Thing 2 (Week 1): What is Web 2.0 and (Why) Does it Matter?


So, what is Web 2.0?
Image by tobiaseigen

The term "Web 2.0" can be applied across broad categories of digital tools and design principles, social and economic shifts, participatory media and culture, etc.... Web 2.0 (and/or Social Media, and/or Cloud-Computing) tools (blogs, wikis, podcasts, social networking and social bookmarking sites, tagging, photo- and video-sharing, RSS, etc...) are collaborative, Internet-based and user-driven. They include platforms and tools for publishing, connecting, sharing, organizing and remixing. They are social.

A popular synonym for "Web 2.0" is the "Read/Write" web, which suggests that users are contributing, creating and collaborating rather than just consuming web content. "Web 1.0" or the "Read-Only" web was a place where the average user didn't publish content, because it required technical knowledge (HTML and other programming code) and money (to purchase server space and software). Web 2.0 tools allow users to easily participate and to customize their online experiences.

At its core, Web 2.0 is about powerful, social, Web-based technologies connecting people and ideas.

Discovery Exercise: (Why) does the social web matter?

Please watch the following video clips to learn a bit more about some important "21st Century Shifts" that educators must consider for themselves and for student-learners. (In Thing 3, you'll be asked to write a blog post reflecting on these videos and two brief articles below, so you may want to make some notes as you view and read).

¤ NOTE: If YouTube is blocked at your school, you may need to view these clips from home.

The Web is Changing...

Web 2.0: The Machine is Us/ing Us by Michael Wesch (4:30)
If you don't see the video, here is a direct link:

The World is Changing...

Did You Know? 4.0 by Xplane, the Economist, Karl Fisch & Scott McLeod. (4:46)
(Inspired by the original Shift Happens / Did You Know? by Karl Fisch)
If you don't see the video, here is a direct link:

Students are Changing...

A Vision of Students Today by Michael Wesch and students at Kansas State University (4:45)
If you don't see the video, here is a direct link:

The Networked Student by Wendy Drexler (5:10)
If you don't see the video, here is a direct link:


What might Web 2.0 mean for learning and why should I care? Read this blog post: "Web 2.0 is the Future of Education" by Steve Hargadon, and the attached article "A Day in the Life of Web 2.0" by David Warlick. (Although they are "classics" by date, they are great stage-setters for our course). Reflecting on the videos above and these articles, consider the ways in which Web 2.0 (and social media) might change (or has already changed) your life and professional practice. How might you be able to use these new tools and environments to support your own learning and to engage today's "digital learners?" Why would you want to? Why might you need to? (MAKE SOME NOTES ON YOUR REFLECTIONS - in "Thing 3" (coming soon), I'll ask you to complete a blog post reflecting on your initial thoughts about Web 2.0 and its role in 21st Century teaching and learning.