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A. Loureiro1, A. Santos2, T. Bettencourt3

1CIDTFF, University of Aveiro / Higher School of Education / Polytechnics Institute of Santarém (PORTUGAL)
2Higher School of Education, Polytechnics Institute of Viseu (PORTUGAL)
3CIDTFF, University of Aveiro (PORTUGAL)
We intend to present a study that is being developed with part-time students from higher education on a method to increase the collaborative work between students, and to enhance their research skills. The method is designed around features of web 2.0 (particularly Diigo and Second Life®) which offer some benefits for deeper collaboration. The target group are students from the 1st year of an Education and Multimedia Communication Course (regular class and adult class). The method begins with the teacher setting the class a challenge. Students are then invited to research the question and post whatever links/documents they consider relevant using an educational Diigo group, and comment on what they find (using the share and comment capabilities). The end goal is for students to write (and present) articles about the topics based on their research, readings and discussions. To facilitate the development of a shared understanding the students post information and participate in virtual on-line meetings (using the 3D virtual environment Second Life®). With the Second Life® meetings we intend to simulate a class-room allowing students and teacher to interact in an informal and “natural” environment. The Facebook tool is also used by the class for communication between students and teacher (although in a more informal approach). The use of web 2.0 technologies allows students to participate in richer interactions at times that are more convenient to their work/study patterns. This paper will discuss preliminary finding from this project and analyse its use in similar educational contexts.