A Cross-Disciplinary Exploration of Web 2.0 Technologies to Enhance Critical Thinking and Collaboration

A Cross-Disciplinary Exploration of Web 2.0 Technologies to Enhance Critical Thinking and Collaboration

Marsha M. Huber (Youngstown State University, USA), Jean P. Kelly (Otterbein University, USA) and Shirine Mafi (Otterbein University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-347-8.ch013
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Background

Since the mid-2000s, Web 2.0 technologies, which are also known as “the read/write Web,” have been used in higher education in an effort to “take advantage of the benefits of technology to engage NetGeners” (Barnes, Marateo, & Ferris, 2007). Just how much NetGeners are embracing Web 2.0 to enhance their learning, however, is still unclear. For example, a longitudinal survey of college students at forty U.S. higher education institutions found that the number of students who used the Internet for coursework had greatly decreased, but the number who used it for entertainment greatly increased from 2002 to 2009 (Jones, Ramanau, Cross, & Healing, 2010). A study of British college students at five universities found a similar difference between how students used Web 2.0 technologies in particular for social life and study: 78% of those surveyed had never contributed to a blog and 88% had not used a wiki. In fact, over a third reported they were not confident in their skills when using virtual learning environments such as Blackboard (38%) and writing and commenting on blogs and wikis (41%). This prompted researchers to conclude that there was not a “generational homogeneity” of users as predicted by NetGen or digital native inspired literature. Rather they found a “complex picture of minorities…who do not show a strong impulse” towards Web 2.0 participation. (Jones et al., 2010)

In our PLC, we researched whether or not the use of blogs and wikis could improve the learning of the NetGen. For purposes of this paper, we describe blogs and wikis as follows.

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