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Sunday, December 02, 2007

Educational Mashups and E-Learning

A variety of web 2.0 applications from flickr to google map and across to rss feeds are being combined to create one seamless and integrated user experience. This post explores how one might combine tools to achieve educational objectives. Bottom line: Web tools and content are being mixed and matched to create interactive tools and content. What seemed to be a very 2005 kind of concept has “legs” today, thanks to the fact that google, yahoo, and others are making their web applications more amenable to integration. They are providing platforms and/or are encouraging the use of AJAX (asynchronous javascript and xml) that is rather rough around the edges, but produces results.

Let’s take a look at what a mashup is. A mashup combines web applications so that several can be integrated and viewed at the same time. Typical mashups import data that somehow relates to each other. For example, allows you to see where the visitors to your site are coming from. In certain ways, it is no different than the web traffic statistics you already get, but Frappr goes a bit further by providing actual graphics and information drawn from the various social networking sites.

Cautionary Note about Mashups: The quality is only as good as the quality of the information you’re incorporating. Case in point:’s mashup of the highest paid college presidents. The information is dated – there are now $1 million college presidents – Union College in Schenectady, NY is one, RPI in Troy, NY is another.

Are mashups truly useful? Or, do they simply create “fun facts”?

E-learning Uses of mashups:

1---Increase participation and interaction with your social networking spaces
2---Create interesting interactive activities as a project
3---Excellent display for presentations for school or work
4---Quality control of information, sharing methods, etc.

Getting Started: Easy-to-Use Sites that Allow you to Combine Feeds:

Google Personalize Homepage: (click on iGoogle)
Add a gadget for the google reader – this will allow you to get the feeds you want and need and to see them in a single place. You may choose from the menu on iGoogle, or add your own.




Mashups that Combine Maps and Social Networking


Mashups with Audio Books
Project Gutenberg:
Learning Portal:

Mashups with Podcasts:
Smithsonian Institute Podcasts:

The Smithsonian Institute's Folkways project provides content for mashups:

Maps Mashups:

Free map mashup application

Outstanding maps mashups:
Word of caution – be aware of the source of the data. Some data is flawed, resulting in a flawed mashup.

Flickr Mashups:
Helps children learn the English alphabet via Flickr photos.

Science and Data Mashups

Chemistry Quiz:
Chemistry quiz that uses strikeiron

Take a look at StrikeIron’s Data Pack
With the Super Data Pack developers can leverage multiple data sources for use within a diverse set of rich applications with no cost or commitment. StrikeIron provides the first 10,000 hits per month across all of the Web services within this Super Data Pack for FREE!

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