Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Web 2.0 - Hype for Education?

I'm also behind on assignments because of work and life. Sorry, I learned not to sacrifice sleep as soon as I had a baby! I have learned through my experiences that the term Web 2.0 for the most is an educational term. I believe it's a little more common in the business world now but it's still used the most by the educational environment. Within the past year I assisted with the hiring of a position where the applicant needed to have experience with Web 2.0 apps. To my surprise the interviewees never bothered to look the term up before arriving at the interview. However, at least half of them were using a Web 2.0 app but didn't make the connection to Web 2.0. So, it seemed (along with my other experiences) that the term Web 2.0 was only common in education.

More thought on this topic...the business world has been using high-dollar collaborative equipment and apps for some time. As a result, I don't think Web 2.0 was so earth shattering for them as education. But, I think the social networking apps have been an eye-opener because this was a different concept from using applications to collaborate. Business because of their need for security typically use applications that cost money where education looks for free and cheap. Therefore, education was not reaping the benefits of collaborative features until Web 2.0 came about. I know the location where I taught when Web 2.0 happened we had applications the district purchased but the collaborative features were not enabled and teachers never even knew the features were embedded in the software. Web 2.0 apps have opened many doors for teachers that do not depend on a district to enable it (but they can block the sites from school) and train them (since most are so easy to use).

Ok, baby is waking up so I must finish quickly. What does this all mean? Like some I think Web 2.0 was a natural progression of the internet and not this big earth shattering event. It may have been earth shattering for education since we tend to be so sheltered and slow to adapt new technology. I think the concept was also so earth shattering to education because unfortunately most teachers did not teach in a collaborative, open, everyone is an author and contributor, etc. manner. So, it seems like a big deal in education but in the business world business teams especially global teams were already working this way and using technology to make it happen. In the end maybe Web 2.0 was just a way to shove teachers into teaching in a way we should have been teaching in the first place?


  1. It is interesting how you see Web 2.0 as an educational term because in O'Reilly's seminal essay what is Web 2.0 he frames it as a business/marketing term used to characterize some of the salient changes in the web from the 90s. Fact is, educational institutions glommed on to the term, but I have really seen very few, if any, educational institutions integrating Web 2.0 successfully still to this very day. Now individual teachers and students are another story, and that's where the story is, not in the abstracted term, but in the individual examples.

  2. That's what makes it interesting. I always thought it was a business term and education was slow to adopt but in my current position I've interacted with businesses that had no understanding. So, it is based on my experience in my environment which may be different than another institution in the same town. It could have everything to do with the specific businesses we are partnering and interacting with in our work.