As a follow up on my blog last week on Web 2.0, I have been reading several articles about eLearning 2.0. eLearning 1.0 being the much more structured, institutionally organised version of current forms of eLearning compared to a more ‘free form’ view of how learning can take place in the schools and workplaces of the future with eLearning 2.0..
Several writers steer clear of using the term eLearning 2.0 as elearning is evolving rapidly with the influx of Web 2.0 innovations. The overall message is clear for educators. Opportunities to take learning to the learners, at their time, venue and convenience are now possible using a myriad of Web 2.0 applications. The emphasis in learning (especially for adult learners) is to changing to provide opportunities for learners to connect & to build their own content. Our task as educators is to work out:-
- what fits into our particular learning context,
- what teaching / learning philosophy we are using to help learners learn
- the level of expertise our learners have with new technology,
- the type of learning that we would like to foster with our learners
- the depth with which our learners are willing to delve into the complexities of working with emergent technology tools
- the most ubiquitous delivery interface (ie desktop computer, laptop or tablet with WIFI, PDA, mobile phone) that is appropriate to our learner profile
As educators, our responsibility also lies in ensuring that technology is used as a tool to enhance learning for our learners. We need to:-
- keep up with the play,
- evaluate the possibilities of new applications with regards to their uses in teaching or support of learning both within and outside of our subject context
- be prepared to put time into experimenting and trialling new applications before we unleash them on to our learners
- be willing to think outside the square
- ask hard questions of our institutions about their preparedness to take on new ways of interacting with students for administrative and record keeping processes
Other questions revolve around our philosophies on the appropriateness of introducing the use of technology into our teaching. Although technology is often viewed as a tool, the overall pervasiveness of technology in our daily lives will need to be analysed. Questions include:-
- Is technology also changing the way in which we interrelate with our peers, colleagues, students, family etc? My answer is YES but how is it impacting on individuals. What is the degree of change? Who are the change agents?
- How is this push by technology to always be connected changing the way in which work, social networking, education are being viewed?
- For example, is microlearning a valid construct that may become mainstream in corporate and workplace learning settings?
A good summary of the implications of Web 2.0 technology on education provides examples of how educators could make use of currently available Web 2.0 software. However the article does caution that there is a vast plethora of software out there that may become overwhelming. There is also encouragement for educators to try out the software to find out the possibilities in education. Another article by David Baird discusses the promises Web 2.0 bring for social networking. Examples of how flickr can be used in the curriculum are provided. So lots to think explore, digest, think through and perhaps apply into my teaching for the next year.