Web 2.0 – Brief Description

Web 2.0 is a term that is coming up quite frequently in the world of eLearning.  It is a term that is used to describe the way the internet has evolved into an interactive resource.  Web 2.0 is the “second generation” of the web.  The internet was historically used as a one way resource for simply absorbing information.  It is now more about interaction and information sharing.  Instead of being passive audience members, users are now active contributors.

For example, a typical Web 1.0 activity may have been reading an article online about kangaroos.  There would be text and images about kangaroos, links to other sites and even an embedded movie.  A typical Web 2.0 activity may involve be going to a site such as Wikipedia where you can read about kangaroos, add, edit and correct an article about kangaroos, join an online forum about protecting kangaroos, write a blog about Kangaroo Island, upload a YouTube video of a kangaroo you filmed on a road trip, follow the Twitter feed of a kangaroo researcher in the Northern Territory and collaborate on a Mindomo mind map about native animals with a class from Mozambique.  This interactivity has given rise to the term ‘read-write web’.

At Coomera Anglican College, we are trying to embrace the educationally productive qualities of the web 2.0 revolution.  Examples of this include the use of class blogs, biology forums, peer evaluation via galleries of student work and Voki avatars translating English to Chinese.

There are literally hundreds of free online tools designed to support the web 2.0 paradigm.  They will usually provide alternative methods for existing tasks and applications.  For example, we all know how to create a PowerPoint presentation, and it is easy for students to default back to using PowerPoint to present their work.  Also, PowerPoint 2010 is an extremely powerful piece of software.  However, there are other options that can perform a similar function online.  Such applications include Prezi, Empressr, Zoho Show, AuthorStream  and PreZentit.  Most of these allow you to add multimedia and special effects and import your PowerPoint slides.  You can then email or embed the presentation to share it.

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