The videoconferencing creates virtual classrooms by geographically distributed students and lecturers can communicate with each other. To be known as distance education version of the e-learning is mainly characterized by the transmission of image and sound. It allows for the classroom teaching similar communication between teachers and learners who can rely on verbal statements as well as to gestures and facial expressions. The distance education is limited by the relatively high technical requirements. With increasing bandwidth of Internet connections new technology eVideo formats develop.

Learning Management SystemsEdit

As a learning platform (English Learning Management System, LMS) systems are known that can support the on-line and / or classroom courses to complete (or parts of) the work flow of the event management of accounting processes, teaching and learning processes to the resources administration.

Learning Content Management SystemsEdit

The purpose of an LCMS (Learning Content Management System) is to create, reuse, locate, finishing and delivery of learning content. The content is often kept in a central repository in the form of 'reusable' learning objects (RLOs). Objects can be referenced by several different courses, so that in case of a one-time adjustment only change needed to bring all incarnations up to date. The LCMS has (as opposed to authoring tools) via a user management that allows different people and groups to assign certain rights so that, for example, for subject-matter experts, media designers, project administrators have different access functions defined / can be realized. A multi-user functionality allows you to manage concurrent access, so that it can not happen that two users can simultaneously carry (contradictory) changes to the same object. Furthermore, LCMS have usually have a version control that allows to track changes made. One of the most important tasks of an LCMS is to support reusable learning objects (RLOs). The goal is to prevent unwanted redundancies and conflicting information widely.

Content catalogsEdit

Content catalogs support the exchange of learning objects - from complete courses to raw materials. Provider can specify range conditions. Requests are documented and, if charged. These catalogs are often very specific to a particular grade (in this case higher education) are aligned.

Digital Learning GamesEdit

The concept of educational video game refers to games that are in a hard-and software-based virtual environment and place the desirable to encourage learning. Digital learning games are typically used in education and training system. They are indeed, as entertainment-oriented computer game "fun" too, is their primary goal, however, the acquisition of knowledge and skills.

Forms of e-learningEdit

Virtual EducationEdit

Virtual teaching called teaching that is conducted primarily through the Internet and does not include significant amounts of classroom teaching. The spectrum of presentation forms of virtual teaching include webinars, web-supported textbook courses, hypertext courses (e.g. text books, multimedia, animations and exercises), video-based courses (e.g. lectures, including slides) or audio-based courses and podcasts. Since virtual teaching as opposed to classroom teaching and "blended learning" is little opportunity for direct interaction, teachers and students often use to communicate electronic media such as chat rooms, discussion boards, voice mail or e-mail or special platforms. Virtual Education plays a growing role in the context of the introduction of further fine-line master's degree programs at many universities.

Blended LearningEdit

If the benefits of classroom events are linked with those of e-learning, it is called blended Clearing. Blended learning combines both forms of learning in an54 common curriculum. Blended learning is used, in particular, if in addition to pure knowledge and the practical implementation is to be trained (e.g. in health and safety).

Content sharingEdit

There are now websites that allow you to exchange learning units. Such initiatives exist as a commercial or free offers. An example of a commercial initiative is UNIDOG.DE - here are monetary incentives for the preparation of teaching content set. This should increase the quality of the published notes, flashcards or summaries. As a typical example of a non-commercial forum for example can the Student Council Forum for Business Engineering at the University of Duisburg-Essen used (Wiing-DU). Even with such local initiatives, often shows a high demand, as documented by traffic-Wiing show you as an example.

Learning CommunitiesEdit

Groups have the same goals and / or professional interests, to build an information and communication system is a common knowledge base. Each member of this learning community can contribute their own knowledge and thus the knowledge basis of common learning processes and adapted.

Computer-Supported Cooperative LearningEdit

Computer-Supported Cooperative Learning (CSCL) describes approaches to learning, which is supported collaborative learning through the use of computer-based information and communication systems.

Web-Based CollaborationEdit

The term Web Based Collaboration describes the cooperation of a learning task of a group of people over the Internet.

Virtual ClassroomEdit

The Virtual Classroom is used the Internet as a communication medium to connect geographically separated students and teachers together. The virtual classroom allows thus a synchronous form of learning. An extreme form of the distance learning is Tele-Teaching.


A whiteboard is like a blackboard or a flip chart. Users have the ability to create a network to share and view sketches. These are both Zeichen-/Mal- and text tools at your disposal.

Business TVEdit

Business TV is a precisely tailored to the television audience. Business TV is a very effective way to stimulate a group (employees, suppliers and customers) to learn.


When it comes to micro-learning learning in many small learning units and short steps, often through web or mobile phone.

Modular process visualization content within the e-LearningEdit

This is a visual representation of teaching units with the aim of a cognitive process - which can lead to new knowledge - prepare step by step in film, image, text and sound.

3-D infrastructure platformsEdit

Increasingly, 3D infrastructure platforms such as Second Life and Twinity gain in importance for e-learning applications. Due to the nature of these virtual worlds experience a very high degree of immersion is achieved. This is intended to a correspondingly higher learning efficiency, because games are growing together and learning. Through simulated worlds of experience you can now immerse themselves in these situations and experience. A high level of immersion (virtual reality) is achieved, inter alia, if the user enters a strong identification with their avatar and the user feels as part of the world. Thus, the term is extended by the concept of Action Learning e-Learning action. Another significant advantage of the networking team in virtual worlds is to see where teams need to interact seamlessly, for example, in actions by the police, fire and rescue services, etc. The parties may now log in from anywhere in the world and regularly in scenarios a virtual world through play. In particular orientation training can be conducted in more frequent and regular intervals, which can increase the effectiveness and efficiency of such operations. The foreign language learning, according to an employee of Linden Lab, the most common form of education in Second Life.

Advantages and disadvantages of e-learningEdit

Some advantages of e-learning are so obvious: The overcoming of geographical boundaries and time-and location-independent learning is enabled. Thus, the e-learning ensures that content is delivered to date and complete. The learner can be divided his time freely and develop their own learning pace. He can access it from anywhere - whether from home or from work. It eliminates the transportation cost for tuition.

But a well-known proverb says: "Where is light, there is shadow." E-learning also has to contend with disadvantages. First, it requires the learner to an even higher degree of self-discipline and personal responsibility than in the case face learning. There it is because of the class structures and the roles of student / teacher there are strong liabilities. In addition there are for example complaints about the lack of presence effect "that critical, intersubjectively-established cognitive and communication routines on non-and para-verbal signals are processed, are not available.

Critical LookEdit

At this stage let us take a critical look at our own class. Are the tools really helping us to learn? Are we not just wasting time? Is it because we have this beautiful golden hammer, that everything we see looks like a nail to us?


Start a class discussion. List all the tools you have been using and tell us what you think helped you and what is just a waste of your time. Thinking of Mr. Khan’s talk, what might be more effective. Would you prefer a classical lecture (one-to-many) type scenario?


Ex.1: Evaluation: (RateMyProfessor)Edit

Please go to the website and register if you have not done so. Then look for this course and rate it.

Ex.2: Evaluation: GoogleDocsEdit

The evaluation for this course will be done with GoogleDocs. Follow this URL to fill out the evaluation from for this course. Note that the questionnaire is anonymous.

Ex.3: Adobe ConnectEdit

Schedule a meeting time that is suitable to most of the class using Doodle.[17] Also from your instructor get the URL to connect to for the web conference. Attend the virtual class and explore the possibilities. Talk about your experience and how you feel about virtual classes in your blog.

Ex.4: Stanford’s ’Introduction to Computer Science’Edit

Take a look at the Stanford course ’introduction to computer science | programming methodology’ ( Watch a few of the videos and be amazed how Mehran Sahami mesmerizes his students.

Ex.5: Virtuelle Hochschule BayernEdit

The ’Virtuelle Hochschule Bayern’ [18] is the possibility for any registered college or university student in Bavaria to take online courses and get credit for it. If you have not done so, take a look at their website, and look for classes that might interest you. List those courses in your blog.

Ex.6: Web 2.0 and Emerging Learning Technologies (optional)Edit

Take a look at the wikibook ’Web 2.0 and Emerging Learning Technologies’ started by Curt Bonk.[19] It discusses many aspects related to learning with the technologies.


  1. Learning Styles,
  2. Theory of multiple intelligences,
  3. Web 2.0 and Emerging Learning Technologies,
  4. Kahn Academy,
  5. Connexions Website,
  6. Richard Baraniuk on Open Source Learning,
  7. Udacity Official Website,
  8. Interview in german with the founder of Udacity,
  9. Moodle,
  10. Adobe Connect,
  11. The gamified classroom,
  12. What is Gamification,
  13. a b Gamification Wiki, Invalid <ref> tag; name "r13" defined multiple times with different content
  14. Corsera Online,
  15. Platonic Academy,
  16. Richard Feynman Lectures,
  17. Doodle,
  18. Virtuelle Hochschule Bayern ,
  19. Web 2.0 and Emerging Learning Technologies,

Wikipedia on E-Learning

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