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Web 2.0 Essay (ED 2203)

Web 2.0 is essentially an increasing range of software that supports a variety of technologies for open and collaborative communication, learning and creativity. Discuss.

Web 2.0 is an ever growing and expanding range of software, accessible anywhere, anytime on the internet. This software provides the opportunity for open and collaborative learning within the classroom and beyond. It also provides engaging and creative resources which enable students to gain access to an endless supply of information and technology which will encourage them and enhance their learning possibilities.

 

The concept of Web 2.0 was originally conceived in the eve of the basic information processing that was Web 1.0. Researchers O’Reilly and MediaLive International originally prescribed Web 2.0 to be a turning point for users in regards to the World Wide Web (O’Reilly, 2005). Some of the major points brainstormed included advancements in the technology at the time and the future possibilities moving into the limelight:

Web 1.0   Web 2.0
DoubleClick –> Google AdSense
Ofoto –> Flickr
Akamai –> BitTorrent
mp3.com –> Napster
Britannica Online –> Wikipedia
personal websites –> blogging
evite –> upcoming.org and EVDB
domain name speculation –> search engine optimization
page views –> cost per click
screen scraping –> web services
publishing –> participation
content management systems –> wikis
directories (taxonomy) –> tagging (“folksonomy”)
stickiness –> syndication

Figure 1: (O’Reilly, 2005) 

Steve O’Hear’s article entitled “Web’s second phase puts users in control” explores the world of Web2.0 and its practical application within the classroom, the opportunities for collaborative e-learning and the future for all of us on-line. Web1.0 provided users with a “predominantly “read only” medium” (O’Hear, 2006) but advancements in technology have transformed this medium into an interactive experience which allows greater access to information, superior opportunities for on-line interaction, collaboration and communication and an all-round more creative experience. Often students aren’t comfortable expressing their ideas or opinions in the public domain, but the on-line world of forums, blogging and collaboration (ie. Wiki pages) allow everyone including the teacher, students and parents to gain access to a real collaborative experience (Rattivarakorn, B, 2007). This need for the school, the students and the parents to be involved in the process is made possible through the ever growing expanse of on-line tools.  The tools which have allowed for this shift in user control includes web-blogging, social networking tools, such as Facebook and Myspace, and advanced organisation and presentation tools including Wiki pages, SlideShows, Animoto and iGoogle.

 

There are several web based office tools emerging which are imperative in creating the environment needed for collaboration and communication. On-line presentation tools, word processing programs, and spreadsheet, mind-map and diagram programs are all continuing to grow and increase in usability and effectiveness (Benzinger, 2006). An example of effective presentation tools that are highly effective for use in the classroom are the SlideShare program and Animoto.

As seen below, SlideShare is a program which allows users to create slideshows on-line that are able to be embedded into other on-line software, such as WordPress, Facebook, Blogger etc. SlideShare is effective in allowing its users to receive comments and feedback regarding their presentation and in allowing others to access the information for further learning.

Animoto is a another online presentation tool that will allow students to experiment with creating meaning through images and song and revolutionise the way students engage within the classroom. Animoto allows students to create their own personalised film clips using relevant up-loaded images and music. The site creates an individual clip every time and is a creative and accessible tool for students. It gives them the opportunity to explore and utilise the world of Web2.0, while growing in skills and knowledge of their key learning areas. Animoto also allows for a more creative and useful experience, rather than the traditional approach with Power Point. The presentations can be easily posted on-line for reference from other users, unlike the hard-ware based Power Point (Lalor, 2007). Students are again able to publish or embed their clips on their web sites as with SlideShare.

Another useful on-line tool in the new Wet Paint Wiki (O’Connell, 2007). This wiki will take classroom collaboration to a whole new level. A class can set up a wiki page and each member of the class can access its information and add and input into the entire make-up of the page. Each member of the class has the access needed to creatively add new information while gaining a deeper learning experience of the subject matter.

Students now also have better access to their subject matter and course requirements through the use of these tools, rather than the Web 1.0 form of simple two-way emails. Web 2.0 has opened the door for interaction between entire class bodies, rather than the basic student-teacher or student-student possibilities. Questions can be asked on open Wiki or Blog pages, whose answers can be accessed by everyone, at any time. This allows for clarity of instructions and task requirements while ensuring that every member of the class has been granted the opportunity to access the information needed. The old “I was away that day” will no longer stand to reason as all students are able to gain the information required any where, any time (Voithofer, R, 2007).

Because all are web-based, greater ease in on-line collaboration is available, especially for students who are working on projects together or are seeking to learn collaboratively.

 

Another reason Web 2.0 is a highly effective classroom resource is because recent studies have shown that 96% of teenagers now use at least one form of on-line social networking (eSchool News Online, 2007). This report has shown that on-line networking within the classroom is a vastly untapped resource and will compare to nothing in engaging students in collaboration within their learning experience. Due to the nature of this on-line phenomenon amongst school age students, teachers are already a step ahead in the process as students are already familiar with the technology. 

 

As with any new resource available for integration within the school community, Web 2.0 does have a few potential flaws that should be considered before use. Privacy and child protection protocols must be observed and actioned before students are given access to this endless world of information. Also, with the ever-increasing rise in teens involved in on-line social-networking, guidelines and mutual trust must be engaged in between the teachers and their students to ensure that students remain always on task within the allocated e-learning timeframe. Students will potentially become extremely side-tracked with their own Web 2.0 agendas and must be monitored and allocated specific tasks in order to ensure appropriate use of the internet during classroom hours.

 

            Web 2.0 is a resource that cannot be overlooked when planning to create the optimum learning environment. The software available on-line is constantly emerging and progressing thus creating a rapidly changing world, requiring constant attention to detail. With the willingness to make it work, teachers can now involve their students in a learning experience like never before.

     

WEB REFERENCES

 

O’Hear, S, (2006). Web’s second phase puts users in control,

http://education.guardian.co.uk/elearning/story/0,,1801086,00.html

 

Benzinger, B, (2006). Back to School With Web 2.0: Part 2,

http://www.solutionwatch.com/515/back-to-school-with-the-class-of-web-20-part-2/

 

Lalor, R, (2007). The Future: E-learning with Web 2.0

http://thewikispot.pbwiki.com/The+Future%3A+E-learning+with+Web+2-0

 

O’Connell, J, (2007). HeyJude: Wet Paint wiki – will change the way you teach!

http://heyjude.wordpress.com/

 

eSchool News Online, (2007). 96 percent of teens use social-networking tools

http://www.eschoolnews.com//news/showStory.cfm?ArticleID=7304

 

Rattivarakorn, B, (2007). Rareplay: School Learning Goes Web 2.0

http://www.rareplay.com/index.phpmact=News,cntnt01,detail,0&cntnt01articleid=147&cntnt01returnid=32&news_category_id=1 

O’Reilly, T, (2005). What Is Web 2.0

http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/a/oreilly/tim/news/2005/09/30/what-is-web-20.html 

Voithofer, R, (2007). Web 2.0: What is it and how can it apply to teaching and teacher preparation?

http://education.osu.edu/rvoithofer/papers/web2paper.pdf

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