Thursday, December 08, 2005

The impact of Web 2.0 on education

Over the year, I have been following with interest, the development of Web 2.0. A good summary is found in a paper written by Tim O’Reilly. Web 2.0 emphasises the use of the web as a platform for ‘social software’ with the users of the software generating the content. Blogs and WIKIs are the most common examples of the application of Web 2.0 for educators.

The prospects that web 2.0 offer education have also been discussed on the blogs of George Siemens, Stephen Downes and Jay Cross. Essentially, Web 2.0 web based software has the potential to change learning from educators transmitting and students absorbing of knowledge to being able to both teacher and student being able to connect with, evaluate, re-engineer, innovate and apply knowledge.

Web 2.0 is a continually evolving platform. I found Steven Brook’s edugadget via the edublogger’s frappr site. Steven is one of 4 Kiwi edubloggers who are registered on frappr. Frappr itself is a good example of a Web 2.0 software application as it allows many people with a similar interest to post their contacts so that they can then make connections with each other. The edublogger frappr site came through Steven Harlow’s blog which I follow via bloglines. The whole process of how my learning about Web 2.0 has progressed is another example of how the social networking aspects of Web 2.0 work.

Steven’s edugaget had a link to a site he had set up on Ning to check out how many Web 2.0 pieces of software any reader of his blog would be familiar with. This really opened up a whole new area of exploration for me! To keep up with the ever increasing number of software applications that are being launched as web 2.0 applications, I now follow techcrunch. Not all of the items of software launched will survive. However, users are the ones who are driving the way in which Web 2.0 works, so applications that meet specific user needs and are user friendly to use are the ones that are becoming more main stream.

The exciting thing for me is that many of the ways in which mobile technology is evolving is also in synch with what is developing with Web 2.0. Software that allows the people to find each other like friendster, blog, share photos via flirkr, play, download and create podcast on odeo and collaborate on writing webpages like Writely are also being made available via mobile phones. At some stage in the development of mobile technology & Web 2.0, one hopes that there will be the opportunity for educators trying to build platforms for mobile phone based portfolio collation to tap into available software to get the task done. An integrated package would be the ideal but trialling with software that is free to use and accessible via the web is a good way to work out the logistical challenges.

1 comment: