Rethinking Web 2.0 in the classroom?



Without wishing to sound like a headline story from a notorious rag, it seems that a number of blogging teachers might be losing their enthusiasm for some Web 2.0 components. Besides embracing the obvious connectedness, several are a little more reserved in their delight over the regular plethora of new web-based tools or services which bring about a combination of design heaven with a dynamic, interactive and usually free user experience.  In the classroom, practiced teachers have been holding back and showing caution in embracing these ‘new’ technologies, with a mere talented handful leading the way and using these perpetual beta tools effectively.  Why?

Whatever each of us might perceive Web 2.0 to be, part of a bog standard Wikipedia definition reads:

‘Web 2.0 concepts have led to the development and evolution of web-based communities, hosted services, and applications; such as social-networking sites, video-sharing sites, wikis, blogs, and folksonomies.’

The popularity of social networking sites remains undisputed and the collaboration communities which grow out of wikis or similar continue to succeed. Information gathering and sharing on blogs is an essential part of a Web 2.0 environment, yet it’s the applications which seem to be creating a little less enthusiasm. Trawling the web for opinions. I’ve pulled together various reasons why this may be so:

1. Some teachers are trying to use the tools without considering their pedagogical impact or true benefit to students. Often their use of the applications is haphazard and disconnected.

2. There are just too many tools.  The go2web20 site lists approximately 2700 applications and tools.

3. Many teachers have only just got on top of learning the ‘classic’ tools of presentations, desktop publications, spreadsheets and even email.

4. They don’t have the time to practice and learn these newer and better tools; it becomes all too much to cope with.

5. The newer tools add an even richer experience, which makes the gap between the old and new feel too great.

6. Teachers who use the Web 2.0 applications effectively are perceived as ‘geeks’ and other teachers can feel isolated and incompetent.

7. Teachers who use the tools fear that just when they’ve built up competence levels, the service will change to include a cost or is withdrawn altogether.

8. Applications are blocked on school networks.

In my opinion, its ‘hats off’ to the teachers who are managing to use the tools well. Fortunately, I’ve come across many.  They are the teachers who are helping with the development of students’ ICT skills, who understand that their students include a broad range of learners and who wish to make the learning experience fun, dynamic and rich. They’ve also embraced the notion that today’s students are by and large, tech orientated with a propensity for web – based activities. They attempt to hook learning with this flavour, as the text book approach worked when the majority of students read books.

As before, I welcome comments on this post. In order to try and create more enthusiasm for Web 2.0 in the classroom, it would be invaluable if teachers who use the apps successfully would please jot down their name, together with a couple of the tools they’ve found most useful. I’ll publish the list, with links to the application and examples of how you’ve used them. Hopefully we’ll create a resource for all teachers and not just one for the ‘geeks’.


“Good teaching will never be replaced. The right suggestion at just the right moment, the congratulatory pat, the admiring mentor–these will all continue to be essential to the processes of education, no matter how entertaining and high-tech our instructional media become.”
Samuel Gibbon, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation


Web 2.0 – What it is and useful tools for educators. (Mseifman)

My Twitter PLN



One Response

  1. Intersesting post. Im always looking for the pedagogy behind why certain learning strategies work. i think you hit the nail on the head about teachers not seeing the pedagogical impact of most learning strategies. I just doubt that web 2..0 i syet ready for this role either. Spare the recent time line function on etherpad that does start to unpack the process of learning.
    I think it is an interesting challenge to unpack these tools so they actually become useful in the classroom, so that learning becomes important and not just the “medium”.

    Too many teachers are lost in the medium at the moment.

    I’m very interested in how you go beyond the medium, and impart effective efficacious learning.

    Thanks and Regards

    Darren @DKMead

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: