IST 611: Personal Reflection

08Mar09

When my partner and I were choosing Web 2.0 applications for our class assignment, “Creating a Class Web 2.0 Wiki,” my primary selection criterion was that I had very little experience with the application that we would be utilizing.  Before IST 611, I had never heard of the Zoho Office Suite, nor had I ever used a web-based note-taking application.  When I learned that our tool was Zoho Notbeook, I was eager to venture into new Web 2.0 technology and learn new ways to integrate technology into students’ learning experiences.

After a cursory glance at the Zoho Notebook interface, I searched the Internet for feedback on the application. I found a variety of tutorials, reviews, and uses, all of which were overwhelmingly positive. The majority of reviews hailed Zoho Notebook as the premier application of its kind. As I started to build my first Zoho Notbeook page, however, I discovered that the the tool may not live up to its reputation: the interface of the website and the pages I made were not very appealing, and I encountered numerous problems when I tried to add audio, video, images, and URLs.

In an educational context, an application like Zoho Notebook certainly has its place. For the assignment, we suggested how teachers could use Zoho Notebook in geometry and poetry lessons. Within the parameters of my class assignment, these were effective uses of this particular Web 2.0 technology. After reading more articles and creating a Jing tutorial, I have discovered that Zoho Notebook may be better suited in the planning stages of a group project, rather than as a means of presenting information to the class. For example, students who are working on a collaborative assignment may find it helpful to compile their resources on a Zoho Notebook page. It can help them keep their information organized, and allows for more effective independent research for each member of the group. Through the course of this assignment, I have learned that applying Zoho Notebook to this stage of the process would be more beneficial, and students can use an application for presentation that is specifically designed for that objective. Instructors may also find Zoho Notebook helpful for organizing classroom materials and resources.

Adding our Zoho Notebook feedback to the class wiki has been a very positive experience. Although the Zoho Notebook application is not an ideal tool for me, I learned the benefits of having each team report its findings to the wiki. It is a very effective learning tool for students in IST 611, because we have a guide to a number of Web 2.0 technologies. I found the separate assignments particularly useful; each entry on the wiki contains varying degrees of specificity, from a brief description to a tutorial to ideas for classroom use. The class wiki will prove valuable for as long as the technologies remain relevant.

Bibliography
Byrne, Mr. “Notetaking and Collaborative Research.” 14 August 2008. Free Technology for Teachers. 1 March 2009. <http://www.freetech4teachers.com/2008/08/notetaking-and-collaborative-research.html?showComment=1219244820000>
Harris, Chris. “Zoho Notebook – Library 2.0’s Killer App.” Digital Reshift. 30 May 2007. School Library Journal. 1 March 2009. <http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/blog/840000284/post/870010087.html>
Harris, Chris. “Zoho Notebook – ROAR!”Digital Reshift. 23 May 2007. School Library Journal. 1 March 2009. <http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/blog/840000284/post/1680009768.html>
Wenzel, Elsa. “Zoho Notebook Ate My Homework.” Webware. 22 May 2007. CNET. 1 March 2009. <http://news.cnet.com/8301-17939_109-9721747-2.html>

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