Exploring the Adoptions by Students of Web 2.0 Tools for E-Learning in Higher Education: Web 2.0 Tools for E-Learning in Higher Education

Exploring the Adoptions by Students of Web 2.0 Tools for E-Learning in Higher Education: Web 2.0 Tools for E-Learning in Higher Education

Liliana Mata (Vasile Alecsandri University of Bacau, Romania), Georgeta Panisoara (University of Bucharest, Romania), Silvia Fat (University of Bucharest, Romania), Ion-Ovidiu Panisoara (University of Bucharest, Romania) and Iulia Lazar (University of Bucharest, Romania & InfoCons Association Bucharest, Romania)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7435-4.ch007
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Optimal public policies, including education, have been applied for the sustainable economic growth of the European Union. In European countries, the use of Web 2.0 tools for increasing the education quality is constantly expanding, even if it is divided into two categories. One category consists of developed countries, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) members where there are the strongest of computing tools companies. Another category consists of OECD partner countries which hopes to fulfill the OECD requirements. The main study aim is the exploration of Web 2.0 tools adoptions for e-learning in one OECD candidate. A case study details how behavioral perceptions have been applied. Thus, a survey containing questions about socio-demographic characteristics alongside respondents' perceptions related to Web 2.0 tools for e-learning in higher education was applied. The research outcomes confirm the students' limited knowledge of Web 2.0. Authorities must indicate what measures are necessary for large-scale adoption of all Web 2.0 tools useful for education.
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Web 2.0 tools have been implemented due to various educational benefits. These are structured into different categories as a result of the analysis of the topical reference literature. The first category of benefits is represented by technological aspects: it provides interactive services where the users control their own data and information (Maloney, 2007); facilitates the sharing of user content and determines the creation, use, sharing and distribution of documents (Dearstyne, 2007); developing the “ability to effectively use technological tools to identify, access, manage, integrate, evaluate, analyze and create digital resources” (Martin, 2006). Dohn (2009) consider that the students who use Web 2.0 technologies voluntarily in their daily lives are motivated to use them in academic contexts and have the necessary technical skills.

Another category of advantages of Web 2.0 applications is identified from the pedagogical perspective: promoting active learning, social learning, using technologies based on interaction and communication (Ferdig, 2007); giving the opportunity to publish the works at global level (Ajjan & Hartshorne, 2008); examining issues in different ways, establishing new connections, and developing a new entity that can be shared globally (Maloney, 2007); involving students in individual and collaborative learning activities (Alexander, 2006); building interactions in more active and cooperative ways (Rhoads et al., 2013); increasing levels of learning in different fields of study, increasing vocabulary knowledge (Eren, 2015); encouraging a learner-centered approach to teaching and obtaining feedback from students (Archambault et al., 2010).

There are also social-cultural benefits of web 2.0 applications such as: facilitating the collaboration through document sharing portals (Dearstyne, 2007); enriching communication (Chua & Goh, 2010; Pânişoară, Sandu, Pânişoară, & Duţă, 2015); stimulating the collaboration with international partners and developing cultural competencies as a result of the use of a variety of digital communication tools (Ertmer et al., 2011); determines social connection and active user participation (McLean et al., 2007); providing effective services in helping students gain social awareness (Firat & Koksal, 2017).

From the economic point of view, the biggest benefit of Web 2.0 applications is that they are cheap or free (Salamon, 2003); providing a more active role for users involved in developing services by creating new content or modifying existing ones, personalizing the interface of websites, and reusing content on their personal sites (Corrocher, 2011). In this socio-economic and cultural context, different Web 2.0 educational applications have been developed.

Jimoyiannis et al. (2013) identified six interdependent dimensions to integrate the technological, social and learning features of Web 2.0 for teacher training: participatory Web, open Web, collaboration, sociability, open classroom, Web as a learning platform. Web 2.0 technologies and applications can contribute to the professional development of teachers by supporting online communities.

This study aims to explain the concept of Web 2.0, the motivation of the need to train students in the efficient use of Web 2.0 tools, especially those who have chosen a didactic career. A case study was chosen to highlight the adoption degree of Web 2.0 tools in higher education. To this end, students from a Romanian university were asked to express their opinion on the degree of adoption of ICT tools and apps.

Based on the results obtained from the application of a questionnaire, recommendations and the conclusions of the study were made.

Key Terms in this Chapter

OECD Member Countries: The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) membership is attributed to developed countries that accept the principles of representative democracy and free market economy in Europe as well as outside Europe; currently are 36 OECD member countries.

E-Education: All educational solutions for distance training in which the methods of information and communication technology (ICT) are used, thus supporting individual learning.

OECD Partner Countries: Partner countries are not members of the OECD but are supported to improve governance and public management for development; partner countries may apply when they consider that fulfill the requirements to become full members of the OECD.

Educational Policies: Solutions offered in an institutionalized framework for education quality management.

Tools for E-Education: Tools for e-education are dynamic virtual space tools that encourage learners’ collaboration, developing their creativity and digital abilities.

Digital Technologies: A set of information and communications technology (ICT) which helps accurate and efficient modeling and simulation events.

University of Bucharest: Is the second oldest modern university in Romania and represents a prominent academic organization centered on research and education.

Professional Development: Personal development is achieved through activities aimed to improve skills and developing knowledge in a particular field.

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