Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Web 2.0 and Learning 2.0

Another way to view technology use in education comes from the world of the Internet. Tim O'Reilly first coined the term “web 2.0” as a way to describe how the web has evolved over time to become more social, personal and functional (O’Reilly & Batelle, 2009; O’Reilly, 2005). Web 2.0 sites take advantage of the collective intelligence of many people by allowing users to contribute their knowledge and generate content (O’Reilly & Batelle, 2009). Some exemplary web 2.0 sites include Facebook, Amazon, EBay, Wikipedia and Craigslist. Can you imagine how boring these sites would be if there were no users who generated any content? What would your Facebook news feed look like if none of your friends or family ever posted there? This post is an excerpt from my book, Educational Technology for Teachers.

The power of web 2.0 lies in collecting and taking advantage of contributions from a wide variety of users (O’Reilly & Batelle, 2009). Technological innovations change quickly, and because of this, the "web 2.0" term is already dated. The next generation of web applications and services has even been named "web 3.0," which is a term used to describe the more responsive and intelligent applications and services that continue to emerge as the collective intelligence based on contributions from multiple people is harnessed (O’Reilly & Batelle, 2009).

Some researchers interested in education have taken advantage of the web 2.0 label to advance the parallel idea of “learning 2.0” (Alexander, 2006; Brown & Adler, 2008; Mott & Wiley, 2013; Wiley, 2006). Wiley (2006) argues that the changes that characterize web 2.0 are also occurring in society overall. For example, with the advent of digital technologies such as web 2.0 applications that allow easy access to and sharing of information, society has become more open and sharing, whether the sharing involves software, media resources, ideas, or other information (Wiley, 2006). We have also become more mobile, accessing information and communicating whenever and wherever we want to.

Our society is also more connected (Wiley, 2006). Social networking applications have allowed us to stay connected with friends and relatives all around the world to share ideas and information. This sharing of ideas and information is one of the most important changes that has resulted from the Internet and web 2.0 technologies (Brown & Adler, 2008).

Along with technological advances, we have come to expect a more personalized experience (Wiley, 2006). The website for our favorite news network customizes content to our preferences and features our friends in a Facebook application on the front page. Our favorite online retailers provide us with personalized suggestions based on our past purchases. When we do an Internet search we only want answers that relate to our personal question, and we get these answers very quickly.

Our web 2.0 (and web 3.0) world allows almost anyone to participate easily in content creation activities (Wiley, 2006). Since the advent of web 2.0 technologies, those with access to the Internet have shared ideas, thoughts and information using online discussion forums, blogs, wikis, videos, podcasts and a variety of other media. The amount of information that has been produced and made freely available is greater than it has been in any other time in history (Dragland, 2013).

In summary, our society has become more:

• Content-creation oriented
• Personalized
• Connected
• Open
• Mobile

But has education kept up with these societal changes?


  • Alexander, B. (2006). Web 2.0: A new wave of innovation for teaching and learning? Educause Review, 41(2), 32–44.
  • Brown, J. S., & Adler, R. P. (2008). Open education, the long tail, and learning 2.0. Educause review, 43(1), 16–20.
  • Dragland, A. (2013). Big Data, for better or worse: 90% of world’s data generated over last two years. SINTEF. Retrieved November 19, 2013, from http://www.sintef.no/home/Press-Room/Research-News/Big-Data--for-better-or-worse/
  • Mott, J., & Wiley, D. (2013). Open for learning: The CMS and the open learning network. In Education, 15(2). Retrieved from http://ineducation.couros.ca/index.php/ineducation/article/view/53
  • O’Reilly, T. (2005). What is web 2.0? oreilly.com. Retrieved November 22, 2013, from http://oreilly.com/pub/a/web2/archive/what-is-web-20.html 40
  • O’Reilly, T., & Batelle, J. (2009). Web squared: Web 2.0 five years on. web2summit.com. Retrieved November 21, 2013, from http://www.web2summit.com/web2009/public/schedule/detail/10194
  • Wiley, D. (2006). Secretary of Education’s Commission on the Future of Higher Education. Panel on Innovative Teaching and Learning Strategies, Seattle, WA.

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