Book Review: Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms

Article excerpt

Book review: Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms by Will Richardson Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press, 2006.168 pages. ISBN 141292 7668. Hardcover $61.95^sup USD^.

In an effort to open the eyes of instructors and administrators to new, emerging teaching technologies, Will Richardson provides an overview of several different forms of web-learning and teaching. In an easily readable format, Richardson defines and details the manner of creating and using new web tools. His 138-page book, Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms, enables professors with a working knowledge of the Internet to expand their understanding of certain Internet applications their students are using in their free time. Professors can then expand their teaching to incorporate these methodologies in their classrooms.

At the center of Richardson's discussion are tools and software packages which are core components of the Internet, yet are marginally familiar to faculty - Weblogs, Wikis, RSS, Bookmarking Services, Flickr, Podcasting, and Screencasting. Richardson not only provides easily understood definitions for the tools, but also gives a step-by-step process for creating blogs, wikis, and images online. He also strives to assist in data management by explaining resources such as RSS (web feed format) which assist in keeping up-to-date on items of interest without having to do daily searches. Richardson provides extensive information on how to establish the tools in a classroom setting and offers information on available software packages depending on a professor's needs and budget.

Richardson's book gives a beginner enough information to get started using web tools. For instance, in the first section of the book, he familiarizes the reader with Weblogs ("blogs"). He defines blogs as, "a form of easily created, easily updateable Website that allows an author (or authors) to publish instantly to the Internet" (p. 17). After establishing what a blog is, he instructs the reader how to create a blog. In doing so, he gives technical information for creating a public blog (one anyone can read) or a private blog (one to which only authorized users have access). Richardson offers a range of uses for blogs including "class portals, online filing cabinets for student work, e-portfolios, collaborative space, knowledge management and school websites" (p. …