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).
Overview of Web 2.0 Applications
Online diary or journal entry on the Internet, which primarily supports text, photo (photoblog), video (vlog), and audio (podcast) formats
Google, AOL, and Yahoo offer free blogging platforms
Web service that gathers related content from more than one source
IBM's mashup applications enable project managers to match team resources with a map to identify the geographical locations of the resources
Peer-to-Peer Networking technique for effectively sharing music, audio, and text files
Napster and Gnutella are popular peer-to-peer networks
Real Simple Syndication (RSS)
Feed-based technology that, with the aid of an RSS reader, enables users to subscribe to newly released content such as text, Web pages, sound files, photos, and video
RSS feed may contain the full content, for example a podcast, or simply a link to the content
Encompasses all online tools (blogs, podcasts, Wikis, social networks, vlogs) and Web sites enabling people to share content, such as text, audio, picture s, and videos
Popular social media sites include YouTube (video) and Flickr (photos)
Web sites that permit users to create online networks and communicate with friends and colleagues
Social networking sites include MySpace, Friendster, Facebook, and Friends Reunited, and business networking sites include LinkedIn and Ryze
Allows users to bookmark or rate online content to share their recommendations with other online users
Typically used by publishers of media sites attempting to benefit from users' recommendations
Popularized by sites such as Digg and del.icio.us, which enable users to publish, categorize, and share their bookmarks
Enables users to create and edit the content of a Web site, leveraging the expertise of online users
Consumer Wikis enable users to comment on content, in addition to editing content
Wikipedia, a community Wiki encyclopedia, includes approximately 1.3 million English-language articles
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.
Benefits of using Technology in the Classroom
The benefits of using technology in the teaching of both simple and complex concepts are briefly described here. First, there is the advantage of being able