Bringing Web 2.0 into the Learning Environment

Bringing Web 2.0 into the Learning Environment

Saman Shahryari Monfared, Peyman Ajabi-Naeini, Drew Parker
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-3649-1.ch007
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Social Networking, or the so-called Web 2.0 phenomenon, is changing the way we use the Internet. In turn, the way we use the Internet is changing the way we work, learn, communicate, and research. This chapter outlines a series of issues, tools, techniques, and pedagogy that may lie behind the process to bring social media into a learning environment. It then concludes with a four-year experience bringing these concepts into a senior undergraduate seminar, and offers observations and conclusions about the efficacy of our approach. Social networking has brought the Web into a conversation. Similarly, the chasm between synchronous and asynchronous learning is closing as the classroom becomes one part of a larger, continuous learning experience.
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Web 2.0

There are numerous definitions of the concept of the Web 2.0 since Tim O’Reilley (2005) coined the phrase. The basic premise is that the Web itself underwent a fundamental transformation from a one-way broadcast medium to an interactive one. The concept is straightforward, but its impact is extensive. Web 1.0 has been described as a broadcast, and Web 2.0 as a conversation (See, for example, Tingling, Gemino and Parker, 2011). Corporate Web pages and online catalogues have given way to product and seller ratings alongside product offerings and more personalized discussions. Tools like static Web pages and email have taken from the forefront of the Internet to a place alongside Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, Flickr and all things Google. Similarly, the educational process is evolving at a rate faster than ever.

The adoption of social networking is a result of evolutions of both product and process (Tingling, Gemino & Parker, 2011). Faster, richer and ubiquitous Internet access enabled users to work with rich media virtually anywhere, and portable devices such as tablets and smartphones moved this communication off the desktop and into a pocket. The resulting forms of communication have also evolved.

The genesis was the emergence of cellular devices and interactive Websites. Such advancements have not only impacted our personal and educational life, but have also changed the commercial world (See, for example. Personal Websites such as Facebook and Twitter in addition to resources such as Google, Yammer, and course management platforms such as Blackboard ( have changed the way we live our daily lives. Engagement is key. See, for example, DeloitteAustralia for a discussion of how such a tool changes a level of corporate interaction.

In this chapter we are suggesting that our teaching and learning strategies should keep pace with current technology. To this end we describe our notion of the ‘teach 2.0’ concept to set the context for looking at how particular human-computer interaction (HCI) works in post secondary seminars. Because this territory is new, we analyze the environment and suggest strategies for dealing with the Web 2.0/teach 2.0 dilemma and then provide an overview of a ‘case study’ where we propose to practice what we preach.

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