Web 2.0 is a term that was coined by O’Reilly (2005) to describe the transformation of the Internet from a one way form of digital communication to a two way form of communication (Monfared, Ajabi-Naeini & Parker, 2013). Rather than the user passively receiving content, the user of Web 2.0 is an active participant in a community of users that can be from any part of the globe at any time of the day.
Web 2.0 offers a number of possibilities for education, such as connecting with a diverse number of peoples across the globe, the building of information from a basic beginning to deeper knowledge and the idea of building communities of like-minded people. Other possibilities would seem to be the notion of audience. People are now able to create and innovate to communicate their knowledge, thoughts and opinions and this could include student voices and work. It provides opportunities for authentic learning about and with the tools of their generation.
Whilst there are many opportunities there are also some barriers to the use of Web 2.0 in education. For example, fear. Fear of the connections that may be made, cybersafety and cyberbullying issues. Our students safety is paramount and we have a duty of care as educators, what happens when something goes wrong? Access is still an issue, as schools try to keep up with devices and introduce 1:1 iPad programmes, the infrastructure can still cause issues for connecting in some schools and homes. Other barriers can be educators knowledge and understanding of Web 2.0 and how to integrate these technologies into the classroom so that the needs of the students are being met.
Monfared, S. S., Ajabi-Naeini, P., & Parker, D. (2013). Bringing Web 2.0 into the Learning Environment. In E. McKay (Ed.), ePedagogy in Online Learning: New Developments in Web Mediated Human Computer Interaction (pp. 109-118). Hershey, PA: . doi:10.4018/978-1-4666-3649-1.ch007
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Kevin Kelly’s words challenged me when he said ‘we have to use things in order to find out how they work.” I thought I had an understanding of social networking and a number of social media platforms as discussed in my previous post. I really considered in my professional world that I was limited in the way I could approach the use of social media with students, as they are only in primary school. I have long had the belief and the students I teach will probably tell you that whatever we would view as acceptable in face to face interactions is equally the same with digital interactions. I often say to my students citizenship is citizenship, it can just seem different and tricky when using a digital device.
I realised today that I have been ‘doubling up’ on the way I communicate and have made the decision that no longer will I be writing a separate Library Newsletter, emailing teachers about wonderful websites and learning opportunities. I mean, the library website with the library blog is just as efficient and has the capabilities to reduce my workload, it’s all about harnessing the affordances of social media. So here I share the link to our school library website and I will continue to share the journey of my learning about social media. I am a firm believer in the idea that everything is a work in progress so welcome any comments or feedback you have.
I then had another attempt at Linked In as a social networking space. I’ve sent out invitations and connected with people, accepted connections from patient friends and colleagues, added information to my profile and contributed my first post promoting the library website. That wasn’t my big moment of clarity and I almost feel embarrassed to share this but the feature I loved was that I could ‘tweet’ my post from within Linked In! Am thinking Linked In definitely has a place in my toolbox of social media.
Clarity gained and excitement aplenty!
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Social networking initially is understood to be a network of people who join together and interact with each other to share personally or professionally. It is therefore as successful as those who join the community or network of people who have chosen to participate. Social networking has always existed throughout history but since the inception of Web 2.0 the opportunities and possibility to connect with a much wider global community has meant the ability to expand ideas and thoughts. Many more voices provides much more depth to the dialogue.
Social networking allows individuals or groups to develop connection and increase learning based on their interests and passions. There are so many social networking sites that individual preference, passion and purpose determines which social networking sites are used by the individual (Ishizuka, 2010). Social networking allows people to continue along their quest for knowledge and the importance of concepts such as lifelong learning are another of the benefits of this participatory, collaborative connection between people. It highlights the need for individuals to develop knowledge and skills about recognising fact from fiction, developing their boundaries through critical thinking before contributing or sharing too much. Social networking requires people to be able to bring the digital and the face to face into a one world view rather than a belief that is what happens online is different to what happens offline. The question is, how private? how public? how much is too much? in this ever accessible network of people. Is it really healthy to be connected to the technologies being offered by Web 2.0?
I have used various social network sites but my purpose and experience is quite different for each one. Facebook, Instagram are by far my personal playground. They are where I share anecdotes with family and friends as we live quite some distance from each other. Twitter is where I find useful professional information with links to educational specialists and gurus from around the world and I tried to use Linked In for a while but found it not as effective as Twitter. I have a Pinterest account to curate resources that could be useful for that rainy day, or meals to make for my family. I have a You Tube account, a Google + account and these are new areas for me. Anything that involves me sharing actual footage of myself I tend to not contribute but appreciate and comment on the efforts of others.
Throughout this unit though I hope to learn how to utilise the benefits of social networking in a primary (K – 6) educational setting. What is it that needs to be considered? How can the vision of a primary school library use social networking platforms to serve the needs of the learning community?
Ishizuka, K. (2010). People who need people. School Library Journal, 56(2), 32.