WEB 2.0 IN EDUCATION



"Technology should be like oxygen: Ubiquitous, necessary, and invisible." - Chris Lehman

It has almost become a catch cry of progressive educational institutions that educators are engaged in the task of preparing their pupils for a radically different work place then has ever been seen before. How far wrong is the statement that educators are preparing students for jobs that would not have even existed when those same students entered high school? Case in point - the accompanying screenshot to this text comes from the online recruitment specialist SEEK.com from April 25th 2012. What is clear here is that there are a plethora of opportunities for employment that make use of technologies that did not exist five years ago. It might be considered ironic that this change in thinking on employment and employment opportunities may even lead to the downfall of SEEK.com itself. David Ramli, of the Financial Review recently commented in his article Tweet me a job offer if you 'like'(04/2012) on statistics that show that more and more employers are looking to social media rather than static websites for their recruitment needs.

Seek_ads_250412.png
Employment Ads on SEEK.com April 25 2012

What is Web 2.0?

It depends. The original coinage of the term Web 2.0 came about in 2004 as a term to describe those web-based companies, and their associated characteristics, that were able to weather the difficult economic times of the 1990's (Anderson, 2007, p. 5-6; Davies & Merchant, 2009, p. 2-3). This term has evolved into one that sees connectedness as the guiding characteristic that defines Web 2.0. This is itself debatable, as one of the founding fathers of the internet - Sir Tim Berners-Lee - has stated that the internet has always been about bringing people and ideas together, which makes the monicker of Web 2.0 nothing more than a marketing gimmick or another code word to be deciphered by those outside of the know (Anderson, 2007). This being said, a short and simple answer to the question of what Web 2.0 is would be best summed up as:

"...[Web 2.0] for many people, is to make a reference to a group of technologies which have become deeply associated with the term: blogs, wikis, podcasts, RSS feeds etc., which facilitate a more socially connected Web where everyone is able to add to and edit the information space." (Anderson, 2007)

So, where does this leave education and educators?

Blogs, wikis, Twitter, Facebook, Web 1.0, Web 2.0, Web 3.0, ICTs, DER. Into this mix add IWBs, as well as 1:1 pedagogy models and thing get further fuzzy. The names and the acronyms can be confusing and overwhelming to the uninitiated. Even the term 'overwhelming' can be an understatement to some as the language of this worldwide movement evolves moment to moment as it seemingly takes more and more energy and effort to stay above the tide of change.

This paradigm shift comes into direct conflict with the static traditional role of education illustrated by those in educational research such as Davies and Merchant. Davies and Merchant (2009) paint a picture of education where the there is "an assumption that children and young people will attend a school or similar institution to learn and be taught there for a greater part of the day" (p. 2). This "basic concept of formal education" (p. 2) has changed little from its earliest conceptions. When one looks at the evolution of the employment market it can be surmised that this "basic concept of formal education", which may have served society adaquately till now, may not be the best educational model to go with.

If the proposed National Professional Standards for Teachers is any indication of the direction the field of teaching is heading teachers will have no choice except to sink or swim in the rising tide.These proposed standards identify a three of domains of teaching - professional knowledge, professional practice and professional engagement. Each of the domains is further divided into individual standards and focus areas related to the domain. Acting as an umbrella to these domains and standards are four categories which describe the level of competency in each said area - graduate, proficient, highly accomplished and lead. Within this maze of domains and standards, ICTs have a prominent place in describing a modern proficient teacher in Australia.

National Professional Standards for Teachers


Professional Knowledge
  • Standard 2: Know the content and how to teach it
    • Focus Area 2.6
      • Use effective teaching strategies to integrate ICT into learning and teaching programs to make selected content relevant and meaningful.

Professional Knowledge
  • Standard 3: Plan for and implement effective teaching and learning
    • Focus Area 3.4
      • Select and/or create and use a range of resources, including ICT, to engage students in their learning

  • Create and Maintain supportive and safe learning environments
    • Focus Area 4.5
      • Incorporate stategies to promote the safe, responsible and ethical use of ICT in learning and teaching

What is clear in these National Standards is that teachers need to seize the opportunity to move from pedagogy that is of a "just in case" nature of the standard curriculum to the "just for me" model that is afforded through an innovative approach to teaching with interactive, collaborative technology in order to stay current in their profession (Wheeler, 2010). In a 2009 blog post, prior to the role out of the DER (Australian Government's Digital Education Revolution) Bruce Dixon of the Anytime Anywhere Learning Foundation posed the question "[w]hat if every kid had a laptop -- and nothing changed?" It is still a question that carries weight and should part of any teacher's professional reflection on the use of ICT in their classroom.



What is Web 2.0?


Back to top



New Pedagogies For The Digital Age


Steven Wheeler & New Pedagogy



Wheeler brings to the table a number of 'truths' about learning and frames this in terms of the digital age. Key ideas here centre on the transformation of learning from a "just in case" to a "just for me". Also highlighted here is the role of formal and informal learning in digital spaces.


Back to top



ENGAGE: WEB 2.0 in The History Classroom






Back to top



The Machine is Us


The Machine is Us



A/Professor of Cultural Anthropology Michael Mesch, uses this video to highlight the evolving nature of the relationship between form and context on the web. As a key element of the separation of form from content, Mesch points out that data in its raw form can be 'mashed' together. This remixing of information that typifies the world of Web 2.0 leads society to a place where traditional assumptions need to be challenged and rethought.

Back to top


Internet Statistics


Internet Statistics



This video makes the fundemental point that that the internet is not a fad. Teachers and students do not have the option to opt out. The question that should be reflected on here is not if students should be using Web 2.0 technologies but how do educators educate them to be smarter more productive consumers and creators.

Back to top

TEDxNYED: Henry Jenkins


TEDxNYED - Henry Jenkins



Students develop ICT capability when they locate, process, analyse and communicate historical information. They use their ICT capability to access a range of digital sources of information; critically analyse evidence and historical trends; communicate, present and represent their learning; and collaborate, discuss and debate to co-construct their knowledge. No longer are students willing to be passive receivers of information, learning by rote and performing in prescribed tests or extensive written essays.
Instead, Jenkins (2006) argues that the skills required by students for success revolve around the necessity to gain "New Media Literacies" that include:
  • Play — the capacity to experiment with one’s surroundings as a form of problem-solving
  • Performance — the ability to adopt alternative identities for the purpose of improvisation and discovery
  • Simulation — the ability to interpret and construct dynamic models of real-world processes
  • Appropriation — the ability to meaningfully sample and remix media content
  • Multitasking — the ability to scan one’s environment and shift focus as needed to salient details.
  • Distributed Cognition — the ability to interact meaningfully with tools that expand mental capacities
  • Collective Intelligence — the ability to pool knowledge and compare notes with others toward a common goal
  • Judgment — the ability to evaluate the reliability and credibility of different information sources
  • Transmedia Navigation — the ability to follow the flow of stories and information across multiple modalities
  • Networking — the ability to search for, synthesize, and disseminate information
  • Negotiation — the ability to travel across diverse communities, discerning and respecting multiple perspectives, and grasping and following alternative norms.

Because we can no longer deny the role of media in the educational pedagogy demanded by the society in which our young people will function, the use of participatory media in the teaching of History through Guided Inquiry means that educators are providing opportunities for students to explore the cpapbilities of learning from and engaging with Web 2 and prepares them for participation in a larger, more connected society.
Back to top