User-Generated Content in Education/Learning by Creating

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Definition of User Generated Content (JH/SW) edit

Today numerous Web 2.0 applications and technology-based web sites are constructed on a foundation of user generated content. Educational technologists, trend setters, innovators, and Internet users have helped define user generated content as content that is created, contributed, and distributed by regular web users. The formulation and production of rich content is created by the general public and not necessarily by paid professionals or experts in a particular field or subject area. User generated content (UGC), also known as peer production, or consumer generated media, or user created content, refers to a wide variety of digital media sources and technologies. Material such as the daily news, encyclopedias and other references, movie and product reviews as well as articles on any subject, all of which have been traditionally written by editors, journalists and academics. <[1]> User generated content is by amateurs. User generated content is available on the Web via blogs and wikis.[1] Most notably, user generated content refers to materials to include but not limited to many forms and types of reference materials to include encyclopedias, videos, movies, podcasts, and articles on any and all subject matters. User-generated sites are trending as “some of the most frequently visited sites.” <"">

Forecast for User Generated Content in USA (JR) edit

As Internet usage in the United States continues to rise it is expected that user generated content will continue to expand along with Web 2.0 applications and growing technology-based web sites. According to Tech Crunchies - Internet Statistics and Numbers, the phenomena of user generated content is likely to drive and encourage more than half of all internet users located in the United States into contributing content online. Below is a list of year to year projections going back to 2008 related to the percent of American Internet users who have contributed and researchers anticipate web users contributing to online generated content in the future [2]:

2008: 42.8 %

2009: 44.6 %

2010: 46.6 %

2011: 48.2 %

2012: 50.0 %

2013: 51.8 %

Exemplars of Web-Based and User Generated Content (JH) edit

With increased usage of The Internet and the continuing development of web based technologies and Web 2.0 applications, these practices are becoming ubiquitous in everyday life activities. Learning from user generated content is becoming commonplace among the young and old. From children and teens downloading and uploading music and videos, to middle and high school students creating video tutorials, to businessmen and women, to grandparents using social networking sites to stay in touch with their families, the creation of user generated content for learning is molding new social norms. Today, it is typical to see web based pages in many fields part of many colleges and universities. In addition to institutes of higher education, web based pages and user generated content applications are emerging at the high school, middle school, and elementary school levels.[3] Web- based technologies and user generated content is fast becoming the media of choice to deliver modern advanced distance educational systems. Familiar web-based technology delivery systems of instruction and learning include Moodle, Angel, and Web-CT. Each systems provides “how to” instructions related to course content delivery tools, synchronous and asynchronous conferencing systems, polling and quiz modules, virtual workspaces for sharing resources, interactive whiteboards, student/teacher assignment and discussion components.[4] A few examples of teacher and student created web-based and user generated content applications for learning include podcasting, vodcasting, project based learning, video-conferencing, YouTube type tutorials, student centric learning activities, blogging, social networking participation, web site creations, and Twitter. To view video examples of project base learningfollow these links "[]" :[5] "Video I square" [6]

Implementing User Generated Content in Education (SW) edit

The thought of using web based user generated content in education may, at first, seem absurd. However, the theory of Constructivism where students construct knowledge for themselves and develop critical thinking skills is not new. In fact, the theory has evolved from the work of Jean Piaget [7] on cognitive learning theory. The idea of using user generated content in education in creates a collaborative environment for learning. Users generate content and reflect on their own as well as other’s contributions. Students develop critical thinking skills while working through a formal educational social network. Teaching through a cooperative learning [8] environment encourages student motivation and fosters a positive educational experience. Students gain perspective and incite to guided topics through other’s contributions and continuously build a body of knowledge. Incorporating these ideas into a web based learning environment broadens the possibilities for learning. Students can participate outside of the traditional classroom. Information and idea sharing can be regional, national and even international, exposing students to varying cultures both socially and academically.

Seymour Papert asserts that context is important for learning to take place. His research builds on the constructivist view that learning is “building knowledge structures”. <"Ackerman"> While Papert shares Piaget’s constructivist view he adds that “the role of context, uses, and media” is important for learning to take place. <"Ackerman"/>He also states that computers should be used for more than just “informational technology”. <"Papert"> Such a theory supports the use of open content in education. Karsten Wolf,Impact of User Generated Content in Education, states that there are four elements of user generated content in education.

  1. Didactics and Design
  2. Educational Research
  3. Educational Technology
  4. Educational Policy and Practice

Based on Wolf’s criteria user generated content is supported by constructivism theory. Sharing and collaboration through expanded content and equal access provide an environment for learning. “We are smarter than me.” <"Wolf"> Open content allows users to “re-mix” and “mash up” information. Wolf defines “re-mix” as “reusing materials in a novel way” and “mash up” as “combining services and adding some usefulness.” <"Wolf">

Strategies for implementing user generated content (JB) edit

Make Content and Assignments Relevant to Students' Lives [9] edit

1. bring in and have students bring in articles from the mass media publications

2. relate class work to students' future goals and careers

3. use case studies or problem-based learning with topics of interest to students

4. involve students in research on topics relevant to them

Provide Students With Choice and a Sense of Control edit

1. give students options and choices in planning the course, in assignments, in ways to demonstrate their learning, and in how they are evaluated

2. allow students to pursue their own questions and interests whenever possible (in discussion, on projects, for paper topics...)

3. have students draft exam questions (edit and use some of the best ones)

4. be clear about your expectations and objectives (students need to know why they are being asked to do something)

Use Peers edit

1. use peers to offer support and feedback

2. value and give credit to students' contributions

3. use formal and informal group work when appropriate

4. divide the material among students or groups of students. Require each group to teach their peers the material they have studied

Involve Students' Affective Responses edit

1. select topics and reading that are relevant to students

2. use controversial topics

3. have students engage in structured, intellectual debates

4. have students argue the opposite of what they think/believe

Use Discussion edit

1. require each student to bring in a "good" discussion question covering the material of the day or some other form of the "ticket in"

2. require each student to take a turn as class discussion leader

3. have students answer the following two questions while reading and bring those answers to class: What was the most difficult part/concept/idea in the reading? What did you like the best/most exciting idea?

Encourage Student Self-Reflection on Learning edit

1. have students keep learning journals

2. take a class period to discuss strategies for learning

3. take time to talk with students about their progress in individual conferences

Adopting Web Based Tools for Implementing User Generated Content edit

1. Students can use an internet search engine to find relevant articles for a given topic.

2. Students can collaboratively construct a Wiki as a base of information.

3. Students can discuss relevant topics in an open source discussion forum.

4. Students can share and collaborate on documents using media such as "Google Docs”.

5. Students can share, discuss and comment links for building a collaborative knowledge base with tools such as "Diigo".

Teaching and learning roles in user generated content (JH/SW) edit

Teacher: Enhance Student Learning With Quality, Not Quantity edit

Many new teachers focus on quantity, not quality. They feel compelled to “cover” everything listed on the state standards. They end up with a teacher-centered approach that has nothing but lecture. The problem with this approach is that the multitude of information is too great for the students to absorb. Teachers need to focus more on the mini-lesson concept, keeping it short and sweet. [10] Many teachers don't realize that the curricular choices are generally left up to them. The teacher needs to identify the pace and delivery at which the students truly can learn. Not all classes can be taught the same amount of material in the same way, and changes must be implemented mid-stream to adapt to students’ needs. User-generated learning deals with more quality learning rather than the push for quantity. [11] As the student becomes more involved in the learning activity, rather than just sitting and listening to lecture, the quality of learning increases.[12]

Student: edit

In a student-centered classroom, rather than sitting quietly, listening to the teacher and taking notes, students are forced to participate in activities in learning. This can be anything from hands on activates to discussions among the students about a topic. One suggested idea is that the teacher still talks, for about 2 minutes, then the students actively discuss what the teacher has presented. This type of activity helps the student to construct their own understanding of the material that is presented.[13]

Encourage Student Learning With Depth, Not Breadth edit

Because teachers sometimes feel rushed to impart knowledge, they often make decisions that minimize student-centered discovery learning or cooperative activities – especially in high school. Again, time becomes an issue. many teachers feel that they don't have enough time for student-centered learning. They fear that group activities related to student-centered learning especially will take too much time. Teachers need to focus more on the depth of the lesson by keeping to activities small enough to encourage learning. They also need to realize that the depth of the lesson, even if it take longer than anticipated will make it more meaningful and encourage learning. [14]

User generated content for an educational purpose requires students to have certain skill sets to participate effectively and safely. The role of the teacher is to facilitate the learner and to instruct skills such as: analysis skills, cause and effect, effective writing, and fact versus opinion to prepare students to be discriminating learners. Armed with such skills students interact with and are guided by the teacher. The Flipped Classroom is a model integrating user generated content. [<>] The advantage of the flipped classroom is that the content, often the theoretical/lecture-based component of the lesson, becomes more easily accessed and controlled by the learner.

1. Establishes dialogue and idea exchange between students, educators, and subject matter experts regardless of locations.

2. Lectures become homework and class time is used for collaborative student work, experiential exercises, debate, and lab work.

3. Extends access to scarce resources, such as specialized teachers and courses, to more students, allowing them to learn from the best sources and maintain access to challenging curriculum.

4. Enables students to access courses at higher-level institutions, allowing them to progress at their own pace.

5. Prepares students for a future as global citizens. Allows them to meet students and teachers from around the world to experience their culture, language, ideas, and shared experiences.

6. Allows students with multiple learning styles and abilities to learn at their own pace and through traditional models.

To read read more at Suite101: Student Centered Learning in High School: Develop Teaching Strategies that Focuses on Student Needs, follow this link "Suite101"

Pros: (SW) edit

" Student -centric learning methods include active learning, in which students solve problems, answer questions, formulate questions of their own, discuss, explain, debate, or brainstorm during class; cooperative learning, in which students work in teams on problems and projects under conditions that assure both positive interdependence and individual accountability; and inductive teaching and learning, in which students are first presented with challenges (questions or problems) and learn the course material in the context of addressing the challenges. Inductive methods include inquiry-based learning, case-based instruction, problem-based learning, project-based learning, discovery learning, and just-in-time teaching. Student-centered methods have repeatedly been shown to be superior to the traditional teacher-centered approach to instruction, a conclusion that applies whether the assessed outcome is short-term mastery, long-term retention, or depth of understanding of course material, acquisition of critical thinking or creative problem-solving skills, formation of positive attitudes toward the subject being taught, or level of confidence in knowledge or skills." [15]

“We do it together to reach goals too large for each of us.” [2] User generated materials provide a learning environment with high quality materials freely available to anyone.

Cons: (SW) edit

While there are benefits to user generated content concerns exist. Naturally, if amateurs are creating content the chance of errors exists However, Wikipedia has been found to be as accurate as other encyclopedias.<"Wales"> Another concern is how to assess student learning in the user generated environment. <"Wiley" “Cyberbullying or cyberharrassment” and “information exposure” could be issues with user generated content. <"Englander"> Bullying is not new, but user-generated content can provide a forum for bullying. Research shows that this cyberbullying occurs from elementary to post-secondary levels. Elizabeth Englander of the Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center is concerned that young people are technologically savvy but naïve in regards to online security. Her research shows that students are too willing to reveal personal information. Accuracy, assessment, cyberbullying, and information exposure are issues that will continue to be examined by interested parties as the trend of user generated content grows.

References (JH/SW) edit

  1. User generated definition from PC Magazine Encyclopedia,2542,t=user-generated+content&i=56171,00.asp
  2. Growth of User Generated Content Contributors in USA
  3. hN Good, JB Schafer, JA Konstan, A Borchers, B … - Proceedings of the …, 1999 - aaai.orgttp://
  4. hN Good, JB Schafer, JA Konstan, A Borchers, B … - Proceedings of the …, 1999 - aaai.orgttp://
  5. Video George Lucas Foundation at elementary-school
  6. -I3FDA&q=project+based+learning+elementary&hl=en#\
  11. hN Good, JB Schafer, JA Konstan, A Borchers, B … - Proceedings of the …, 1999 - aaai.orgttp://
  1. Ackerman, E. (n.d.). Piaget's Constructivism, Papert's Constructionism: What's the difference? Retrieved September 19, 2011, from
  2. Englander, E. (n.d.). Cyber-Bullying and Information Exposure: User-Generated in Post Secondary Education. Retrieved October 14, 2011, from Webhost:
  3. Hilton, J. W. (2010, January 11). The 4 R's of Openness and the ALMS Analysis: Frameworks for Open Educational Resources. Retrieved October 12, 2011, from ScholarsArchive:
  4. Papert, S. (2004). Retrieved September 26, 2011, from 2004 Educational Conference in Sydney, Australia:
  5. Wales, J. (2005, Jul). Jimmy Wales on birth of Wikipedia. Retrieved October 9, 2011, from TEDGlobal Ideas Worth Spreading 2005:
  6. Wiley, D. (2011, October 10). The Primary Challenge of the OER Movement. Retrieved October 12, 2011, from iterating toward openness:
  7. Wolf, K. D. (2007, April 19). YOU learning- The Impact of User Generated Content on Education. Retrieved October 14, 2011, from slideshare: