The nature of web 2.0
In contrast to web 1.0, a term which refers to the original informational web, web 2.0 refers to the social web, which began to emerge around the year 2000. It’s a loose grouping of newer generation social technologies, whose users are actively involved in communicating and collaborating with each other as they create, share and network across the web. The term itself was coined by Dale Dougherty in 2004 and popularised by Tim O’Reilly. For a comparison of the terms web 1.0, web 2.0, and web 3.0, see the web 1.0 page. While the term web 2.0 continues to be used in academic and research contexts, the more or less synonymous term social media has now come to dominate usage in the mass media and in everyday conversation.
You might like to take a look at some of the following landmark resources which attempt to capture the nature of web 2.0/social media. Listed in chronological order, these resources range from historical images and videos from the early days of web 2.0 to more current infographics. It will be evident that over this period there has been a shift from the use of the term web 2.0 to the use of the term social media, and that the latter term is employed not only by educators but, increasingly, by marketers.
- Web 2.0 Meme Map [Infographic] (Tim O’Reilly, 2004)
- Web 2.0 Map [Word cloud] (Markus Angermeier, 2005)
- Did You Know 2.0 [Video] (Karl Fisch & Scott McLeod, 2007)
- Pay Attention [Video] (Jordan School District, 2007)
- Information R/evolution [Video] (Michael Wesch, 2007)
- Web 2.0 … The Machine is Us/ing Us [Video] (Michael Wesch, 2007)
- We Think [Video] (Charles Leadbeater, 2008)
- The Internet Mapping Project [Collection of maps] (Kevin Kelly, 2009)
- Three Little Pigs [Video] (The Guardian, 2012)
- The Internet Map [Map] (Ruslan Enikeev, 2012, updated)
- The Periodic Table of Education Technology [Infographic] (Daily Genius/Kathy Schrock, 2016)
- Social Media Stats Infographic [Infographic] (Leverage/MarketingStrategyX, 2017)
- Global Social Media Prism [Infographic] (Ethority, 2018)
- China’s Internet in One Minute [Infographic] (Sampi, 2020)
- Social Media in the Classroom [Web guide] (Accredited Schools Online, 2021)
- This is What Happens in an Internet Minute 2021 [Infographic] (Lori Lewis & Officially Chadd, 2021)
- Digital 2022: Global Overview Report [Slideshow] (We Are Social/Hootsuite, 2022)
Learning with web 2.0
The social, collaborative nature of web 2.0/social media platforms means that these lend themselves to more contemporary educational approaches than was the case with web 1.0, which was linked largely with information transmission and behaviourist educational approaches.
The educational uses of web 2.0 are often conceptualised with reference to Lev Vygotsky’s social constructivism and related contemporary approaches such as challenge-based learning, inquiry-based learning, problem-based learning, project-based learning and task-based learning. In professional development contents, Etienne Wenger’s community of practice model is sometimes employed to conceptualise a democratised learning community where all participants may teach and learn from each other. Common frameworks for helping educators in moving their uses of digital technologies away from older information transmission and behaviourist approaches, and towards more contemporary social constructivist approaches, are Punya Mishra and Matthew Koehler’s TPACK framework, Ruben Puentedura’s SAMR model, and Sonny Magaña’s T3 framework, all of which are discussed on the Learning design page.
In the pages in this section, you’ll find accounts of many of the major web 2.0 and web 2.0-related tools, platforms and techniques, with guidance on how to use them in a variety of educational contexts. These include blogs, (synchronous) chat & messaging, data visualisation, digital storytelling, (asynchronous) discussion boards, folksonomies, gaming, LMSs, microblogging, podcasting, polling, RSS, search engines, social networking, social sharing, videos, virtual worlds, VoIP, websites and wikis. Some tools like websites can also be found in the web 1.0 section (since they were originally web 1.0 tools although they have now evolved in a web 2.0 direction), and tools like chat & messaging, digital storytelling and polling can also be found in the mobile learning section (since nowadays they often involve mobile devices and apps).
It is important to note that making use of a web 2.0 tool does not guarantee that it is being used in a web 2.0 manner. While web 2.0 tools lend themselves to collaboration, communication and creation, and can support a social constructivist educational approach, it is perfectly possible to use a web 2.0 tool like a wiki for a web 1.0 purpose like information dissemination by a single author, or a web 2.0 tool like podcasting to support web 1.0 behaviourist drilling. From a learning point of view, everything depends on the learning designs which are implemented by educators.
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