Social Software Tools and their Application in

VET Teaching & Learning

blogger.jpg bloglines.jpg bubbleshare.jpg delicious.jpg flickr.jpg furl.jpg livejournal.jpg
myyahoo.jpg netvibes.jpg newsgator.jpg nuvvo.jpg odeo.jpg pbwiki.jpg pluck.jpg
podomatic.jpg protopage.jpg skype.jpg technorati.jpg wikipedia.jpg wikispaces.jpg writerly.jpg youtube.jpg

A presentation by Sean FitzGerald for the Pharmacy Guild of Australia.


What is Web 2.0?

According to an (earlier) definition at Wikipedia:

"Web 2.0 is a term often applied to a perceived ongoing transition of the World Wide Web from a collection of websites to a full-fledged computing platform serving web applications to end users. Ultimately Web 2.0 services are expected to replace desktop computing applications for many purposes."

Sean's definition:

Web-based applications and services that make it easy to create, distribute and share content (often collaboratively), while helping users find and connect with like-minded people and form social networks based on common interests. It is also described as the Read-Write web.

The significance of the shift to Web 2.0 for education is that it empowers teachers and learners to easily create and share their own content and resources.


What is Social Software?

Web-based applications that enable links to be made between people and content based on commonality of purpose, use or interest. Social software has been around for some time but only recently has it emerged as a popular tool for networking, research, teaching and learning.

Social software has some or all of the following characteristics:
  • Easy content creation
  • Collaborative content creation
  • Ability to share content with others (often via RSS feeds)
  • Makes it easy to find other users with similar interests
  • Tools for forming online communities

Social Software Tools

Wikis & Collaborative Writing Tools

A wiki is a website that can be easily edited from within a web-browser. They are especially suited for collaborative authoring.

Services: Wikispaces, PB Wiki, Writely

Wikipedia - the free, collaboratively built online encyclopedia - is the best known example of a wiki.

Blogs & Online Journals

A blog is a frequently updated website with posts that are date-stamped, displayed in reverse chronological order, and automatically archived. A typical blog combines text, images and links to other blogs.

Blogs are used as knowledge management tools, personal journals, opinion columns, newsletters etc.

In education they can be used to post course information and activities.

Services: Blogger, LiveJournal, Edublogs


RSS Feeds & Newsreaders

RSS - which stands for Real Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary - is a method for distributing and syndicating content from websites, news sources and blogs.

RSS feeds make it easy to keep up with multiple information and news sources and blogs without having to visit each site individually.

Users can subscribe to RSS feeds or display them on their own webpages or blog.

A news reader is a tool for aggregating RSS feeds from multiple sources and displaying them in one place.

Types of News Readers/Aggregators


Social Bookmarks

Social bookmarking tools make it easy to save bookmarks online so that so that they can be accessed from any web-enabled computer. They can then be shared with others. Users can search the bookmarks saved by others and add them to their own list. Social bookmarking tools provide an insight into what resources are considered important.

Services:, Furl


Tagging and Folksonomy

Tagging is a method for collaboratively categorising resources using keywords (a practice known as Folksonomy). Many web services now provide tagging.

Instead of an authority determining a set of heirarchical categories and deciding which categories the items are listed under, the community is responsible for tagging the resources.

One of the advantages of using this method of categorisation is that items can have mutliple tags, and therefore fit within multiple categories. This can only happen in the digital world, as items can only be stored in one place at a time in the physical world.

The disadvantages include incorrect or inappropriate tagging, individuals having different ideas about how resources should be tagged, spelling mistakes etc.

More info:

Photo Publishing & Sharing

Photo sharing sites make it easy to create online photo albums which can be viewed and shared with others. They often used to store photos to be displayed on other websites or blogs.

Services: Flickr, BubbleShare

Video Publishing and Sharing

Video sharing sites make it easy to upload videos and store them online where they can be viewed and shared with others.

Videoblogging, also known as vlogging, is the practice of posting videos to a blog. These days video sharing sites make this easy by providing the code needed to embed videos stored on their service on a blog.

Services: YouTube & Google Video

Podcasting & Videocasting

Podcasting is a way of delivering audio content (typically in MP3 format) over the Internet.

Listeners subscribe to the podcast's RSS feed using 'podcatching' software which retrieves the latest podcasts and automatically downloads them to the listener's computer or portable music player.

Although podcasts were originally named after the iPod, they can be listened to on any MP3 player or MP3-enabled device (such as the new range of MP3 phones).

Services: Odeo, Podomatic

Example: Casting the Net Podcast

Podcatching software: Apple's iTunes, Juice Podcast Receiver (screenshots)

Videocasting - also known as video podcasting or vodcasting - uses the same RSS technology as podcasting to deliver video. Users can subscribe to the RSS feed and have the latest videos automatically downloaded to their computer or video-enabled mobile device.



Moblogging is the practice of posting content - text, images, audio or video - to a blog using a mobile phone or other portable device.

More info:

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) software makes it possible to make audio and video calls and conferences over the Internet, usually for free.

Most VoIP applications come with instant messaging and file sharing features.

The most popular VoIP application is Skype.


Digital Storytelling

"Digital Stories are short personal nonfiction narratives that can be composed on nonprofessional or personal computers. They are told from the point-of-view of the maker and the subject is generally about something the maker experienced personally. Digital Stories usually range from 2-5 minutes in length and can include original music, art, photographs, narration and video clips. They are also typically created by one person with little technical training, rather than by a team of professionals."
- Youth Media Distribution


Content Management Systems and Learning Management Systems

A Content Management System (or CMS)is a software package that allows administrators to manage content using an administraion interface. CMSes range from a simple blog to portals that provide an integrate suite of tools such as news posting, bulletin boards, chat rooms, file repositories, link managers.

" A Learning Management System (or LMS) is a software package, usually on a large scale, that enables the management and delivery of learning content and resources to students. Most LMS systems are web-based to facilitate "anytime, anywhere" access to learning content and administration."
-- Wikipedia entry on LMSes

LMSes provide an integrated suite of tools - noticeboards, document storage, authoring tools, forums, quizzes, assessment tools, student tracking facilities etc.



Example: EdNA Groups


Social Software Resources on the Web

The last ten URLs saved at and tagged with "socialsoftware":

    Full list of URLs saved to and tagged with socialsoftware


    Inspiration for this presentation was drawn from resources by Leigh Blackall and Stephan Ridgway

    Go to Google