Introducing Technology into Education
Both technology and education are equally important aspects of society. Education is needed to create valuable members of our community and technology is there to assist teachers and parents in that undertaking. Many teachers and schools around the globe have already started to integrate Confluence into their classrooms 1. Confluence helps to provide students with tech savvy skills in order for them to gain advantages in our increasingly technology based world. Getting started with Confluence is very easy and will provide an enormous benefit to both teachers and students. There are many ways to utilize Confluence in any level of education that will expand the learning capabilities of the students.
How is Confluence already being used for educational purposes?
Confluence has already been implemented by numerous universities in order to manage information and as a way for teams to collaborate through an effective online medium. It allows schools to unite and allocate all their student information and records in one easy to use place. Medical schools and libraries have been using Confluence as a way to organize their data into separate spaces, making Confluence a very straightforward way for students to navigate and find what they need. Confluence is a way for people to amass a great amount of research and information into one confined area for students and professors to access at any given time.
Administration offices are also being introduced to more technology and have started to use Confluence as a way to keep all their records straight. Confluence can only be viewed by people given access to certain areas so all the information is safe and secure. It is being used to keep account of attendance records as well as information on the students because it is easy to update and change what is already there. It also provides a way for teachers to collaborate and communicate with each other to get input and improve upon their own teaching methods.
Confluence is not strictly for the use of higher education and administration offices and has already been incorporated into high school, middle school, and even elementary school classrooms by some teachers. They are able to post helpful hints to assist students on their homework assignments and students can also collaborate together in a virtual environment to figure out tough homework problems. Teachers have also started posting homework solutions onto Confluence in order for their students to be able to go and figure out their mistakes. Seeing a solution worked out helps the students to find and learn from the mistakes that they made and the teacher only needs to post one homework solution to Confluence rather than redoing the whole homework assignment in class. Confluence also allows teachers to post study guides for the students to look at before tests with suggested problems to review or practice problems for the students to use in their preparation.
What are some examples of those applications?
Confluence takes many forms depending on what it is being used for, but the basic layout stays the same and is easy to use and navigate. One obvious example of Confluence is our Purdue Confluence wiki which we are using to create and publish our projects for EDCI 270. As demonstrated, teams have collaborated and developed a project completely through the Confluence system. Students are able to communicate with each other and gather all their research into one collective space to be sorted through and arranged into a comprehensive guide on our respective Web 2.0 tools. From all the different types of medium available to create an extensive project, Confluence was chosen to be the host because of its ease of use and versatility, among other things.
The University of Southern California has also set up Confluence on their campus to be used for educational purposes similar to Purdue. They used it for many different purposes on their campus such as as space for students to keep an ongoing journal, personal portfolios for students, collaborative knowledge base, and research coordination and collaboration for projects 2. An article on how Confluence was used and what the campus gained from it's incorporation can be found here.
The Pepperdine University Library uses Confluence to divide their information into "guides" on how to research certain subjects. It allows students to find the information they need in one specified place without having to search through numerous books and resources. It is very useful for new and incoming students who are unsure of how to handle research. Students can access these guides from any computer to aid them in their studies and there is not a time when Confluence is unavailable to them. Since teachers and professors have to sleep and most of the times are not available late into the night or early hours of the morning when students are still working and may need assistance, this Confluence application is a very helpful tool. 3
Glendale Community College uses Confluence to allows teachers to post study guides for exams. The students answer and edit each others' responses to the questions in order to come up with one all encompassing study guide for the class to use. These study guides are very beneficial for the students who choose to participate because it forces them to learn the answers to the questions and collaborate together to make sure it is correct. If other students are having trouble with an answer, it allows other students to help those students learn the material. A good way to know if one knows the material is if they are able to effectively teach it to some one else. 4
 Confluence Customers. Retrieved November 15, 2008, from Atlassian.com Web site: http://www.atlassian.com/software/confluence/customers.jsp
 USC Confluence: A Campus-Wide Academic Wiki. October 2006. Retrieved November 14, 2008, from Educause.edu website: http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ELI5016.pdf
 Pepperdine University Dashboard. Retrieved November 08, 2008, from Pepperdine University site: https://wikis.pepperdine.edu/dashboard.action
 GCC Dashboard. Retrieved November 08, 2008, from Glendale Community College site: http://wiki.gc.maricopa.edu/dashboard.action