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The proliferation of Web 2.0 applications and their growth are defined more by communication patterns than adherence to taxonomies and architectures, and this is evident in the growth of social networking sites (SNS) including Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn and many others. These sites, while popular from socializing standpoint, also provide an excellent point of reference regarding how powerful online collaborative platforms can be as potential learning tools, and this is one of the dominant trends in the use of technology for teaching and learning today.
Figure 1 is the map O'Reilly and Battelle created showing how both market and user dynamics are defining social networking (O'Reilly, 2005. et.al.), and there is ample theoretical and empirical evidence of how Web 2.0 technologies can be highly effective in meeting the unmet needs of students and teachers alike (Zhang, Olfman, Ractham, 2007). The use of Web 2.0 technologies as a more collaborative platform than has been possible in the past using static HTML-based websites to automate the critical processes educators need online to foster collaboration and learning has been evidenced by recent empirical research into how groups learn together (Eijkman, 2008).
Figure 1: A Graphical Definition of Web 2.0
Table 1: Overview of Web 2.0 Applications provides insights into the extent of collaborative application development. Taken together, this collection of applications and collaborative workspaces form a strong foundation for outcome-based learning as well (Haung, Behara, 2007).
As Web 2.0-based learning applications, collaborative workspaces and portals become more commonplace, the tasks of managing their use and also creating individualized learning programs for students, sometimes called scaffolding (Yang, Yu, Chen, Tsai, 2005), is a new skills et educators will need to develop and continually commit to improve upon (Craig, 2007). In summary, the ways technology is used in education has progressed from pushing concepts, content. Information and knowledge to students and has now progressed to a more collaborative online learning experience. The rapid growth of online collaboration both for in-class and distance learning is leading to entirely new approaches to teaching that simply complex concepts and lead to higher levels of retention of knowledge as well[continue]
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