Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Reflecting on web 2.0 week

Web 2.0 is so last week! Well, it is if you're on H807 and already being encouraged to move on to evaluating usability, which is the next theme.

I had a lot of fun looking at mashups (more than once!), RSS feeds, social bookmarking, social networking and assessment 2.0.

There are just a few niggling thoughts that I haven't recorded so far...
  • I had fun looking at all these different tools and technologies, as did I think my fellow students, but the fact that they can be included in a course in innovation really shows that despite all the hype, and the growing number of users, there is a long way to go until we reach either widespread acceptance, or toolset stability. In a space of a few short years  tools and trends have come and gone, as shown by this History of Social Media Infographic, and for many people such instability is disconcerting.
  • While there were plenty of papers telling me about how brilliant these web 2.0 tools could be for education, finding actual examples and case studies was much tricker. Mashups seem a great concept, but mixing data from multiple sources isn't straightforward, and while there were lots of obvious suggestions for using RSS feeds and social bookmarking in teaching and learning, it seemed that social networking and assessment 2.0 have much further to go in terms of uptake. 
  • We often come across statements like "young people expect to use networked technologies in their learning", and "the net generation use their social networks for learning and expect their educators to do so too". I think a lot of caution needs to be exercised here. Steve Wheeler warns against accepting wholesale the idea of digital natives and immigrants, and advocates Dave White's alternative theory of visitors and residents. This all reminds me of the excellent Information Behaviour of the Researcher of the Future study by the British Library and JISC. It looks at the following claims about the Google Generation, and presents information which indicates that some of these are myths:
    • Google Generation show a preference for visual information over text 
    • Google Generation want a variety of learning experiences 
    • Google Generation Have shifted decisively to digital forms of communication 
    • Google Generation 'Multitask’
    • Google Generation are impatient and have zero tolerance for delay 
    • Google Generation find their peers more credible as a source of information than authority figures 
    • Google Generation need to feel constantly connected to the web 
    • Google Generation learn by doing rather than knowing 
    • Google Generation prefer quick information in the form of easily digested short chunks rather than full text
    • Google Generation have a poor understanding and lack of respect for intellectual property
    • Google Generation are format agnostic 
    • For the Google Generation, virtual reality may be as real as the real experience 
If you're short of time, pages 13-21 cover the claims and fact/myth findings.

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