Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Google Sidewiki Makes the Whole Web a Wiki

The big news coming from Google today was the release of Google Sidewiki. Sidewiki allows you to comment, annotate, and edit any webpage. To use Sidewiki you must have the latest version of the Google Toolbar installed on Firefox (v.2+) or Internet Explorer (v.6+). I must admit that at first I didn't get it, but once I tried it I found it easy to use and I can see some educational uses for Sidewiki.

Here's how Sidewiki works; start by installing the latest version of the Google Toolbar. Find the little Sidewiki button in the toolbar and click on it. When you click the Sidewiki button a left-hand column will appear on whichever page you're viewing at the moment. In the left-hand column you can write in your comments, annotations, and edits to the content displayed on the page you're viewing. If other people have done the same, their comments, annotations, and edits will also appear in that left-hand column.

The video below provides a short overview of Google Sidewiki.

Applications for Education
Google Sidewiki could be a useful tool for teaching lessons on evaluating value, bias, and legitimacy of a website. The sidebar could be used as a place for students to comment on sections of a website that they identify as containing bias or inaccuracies.

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