MET:Educators and Web 2.0

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This page was originally authored by Maria Donovan and Craig McLeod (2009)

Introduction to Educators and Web 2.0

Wiki Stop Motion Artifact by Daniel Chow, ETEC510 65B Winter 2014 | references

The Digital Divide

The majority of educators today maintain an educational pedagogy that is not compatible with a technology-driven world. “The single biggest problem facing education today,” states Marc Prensky (2001), “is that our Digital Immigrant instructors, who speak an outdated language (that of the pre-digital age), are struggling to teach a population that speaks an entirely new language” (p. 2). Our students today, who were born into this digital era, have had a very different experience, having spent their lives using and being surrounded by digital technology. Prensky continues that "our students have changed radically. Today's students are no longer the people our educational system was designed to teach" (p. 1). Digital technology is not something that is foreign to these learners. Combining these new learners with new technologies, such as Web 2.0 tools, can lead to a very powerful learning experience, for which will appropriately prepare them for this new, highly technical 21st century world in which they must live and work in. M. Gura and B. Percy suggest that in order for educators to correct the disconnect between what is being taught within our educational institutions and what learning is needed outside of our educational institutions, they must gain “a clear understanding of how technology can fit easily and naturally into the day-to-day work of our classrooms” (xi). Web 2.0 (see New Literacies) tools offer educators a way to address the current situation and capture the full potential of technology. It is important that educators strive for a shift in pedagogy, that embraces and incorporates digital technology in education, revamping and extending their technology skills to address the new literacies brought forth by Web 2.0 (Alexander, 2008).

Educators and Technology

“Technologies are not mere exterior aids but also interior transformations of consciousness...”(Ong, 1988).

Technological advances within the last twenty years have dramatically reshaped our lives. Aharon Aviram (2000) states that “each of these [technological] developments has had an impact on all levels of human life – on modes of interpersonal communication, work, leisure activities, consumption, structures of organizations, the labour market, our understanding of “knowledge” and “learning” – hence our life styles and identities” (p. 332). However, while the world outside our educational institutions seems to be adapting to these technological advances and integrating technology, schools have been slow to recognize the value of these technological advances for educational purposes. Technology has traditionally trickled into the educational arena providing only the means from which to deliver the content. For example, technology, such as overhead projectors, photocopiers and early computer programs, enabled greater efficiency and allowed quicker distribution of content, but none have ever radically changed the way education was delivered. Educational delivery has essentially remained static for many decades, with teacher driven delivery of content used as a means to ensure that a depth of information was absorbed by students. Knoebel and Lankshear (2006) write that “it is very easy to find examples where teachers and administrators approach new technologies in ways that constitute these new technologies as simply more recent forms of established tools, rather than as constitutive elements of new ways of doing things and new ways of being” (p. 54). While computers are now present in most schools today, most educators are still not using technology to its full potential.

Further, Larry Cuban (2001) in the article High Access and Low Use of Technologies in High School Classrooms: Explaining an Apparent Paradox, writes that “most policy makers, corporate executives, practitioners, and parents assume that wiring schools, buying hardware, and distributing the equipment throughout will lead to abundant classroom use by teachers and students and improved teaching and learning” (p. 813). However, this response, as Aviram (2000) points out, “was basically administrative, i.e. characterized by massive acquisition of new hardware” (p. 333). Their studies indicate that computer technology is only marginally being used by teachers. Mark Gura and Bernard Percy (2005) write that “while technology should currently be providing powerful support for teaching and learning, it remains, for the most part, an add-on, an enrichment item to which most students rarely have access” (p. xi). It is imperative that educators address this situation if we want our students to be successful in the emerging knowledge based economies. It is only in the last decade that we have begun to see a pedagogical change in educational delivery, or more accurately, a movement away from mere delivery. This movement is finally building exponential strength due to the introduction of digital technology and more recently the advancement of Web 2.0 applications.

Web 2.0

Web 2.0 is a term that generally refers to new internet applications that are changing the way in which we use the internet. "The term was officially coined in 2004 by Dale Dougherty, a vice-president of O'Reilly Media" (Sendall, Ceccucci, and Peslak, 2008). Wikipedia defines Web 2.0 as “a trend in World Wide Web, and web design, a second generation of web-based communities and hosted services such as social-networking sites, wikis, blogs and folksonomies, which aim to facilitate creativity, collaboration, and sharing among users"( The original concept of the web, envisioned by Sir Tim Berners-Lee just over a ten years ago (, has continued to evolve. Since that time, there has been a “gradual emergence of a new type of practice” (Alexander, 2006, p. 8). The World Wide Web has become less dependent upon the web master to update the web pages and has become more of a shared responsibility between the webmaster and the users to keep the web informative and engaging (Web 1.0 vs. Web 2.0).

File:Web1 0-vs-web2 0.png
Web 1.0 vs Web 2.0

As discussed in the YouTube video, Web 2.0 by U Tech Tips (, Web 2.0 is thought of as a “more dynamic and interactive web” than the original web design, Web 1.0. The new Web 2.0 tools can be used to enhance the development of skills, such as collaboration, critical thinking, problem solving and creativity, skills essential in the 21st century.

Web 2.0 in the Classroom

"As students live Web 2.0 digital lives, a growing number of teachers are beginning to explore and develop new ways of teaching with these technologies and practices" (Alexander, 2008).

Web 2.0 applications are very valuable teaching tools for the classroom. Web 2.0, often referred to as the read/write web, is facilitating a new learning style that encourages interactive discussion and idea building though the ability to not only read and receive information as past technologies enabled, but additionally the ability to respond, challenge and build upon the ideas of other. "Web 2.0's architecture of participation offers students ways of learning in an environment that is much more in line with our normal ways of learning and better enable them to integrate the explicit and tacit dimensions of knowledge (O'Reilly, 2005)" (Sendall, Ceccucci, and Peslak, 2008). Web 2.0 tools such as blogs, wikis, podcasts, vodcasts, social networking, RSS and social bookmarking, are all contributing to an expanding new literacy that if used effectively provides an ideal environment for critical thought and discussion. "Moreover, writing for a global audience is a powerful stimulus for questioning personal identity, representing oneself through writing, and understanding an audience" (Alexander, 2008). According to research conducted by Sendall, Ceccucci, and Peslak (2008) "Blogs, wikis and social networking skills were judged to be useful both in classroom and in the workplace."

In Kathy Schrock’s slideshow presentation, Shedding Light on Web 2.0 (, she says that educators need: to find each other and mentors; to join groups and collaborate: to share evaluated resources; to have access to information; to be able to conference and to reflect on the use of information. However, Schrock also advises that "educators must avoid jumping into Web 2.0 learning projects without careful planning related to educational objectives."

21st Century Education

Students are developing a technological aptitude through the use of Web 2.0 tools that is helping them currently, and additionally, will help prepare them to adapt to new technology as it arises in the future. "In studying economic and social trends over the last two decades educational researchers Levy and Murnana (2004) argued that to compete in the New Economy requires a more cognitively, socially, and physically fluid work-force (Friedman, 2005b)" (Greenhow, 2007). This process of creation, collaboration, critical reasoning and cooperation enabled through technology is helping prepare students for life and work in the 21st century. Educators must begin using technology, including Web 2.0 tools, to facilitate a move from digital familiarity to an age of digital wisdom. "Digital wisdom is a twofold concept, referring both to wisdom arising from the use of digital technology to access cognitive power beyond our innate capacity and to wisdom in the prudent use of technology to enhance our capabilities" (Prensky, 2009). With the advent of the internet, mobile technologies and the emergence of an entire world wide community that lives virtually, educators will be required to navigate both students and themselves through an entire new frontier. The old boundaries have been shattered and a vast open land is before us to settle. This will require critical reasoning, clear communication and a flexibility not seen since the last major economic revolution. New technology is not merely helping create a new learning environment, it is causing the need for an entire remaking of learning.


Alexander, Bryan. "Web 2.0: A New Way of Innovation for Teaching and Learning?" Educause Review, vol. 41, no. 2 (March/April 2006): 32-44.

Alexander, Bryan (2008). "Web 2.0 and Emergent Multiliteracies" Theory Into Practice, 47:2, 150-160.

Aviram, Aharon (2000). From “computers in the classroom” to mindful radical adaptation by educational systems to the emerging cyber culture. Journal of Educational Change, 1, 331-352.

Cuban, Larry (2001). High Access and Low Use of Technologies in High School Classrooms: Explaining an Apparent Paradox. American Educational Research Journal, 38(4), 813-834.

Greenhow, Christine (2007). "What Teacher Education Needs to Know about Web 2.0: Preparing New Teachers in the 21st Century.

Gura, Mark and Percy, Bernard. Recapturing Technology for Education: Keeping Tomorrow in Today’s classrooms. Lanham, Maryland: ScarecrowEducation, 2005.

Knoebel and Lankshear. New Literacies and the Challenge of Mindsets. In C. Knoebel & M. Lankshear, New literacies: Everyday practices and classroom learning (2nd Ed.), (pp. 29-62). New York: Open University Press, 2006.

Millard and Ross (2006). Web 2.0: Hypertext by Any Other Name? HT'06, August 22-25, 2006, Odense, Denmark.

Ong, Walter J. (1988) Orality and Literacy: The Technologizing of the Word. New Accents. Ed. Terence Hawkes. New York: Methuen

Prensky, Marc. Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. From On the Horizon NCB University Press, Vol. 9 No. 5 (October 2001).,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdf

Rollet, H., Lux, M., Strohmaier, M., Dosinger, G. and Tochtermann, K. (2007) "The Web 2.0 way of learning with technologies", Int. J. Learning Technology, Vol. 3, No. 1, pp.87-107.

Sendall, Ceccucci, and Peslak (2008). "Web 2.0 Matters: An Analysis of Implementing Web 2.0 in the Classroom". Information Systems Education Journal, 6 (64).

Zajicek, Mary (2007). "Web 2.0: Hype or Happiness?"


Web 1.0 vs Web 2.0

Web 2.0


Shedding Light on Web 2.0 (video)

Tim Berners Lee on the Semantic Web (video)

The Machine is Us/ing Us - Michael Wesch

Web 2.0 by U Tech Tips Video)