Web 2.0 Semantic Systems: Collaborative Learning in Science

Michael Shoffner, Jane Greenberg, Jacob Kramer-Duffield, David Woodbury


Bot 2.0 is a collaboration involving the North Carolina
Botanical Garden, the UNC SILS Metadata Research center, and the Renaissance
Computing Institute (RENCI). Bot 2.0 presents a curriculum utilizing a memex as a
way for students to link and share digital information, working asynchronously in an
environment beyond the traditional classroom. Our conception of a memex is not a
centralized black box but rather a flexible, distributed framework that uses the
most salient and easiest-to-use collaborative platforms (e.g., Facebook, Flickr,
wiki and blog technology) for personal information management. By meeting students
“where they live” digitally, we hope to attract students to the study of botanical
science. A key aspect is to teach students scientific terminology and about the
value of metadata, an inherent function in several of the technologies and in the
instructional approach we are utilizing. This poster will report on a study
examining metadata use and comprehension of students from four U.S. post-secondary
institutions. Our data is drawn from a plant identification curriculum involving an
independent learning portion and a "BotCamp" weekend on the UNC campus.

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