The Second Coming The journey from Web 2.0 to Learning 2.

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Your can be forgiven for asking yourself what happened to Web 1.0 and for wondering if you had missed something while you were busy in the classroom. Acronyms and jargon are the smoke and mirrors of the computer world so I shall try to avoid all that. I will begin by giving a simple introduction to Web 2.0 applications followed by a demonstration of how these applications can be used to transform classroom practice. In the plenary I will describe the way these new technologies are challenging long held assumptions about schools, education and learning What is all the fuss about? The first person to talk about Web 2.0 was Tim O’Reilly in 2001 and he is worth following up if you want the history (http://www.oreilly.com/). Since then Web 2.0 seems to have become a catch all to describe any new example of social software which drops the ‘e’ ( Frappr, Bubblr, Scribd etc). There are even people talking about the arrival of web 3.0 and 4.0. Let’s leave the futurists to conjecture and meanwhile concentrate on the here and now. Clearly people are doing things on the internet which they weren’t doing four years ago. The Music industry has already been turned upside down; journalists are now competing with Blogs and You Tube. TV News stations are inviting viewers to post their own video stories and the next generation is busy expressing themselves and building social network in a way most adults cannot comprehend. Web 2.0 applications are incredibly popular with the 14 to 25 age group and they have participation rates and levels of engagement which advertisers and media moguls would die for. They may be free to users but they fetch a handsome price on the open market. MySpace has over 100 million users and was bought by Rupert Murdoch for $580 million; Google bought YouTube for $1.65 billion; Yahoo buys Flickr and the owner of Face Book currently refuses to sell in spite of tempting offers. Don Tapscott the author of Wikinomics ( an interesting read ) shows how massive numbers of people can participate in the economy using social software ( eBay is a good example). Tapscott describes the way companies like Lego and Goldthorpe Mining have jumped onto the Web 2.0 bandwagon and used it to define a new relationship between producers and consumers or Prosumer to describe the way industry initiates the process of mass customisation. Tom Friedman in ‘The World is Flat’ maybe not be talking about Web 2.0 but he does describe how the web has changed the way we behave when he says.. ‘It ( the internet) has created a global platform that allowed more people to plug and play, collaborate and compete, share knowledge and share work, than anything we have ever seen in the history of the world’. So can schools and teachers use Web 2.0 and social software?. Is it relevant to education?. Are we missing out?. Is Learning 2.0 any different from what we have always done?. Have we been here before?. This article takes a look at some popular Web 2.0 applications and attempts to show how these can be used to support C Learning

as opposed to E Learning; what I call social learning where the emphasis is on cooperation, communication, collaborative and creativity, rather than the transmission of content and drill and practice exercises. Spot the difference. Web 1 v Web 2 Web 1.0, or the web that you and I knew so well is basically all about publishing and browsing; its about pushing out content to whoever happens to be looking. In the world of Web 1.0 only as a few of us became authors and we relied on the web master to run the show. Nothing wrong in this but this does serve to illustrate one of the key differences; in Web 1.0 there was no relationship between authors and readers and certainly no connection between people who used the same site. In Web 2.0 this is turned on its head and we all become authors, editors, publishers and reviewers; the News is Us, WE make the News ( no wonder Murdoch wanted to buy MySpace, he gets us for free). Witness the way people used the blogs to follow the story of the Virginia Tech massacre. What’s more in Web 2.0 we know who our readers are, we can build a relationship with them through our Blog. Similarly the readers can get in touch with each other. In Web 2.0 instead of building websites we are building powerful social networks – the web is no longer just about content distribution but about content creation by Us on a scale we could never imagine. Where Web 1.0 was about hierarchies, Web 2.0 is about democracy and engagement because the barriers to publishing and responding are no longer there. As an educationalist you will also be picking up on the sub text and drawing parallels between the way Web 2.0 works and what we have always recognized as good education practice – learner centre discussions, learning networks, learner constructing knowledge etc ( take a look at the work done by Scardamalia and Bereiter, Jim Hewitt and G Salmon). More about this later when I look at some examples of Web 2.0 applications. Meanwhile Web 1.0 is beginning to look more like dull old Mr Chips, standing there and delivering all that he knows, albeit with charm and grace. Some Examples of Web 2.0 The most obvious example is to talk about Blogs, after all they represent everything we have said about Web 2.0. Blogs make you the publisher, editor, reviewer of your own magazine. Your readers can subscribe ( using RSS – more about this later). A Blog is Web 2.0 because it puts you in touch with your readers and other like minded bloggers and so opens up the possibility of you managing your own network. Technorati.com is a web site where you can search for Bloggers. As an aside any good Learning Platform is essentially giving you an easy to manage Blog and conversely a Blog is a mini learning platform – take a look at Kathy Cassidy talking on You Tube @ (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZ8VAef8QM4 ) she regularly uses Blogs ( and Wikis) with her grade one class. Having said all this, I think Blogs are not the best example to use because to understand Web 2.0 you need to have a certain attitude and perception about the technology rather than an understanding how to use the applications. Nothing illustrates this better than Flickr.

Learning 2.0 with Flickr Most people are familiar with Flickr, the photo sharing site and use it to share their photos with family and friends. They are using it as a free website albeit with really cool uploading tools so the technology is pretty well invisible. What most people don’t realize is that Flickr has several powerful Web 2.0 features. For example you can use Flickr to find other people who take photos like you; what’s more you can subscribe to those Flickr users and receive updates whenever they add a new photo – you have a relationship with them defined by you. You can also use Flickr to carefully control who sees your photo collection – making them public speaks for itself but you can restrict access to chosen friends, family. With Flickr you hold the publishing rights. Another Web 2.0 feature is Flickr’s use of Folksonomies – an anathema to any librarian but a fact of life with Web 2.0 and strangely it seems to work. What happens is this – when you upload a photo you can use whatever tag or category you like – Hong Kong, Weather, Landscape, Hello Kitty etc. The best bit is that you can then find other people who have used the same tag and see their photos – look at their galleries and find your photo soul mate. This may seem like anarchy to someone brought up to find information using the Dewey system but, as James Sureweki says in Wisdom of the Crowds, the sum total of the knowledge of the many is more accurate than the knowledge of the few. In other word Folksonomies represent the wisdom of the many. The best example of this is Wikipedia which by all accounts is as accurate as Encyclopedia Britannica. So what Defines Web 2.0? Folksonomies, finding people who have same interests as you and building social networks and social capital, is what defines Web 2.0. In Web 1.0 you just build content. Understand this and you will recognize a Web 2.0 application whatever it is called. This is what I mean when I say that Web 2.0 is about an attitude of mind. You can give two people Flickr, one will use it as a Web 1.0 website and the other will use it to create a network of like minded photographers who can share and discuss their collections and techniques. Interestingly the Netgener’s don’t always get it either. While they are very fluent in using the technology and creating their digital presence in Face Book, MySpace or Bebo, they often do not understand the significance of the security settings and so leave themselves wide open to predators and malingerers. Lastly there is transparency about the way we interact with Web 2.0 applications – the technology does not get in the way of what we want to do – there are no distractions because it does what it says on the label. Neither do we need any mediation, no need for a technician to configure our PC and we can access our work from any machine. This is because a true Web 2.0 applications is all run from the server; all we need is to have is the connectivity. No need to pay for or read tomb like training manuals – it’s usually enough to ring a friend. All this has major implications for the teaching of ICT Capability and ICT Skills. Put simply the question is – What is the point? There is one more example which illustrates the characteristics and benefits of Web 2.0. These are the applications which support social book marking and the best known ones

are Del.icio.us and Furl. I will use Furl but they all do roughly the same things and it goes without saying that it is best not to get too religious in world of Web 2.0; use whatever seems appropriate at the time – they will all give you the same tools so it is just a question of what you are comfortable with. Social Book Marking with Furl There is nothing new about bookmaking your favourite web sites but imagine what you could do if you it was possible to share your bookmarks and, even better, find people who bookmark sites like yours and explore their library of favourites. This is all possible in the world of social bookmarking and two most popular Web 2.0 solutions are del.icio.us and Furl. I use Furl to create a public library of my favourite Web 2.0 applications (see http://www.furl.net/members/woodheadp ) where colleagues, or whoever else I invite, can then see my library of favourites. To make things easier you can subscribe ( using RSS) to all the sites in my library or one of the topics. Subscription or RSS means you get alerts next time I add a new site. If you visit my archive you will see, not surprisingly, that I have used my own Folksonomy to categorized the sites. I find Folksonomies useful for another reason; when I search other people’s archives they tell me a lot about that person’s interests. Del.icio.us uses Tag Clouds which, I think, are an even better way of representing the categories. I have gone one stage further and made published my archive using a widget from Scrollbox. This allows me to embed selected topics into a web page or learning platform home page so readers can see not just the URL, but also the title and the header. You can use any number of free widgits ( see me Furl archive for more) to create a scrolling displays from your RSS feeds. Using Social Bookmarking in the Classroom. Information Literacy and the Learner’s Democratic Front The obvious place to start is to replace those web site in inventories with a class or topic Furl account ( del.icio.us would do just as well). Make sure all the students have access to the account and you’ve suddenly saved yourself a lot of work keeping the list up to date and distributing it to all your students. Get students to subscribe via RSS and they will automatically be informed of new additions. You could share the ownership with a colleague and so combine your collections instantly for no extra effort. Suddenly you have created a dynamic library of very useful resources which is accessible 24/7. As you will have guessed this is only the beginning. The next step is a small one technically but a great leap educationally – you begin to let go and give your students joint ownership of the archive/ library so they can add sites with comments and justifications. This way you are sharing the responsibility for maintaining the library – your students are learning from each other. This is not just about giving them another chore or task; you are also giving your students the chance to develop and apply their Information Literacy skills. Each time they add a site they have to categorise, justify, comment etc and the audience is their peers. You can be cute and create a protocol which will identify individual users and the Furl statistics will tell everyone whose sites are the most used. Sounds like some good formative assessment – Wisdom of the Crowds?

At the same time you are sending out a strong message about the value of peer to peer learning; a big shift from the traditional authoritarian approach where the teacher was the only publisher and distributor. It is a good example of how Web 2.0 is democratizing the learning process as it removes the barriers that have hitherto kept teachers and learners apart. You will see this pattern emerging whenever you start using Web 2.0 applications. Zoho is a good example (http://www.zoho.com/ ) with its wide range of social versions of Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Wikis etc. Of course it is all about attitude, by itself Web 2.0 is no different but in the hands of a teacher who believes in student centered learning and peer to peer networking, it is a revolution and allows us to put into practice what we struggled to do before the web arrived ( remember the Humanities Curriculum Project of the 70’s?). The difference now is that your students are the publishers and editors, they now have access to an authentic audience, not just of their peers but anyone else who you have invited into the discussion/ inquiry/ information sharing activity. Wikis and RSS Feeds. The Constructivists Dream Ticket Wikis, at their simplest level, are a way of giving a group of people concurrent editor rights over the same document. It’s the Web 2.0 apps which is specifically designed to support group work and collaboration. For example you want your students to work in teams to write up their field work experiences; each team is responsible for publishing a single article which represents their sum total of their work. Without a Wiki this becomes an administrative nightmare and ultimately succumbs to the inevitable group dynamic of workers versus observers, and a huge question mark over who actually did what. Wikis solve all those problems and there are lots of sites to chose from, but start with a WetPaint Wiki (http://www.wetpaint.com/ ). Create the Field Trip Wiki, give the students joint editorial rights and sit back. The Wiki will plot who has made additions/ changes/ deletions; record the remarks of each contributor and so forth. Other team members could be given viewing rights only so they can monitor each others progress ( sense of competition). Other ideas could be to create a class/ topic dictionary or encyclopedia – done by the students, of course. The accuracy of the entries grows as their understanding develops, just what we thought knowledge construction was all about. Suddenly all the theory surrounding the constructivist approach to learning becomes a reality. RSS feeds. What I describe as the glue which holds together the Web 2.0 world. Whenever you visit a web page look out for this icon Without going into the detail, the principle of the RSS ( another one is Atom Feed) is open up a subscription to the content of that web page. Anytime new content is added the RSS sends you notification and all you have to do is click on that RSS feed in your IE7 or Firefox browser. This will open up the latest version of the page and saves you the bother of going directly to the page. With so much information on the web, managing it is problematic; RSS feeds bring the information you want to your browser. So, for example, you can use RSS feeds to be kept informed about any changes in sites like Flickr, Furl or a Wiki. Anytime anyone adds something new like a photos, edits the Wiki or add a new, you get an alert. You don’t have to go clicking all over the web to see

what’s been happening, instead wait for the RSS link to go bold and you know something new has arrived. There is a whole lot more you can do with RSS feeds like display the content in a scrolling window so students can see the news being published as it happens. There is an example of this the ESF’s Learning Platform (https://clc.esf.edu.hk/GroupHomepage.asp?GroupId=1) Log on with the guest account ( gueste1 and password as guest) scroll down to the bottom of the Home Page where there is a small window which displays the content of an RSS feed to the Web 2.0 Topic in my Furl Archive. What else if out there? The list grows all the time but try this link to a compendium site (http://web2.econsultant.com/ ). Regard them as radioactive isotopes of the web – some will have a short half life and fade rapidly, others will have much greater penetrating power and become households names for example eBay and Skype. A couple worth mentioning some serious, others just for fun. Yackpack Google Documents 43 Things Blubbr Snap Last.fm Slideshare Zoho Plaxo Mysay Scribd Summary Technology has never been neutral and its adoption is often a reflection of our educational values and belief. For examples if we believe that students need to be taught by us, then we prefer to use technology to distribute resources and assess our students progress. If we believe that student learn from each other then we use technology to support collaboration and knowledge construction. At same time technology has always had a subversive influence on education because it raises questions about our current practice. Teachers resistance to technology is less to do with technical issues and more to do with whether the technology fits in to their personal professional beliefs about how students learn. Web 2.0 is no exception, and seriously questions traditional structures and processes which have defined learning for the last 100 years but are still with us. To sum I want to raise some of the questions which we need to address if we are not to create a new digital

divide between the education we offer in our schools and the way young people are learning for themselves. • With Web 2.0 and ubiquitous access to the web, we can no longer equate learning with schooling; in effect schools hegemony over learning is under threat. The idea that learning – at least in a secondary school – only happens at a certain time, in a classroom and is delivered by the teacher, is no longer tenable. How we will evaluate the quality of teaching and learning if significant parts of it are taking place outside the school day and beyond the school campus. What will we do when we no longer need to deliver the content because the students can Google it.? There are over 2.7 billion searches run on Google every month; before Google who was answering these questions?. What will we do then the knowledge and expertise no longer resides within the school and classroom? What will we do when students reject our offered curriculum in favour of one they put together themselves from a collection of web based education centres around the world? What will we do when the students have already personalized their learning using Blogs, Wikis, RSS feeds and social bookmarking. What will we mean by value added when students are capable of managing their own feedback. For example a Year 7 student writes an essay about one of her Jane Austen set readings. Before she submits the work to her teacher she submits it for peer assessment on fanfiction. Within 24 hours she receives constructive feedback from five other Jane Austen fans and she improves her essay

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Draft . July 2007 Peter Woodhead ICT Adviser ESF