Saturday, September 18, 2010

Information Management

A couple of weeks ago, in one of the presentations to the group of visitors, I was asked,
"How do your students manage so many blogs that they created or they needed to access for learning?"

Well, it's a good question. Especially for those of us find it challenging to keep track of the many webpages out there. Oh, what's more we are talking about managing information related to learning! So, simple bookmarking the pages is no longer enough to help manage the information generated.

Let's recall how do we manage information in those good old days:
  • Information is organised as chapters in books.
  • Within the chapter there are pages.
  • We can also insert physical bookmarks to indicate where we stop 'halfway'.

In the early days when we start using computers:

  • Information is organised in files (be it word document, spreadsheet, powerpoint presentation, PDF Files, etc)
  • Then we organise related files in folders (which is equivalent to assembling as a book).
  • Even when it comes to webpages, we tend to organise with the Site Map which goes by "Chapters" (i.e. sections).

When it comes to web 2.0 technology, the use of tags and labels has started to replace specific pages to organise information. For instance, when it comes to blogs, one good way to organise related posts would be using labels.

Indeed, we discussed about this in our subject preparation time because the subject uses the blog regularly for learning activities throughout the year. Posts of various natures are put up - exercise, quizzes, information, students' work. As the posts are arranged in chronological order, so it is kind of challenging to adopt the conventional way of grouping the different kinds of posts.

So, labeling comes in very handy! Each post could be labelled with the topic first. In this case, when we filter, we would be able to surface all the posts related to the particular topic. This would be quite similar to what we 'traditionally' get :) Apart from this, we could also label students' work differently (e.g. eLearning Activity 1). In this way, we could easily siever out those work we are looking out for - for checking or discussion :)

It's a whole new way of organising information :)


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