What is Web 2.0?

OLJ Task 2: What I think and know about Web 2.0 and the influence of this technology on organisations.

The phrase “Web 2.0” was created to describe the integrated, interactive and dynamic internet experience that developed from the initial World Wide Web (“Web 2.0”, n.d.).

Conole (2013) contributes the development of Web 2.0 to open, social and participatory media (p. 49). The participatory nature of these media enables us to actively create, remix and repurpose content and develop new ways of sharing what Schwerdfeger (2013) describes as “user-generated content”. The social nature allows us to connect and collaborate without the restrictions of space and time and facilitated the development of social networking and social media. The open nature is allowing collective aggregations and peer critiquing to lead to societal knowledge building through supportive communities of practice.

Anderson (2007) described powerful ideas that describe how Web 2.0 is changing the way individuals and organisations interact:

Individuals acquired “agency” to produce information products and other user-generated content. Web 2.0 users have the capacity to produce, share, contribute and consume online content and are empowered to avoid and bypass traditional organisations, regulations and costs/expenses (Van Dijk, 2018, p. 2.). Web 2.0 also gave individual a”voice” which, when added to those of other likeminded individuals, have great power when connected.

image by geralt, downloaded from pixabay

image by geralt, downloaded from pixabay

The connected, networked environment of Web 2.0 is essentially about “harnessing collective intelligence (O’Reilly & Battelle, 2009). Organisations cannot only forge closer ties to customers, but benefit from the wisdom of the crowd and crowdsourcing to solve problems more effectively by networked groups (Anderson, 2007, p. 16, Bughin, Chui, & Miller, 2009). Web 2.0 platforms can be designed to take the user interactions into consideration and improve itself, a feature Anderson calls architecture of participation (p. 19). Organisations can further harness the network effect, a phenomenon that occurs when a product’s value to a user increases as the number of users grow (“Definition of Network Effect,” n.d.).

The openness of the Web encourages organisations to mine and make use of the ever-increasing amount of data generated by online users as well as information in the vast databases that have been collected by public sector agencies.

What does this mean for an organisation such as a school? Just as the Web 2.0 environment changed the way we produce and interact with information and knowledge, and how we share and communicate it, it is changing the environment where learning and teaching takes place. The boundaries between the traditional and formal educational contexts and non-formal and informal learning contexts, are being redefined (Conole, 2013, p. 48; p. 204).

What does this mean for the school library?

Well, it seems time to find out exactly what Library 2.0 is all about…


Anderson, P. (2007, February). JISK Technology and Standards Watch: What is Web 2.0? Ideas, technologies and implications for education. Retrieved from JISK website: http://www.ictliteracy.info/rf.pdf/Web2.0_research.pdf

Bughin, J., Chui, M., & Miller, A. (2009, September). McKinsey Quarterly: How companies are benefiting from Web 2.0. Retrieved from McKinsey website: https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/digital-mckinsey/our-insights/how-companies-are-benefiting-from-web-20-mckinsey-global-survey-results

Conole, G. (2013). Designing for learning in an open world. New York, NY: Springer.

Definition of network effect. (n.d.). In Financial Times lexicon. Retrieved March 6, 2019, from http://lexicon.ft.com/Term?term=network-effect

O’Reilly, T., & Battelle, J. (2009, October). Web Squared: Web 2.0 Five Years on. Paper presented at Web 2.0 Summit, San Francisco, CA. Retrieved from https://conferences.oreilly.com/web2summit/web2009/public/schedule/detail/10194

Schwerdtfeger, P. (2013, March 17). What is Web 2.0? What is social media? What comes next? [Video file]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/iStkxcK6_vY

Van Dijck, J. V., Poell, T., & Waal, M. D. (2018). The platform society: Public values in a connective world.

Web 2.0. (n.d.). Retrieved March 5, 2019, from Technopedia website: https://www.techopedia.com/definition/4922/web-20



The Digital Learning Environment

The disruptive nature of current technological advances is forcing us to re-evaluate, and in many cases re-design, re-invent or at least adapt many aspects of our society – the learning environment is no exception. A learning environment is no longer a classroom where students quietly sit, all facing forward, while the teacher delivers content from a printed textbook (Graetz, 2006).

A digital learning environment (DLE) is an environment where learning is facilitated and supported through the affordances of digital technology. The DLE consists of all resources: hardware, software and educational content, that the learner and teacher employ to facilitate learning. Because the DLE is “digital”, connected and networked, it is not bound by time or space. Learning can happen 24/7/365 and outside of the physical restrictions and constraints of traditional learning environments, just-in-time and on-demand. Learning can not only take place when we want, but where we want, with and from whom we want and about what we want (Richardson & Mancabelli, 2011, p. 2). Learning in DLEs are not restricted to the group of students in a class but can naturally extend to include experts and communities of interest and practice, allowing for more authentic, “situated” or context-dependent learning experiences (Brown, Collins, & Duguid, 1989, p. 39).

photo by rawpixel, dowloaded from pixabay

Digital learning environments include, but are not exclusive to, learning management systems (LMS) or virtual learning environments (VLE).  These environments should be intentionally designed, allowing for personalised, empowering, learner-centred and learner-directed learning (Veletsianos, 2016, pp. 246-7). DLE should make the most of Web 2.0, media and tools, which are open, social and participatory –  allowing learning through communication, collaboration, co-creating and sharing of knowledge (Conole, 2013, p. 47). The DLE is hyper-connected and allows for learning that is dynamic and fluid, a blend of formal, informal, experiential, problem-based and inquiry learning.

The existence of a DLE does not guarantee maximisation of learning. Intentional steps must be put into place to ensure that students and teachers develop the skills necessary to succeed in the 21st century, as well as the behaviour and attitudes needed to learn and socialise safely, ethically and effectively in these environments.

The DLE in our school is complex, but none the less reasonably effective, focussed on supporting the teaching and the learning of our students in a collaborative and transparent environment. We use Managebac as learning management system, a good choice – from an administrative point of view, since it is tailor-made for our IB school. Managebac creates a transparent online DLE where teachers, students and parents have – at all-time – a transparent overview of curriculum, learning objectives, learning tasks and assessments. Much of the active learning activities take place in the Google Suite environment, where tools are integrated, and collaboration is easily facilitated and monitored through sharing of digital artefacts. Students have access to Managebac and the Google environment at all times, at school, home and elsewhere, and can easily share access to their work with peers, teachers and parents. Other Web 2.0 tools are often used for specific learning activities. In my grade 6 Digital X (technology and design-based course) , for example, students are experimenting with free online tools to create audio recordings (Twistedwave), video recordings (WeVideo) and photo manipulation software (Photopea). The artefacts that students create are showcased in an ePortfolio, which is a Google slide presentation. Assignments, grades and assessment comments for tasks in the ePortfolio is published on Managebac.

Our course notes describe a DLE as “the tools, skills, standards, attitudes and habits for learning while using technology and accessing digital resources” (Lindsay & O’Connell, 2018). All of those elements are important in creating a successful learning environment, but the skilful creation of authentic and challenging learning opportunities by the teacher, is needed to ensure that our students thrive and grow.


Brown, J. S., Collins, A., & Duguid, P. (1989). Situated cognition and the culture of learning. Educational Researcher, 18(1), 32-42. Retrieved from JSTOR database.

Conole, G. (2013). Designing for learning in an open world. New York, NY: Springer.

Graetz, K. A. (2006). The psychology of learning environments. In D. G. Oblinger (Ed.), Learning spaces. Retrieved from https://www.educause.edu/research-and-publications/books/learning-spaces/chapter-6-psychology-learning-environments

Lindsay, J., & O’Connell, J. (2018). Topic 1.0: Introduction to the digital learning environment. Retrieved March 3, 2018, from ETL 523: Digital citizenship in schools website: https://interact2.csu.edu.au/webapps/blackboard/execute/displayLearningUnit?course_id=_34634_1&content_id=_2002176_1

Richardson, W., & Mancabelli, R. (2011). Personal learning networks: Using the power of connections to transform education. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.

Veletsianos, G. (2016). Digital learning environments. In N. Rushby & D. Surry (Eds.), Handbook of learning technologies (pp. 242-260). Retrieved from http://www.veletsianos.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/digital_learninig_environments.pdf

New models of information production – characteristics and challenges

The Internet can be viewed as an open, digital network of globally connected users and computerised devices that provides a dynamic platform for the creation, storage, dissemination and consumption of information and knowledge.

The digital nature of the internet allows for the creation, storage and dissemination of content (irrespective of format – text, sound, image, hyperlinks) through any of the networked computers that make up the internet. The digital nature makes it easy to be replicated, manipulated, changed, stored and transmitted with accuracy and speed. Digital representation of data and information is freed from temporal and spatial constraints, enabling new models of information production that are interactive, easily and immediately accessed, shared and distributed.

The open nature of the internet supports the creation of new models of information production in a number of ways: The open architecture provides global penetration and access across physical and national boundaries. The fact that the internet is open and decentralised – not hierarchical – allows it to evolve and grow in creative, innovative and unrestricted ways. The open accessibility of the internet – not controlled or owned – encourages free and open expression and participation; gives a voice, encourages civic participation, connects and empowers. See Table 1 for a more detailed presentation, by West (2016), of internet openness.

Elements of Internet Openness (according to West, 2016)

It is the digital and open characteristics of the internet that allowed the development of the World Wide Web (WWW) through hyperlinks and hypertext. The creation – and open sharing – of the WWW provided the stepping stone needed for the development of a plethora of (Web 2.0) tools and applications, which in turn gave rise to open, social and participatory media that enabled the development of new models of information production (Conole, 2013, pp. 50-51).

De Saulles (2012, p. 13) identifies the mass adoption of computing devices for professional and personal applications, and the rise of the internet as distribution platform, as the main reasons for the increased rate that information is being created and consumed, as well as for the rise of new models of information production. He states that although new evolutionary models (such as blogs and podcasts) are similar to traditional formats (such as newspapers and radio broadcasts), they make use of the characteristics of the internet to be more social, participatory and accessible on demand. Revolutionary models – such as search engines (e.g. Google) and social media platforms (e.g. Facebook) – are revolutionary and only possible because of the internet’s unique characteristics. See his slideshow below for his view in more detail:


The challenges (to educators, information professionals and other users) associated with the new models of information presentation are archetypal of the changed information environments, as identified by Bawden and Robinson (2009, pp.182-186): Information is no longer scarce, but in oversupply; the “paradox of choice” is aggravated by the increasing diversity of information (in terms of format, complexity and varying perspectives). The open, social and participatory nature of Web 2.0 tools – and new models of information production – bring with it issues concerning quality control (no editorial or peer-reviewed processes); loss of identity and authority, subjectivity, de-contextualised information and impermanence of information (Bawden and Robinson, 2009, p.186).

The new models of information productions enable creative ways to produce and share information, but are changing our information behaviour. As educators and information professionals we need to understand this behaviour better, if we are going to effectively employ these models in facilitating and supporting 21st century learning.



Bawden, D., & Robinson, L. (2009). The dark side of information: Overload, anxiety and other paradoxes and pathologies. The Journal of Information Science, 35(2), 180-191. https://doi.org/10.1177/0165551508095781

Conole, G. (2013). Designing for learning in an open world. New York, NY: Springer New York.

De Saulles, M. (2012). New models of information production. In Information 2.0: New models of information production, distribution and consumption (pp. 13-35). Retrieved from https://www.csu.edu.au/division/library/ereserve/pdf/desaulles-m.pdf

West, J. (2016, May). Global Commission on Internet Governance Paper Series: Vol. 35. A framework for understanding internet openness. Retrieved from https://www.cigionline.org/publications/framework-understanding-internet-openness


Critical Reflection Assignment 7B

This high school librarian is on a quest to transform our library to be an enabling learning environment – where learning can be active, self-directed and social. My journey has brought me to this course, INF530, the start of a long-awaited Masters’ study.

Here then, are the big lessons learnt:

Knowledge is a vector (I heard it here), is changeable, and probably (like facts) only has a half-life (Coulter, 2014; The Economist, 2012).  Learning should not be viewed as “internal, individualistic activities” (see my contribution to discussion forum THREAD 2.4:  Thinking in Networks), as I learnt in cognitivism, or  constructivism but can be created in a connected network. Viewing knowledge creation as social and connected, is the KEY: knowledge is “distributed across a network of connections” and really is the connections between entities.  Learning is “the ability to traverse those networks”, or the creation/adjustment/deletion of these connections between entities (Downes, 2010).  This was the first big lesson learnt: My understanding of knowledge, and how we learn, needs updateding in our connected world.  Knowledge Networks (INF532) is next on my journey!

Because of the networked and connected environment of our digital age, learning should not be as teacher-directed and classroom-based, but student-centred and –directed and social.  It is happening more often informally, through communities of practice, moocs and other forms of social or e-learning, than in formal educational institutions – at least in the adult world (Siemens (2004); Downes (2010)).  I knew that teaching content to students sitting in rows is not 21st century best practice, and Wenger made me realise that learning IS social, but Seely Brown (2000) convinced me that our digital learners have all the tools (web 2.0 based – see my blogpost here) needed, for learning to become situated in action.  Learning-to-learn happens naturally when participating in a community of practice (Seely Brown, 2000).  Learners need to learn in their natural habitats – learning ecologies; educators need to support students to construct personal learning networks (says Downes (2017), as I tweeted here) and enable them to learn where they are already interested.  How? Enters: connected learning.

Connected learning is a framework loosely based on connectivism (as formulated by Siemens(2004) and Downes(2010)) and concerned with reimagining a more valid and relevant educational experience for those growing up in the digital age (see my blogpost here).  Connected learning is “socially embedded, interest-driven and oriented towards educational, economic or global opportunity” (Ito, et al., 2013, p.6).  It advocates employing open, social and participatory web 2.0 media (namely online platforms, digital tools for creating, publishing and collaborating, social media and web-based communities) in employing technology to augment learning.  It reasons that connected, peer- and mentor-supported learning that is interest-powered is the most effective. The connected learning approach resonates with my instinctive understanding of what learning can be in the digital age.  This new framework has been accepted well, but not yet implemented widely.  Can connected learning principles be implemented in a high school library?


There are valid links between the principles of connected learning and the work being done in school libraries to adapt to the 21st century (see YALSA; ASLA; Future Ready Librarians and the Alliance for Excellent Education):

  • Creating flexible learning spaces in libraries where students gather to learn collaboratively, to make and create and to “play” at learning in a social environment.
  • Librarians provide access to information sources to pursue not only academic goals, but personal interests. They can (and do) facilitate connections with communities of practice where those with similar interest can share and learn.
  • Libraries are no longer restricted to physical places, but should develop their online spaces to meet learners when and where they learn.
  • Librarians are valuable in helping students and teachers acquire trans-literacy, and information fluency skills and other digital proficiencies needed to be successful critical consumers and creative producers of information sources.
  • Students need mentors to help develop their digital identifies and to become engaged, ethically behaving digital citizens.

Before this course I was (at best) a critical consumer of media.  I am now convinced that knowledge can be collectively and collaboratively generated by engaged members contributing valuable insights to their communities of learning.  I am actively expanding my personal learning network, working on social participation and media production skills. 

The journey has started, there remains much to be learnt.



Alliance for Excellent Education. (2016, March). Future ready librarians. Retrieved from http://1gu04j2l2i9n1b0wor2zmgua.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/FR_Librarians_Factsheet.pdf

Australian School Library Association. (2013, April). Future learning and school libraries. Retrieved from http://www.asla.org.au/site/DefaultSite/filesystem/documents/2013-ASLA-futures-paper.pdf

Braun, L. W., Hartman, M. L., Hughes-Hassell, S., & Kumasi, K. (2014, January). The future of library services for and with teens: A call to action. Retrieved from Young Adult Library Services Association website: http://www.ala.org/yaforum/sites/ala.org.yaforum/files/content/YALSA_nationalforum_final.pdf

Cognitivism. (2015, June 19). Retrieved May 27, 2017, from Learning Theories website: https://www.learning-theories.com/cognitivism.html

Connectivism (Siemens, Downes). (2015, June 1). Retrieved May 27, 2017, from Learning Theories website: https://www.learning-theories.com/connectivism-siemens-downes.html

Constructivism. (2015, June 20). Retrieved May 27, 2017, from Learning Theories website: https://www.learning-theories.com/constructivism.html

Coulter, P. (Producer). (2014, January 15). The great book of knowledge: Part 1. Ideas. Podcast retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/player/play/2430203081

DMLReseachHub. (2012, October 31). Connected learning: Everyone, everywhere, anytime [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=viHbdTC8a90

Downes, S. (2010). Learning networks and connective knowledge. In H. H. Yang & S. C.-Y. Yuen (Eds.), Collective intelligence and e-Learning 2.0 (pp. 1-26). https://doi.org/10.4018/978-1-60566-729-4

Downes, S. (2017, May 16). A model of personal learning. Retrieved May 27, 2017, from http://www.downes.ca/presentation/469

The Economist. (2012, November 28). The half life of facts [Blog post]. Retrieved from Babbage website: http://www.economist.com/blogs/babbage/2012/11/qa-samuel-arbesman

Itu, M., Gutiérrez, K., Livingstone, S., Penuel, B., Rhodes, J., Salen, K., . . . Watkins, S. C. W. (2013). Connected learning: An agenda for research and design. Retrieved from https://dmlhub.net/wp-content/uploads/files/teaching-in-the-CL-classroom.pdf

Massive open online course. (2017, May 11). Retrieved May 27, 2017, from Wikipedia website: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massive_open_online_course

Seely Brown, J. (2000). Growing up digital: How the web changes work, education, and the way people learn. Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, 32(2), 11-20. https://doi.org/10.1080/00091380009601719

Siemens, G. (2004). Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age. Internationl Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning, (Jan). Retrieved from http://www.itdl.org/journal/jan_05/article01.htm

Tierney, J. (2014, July 16). Connected learning infographic [Video file]. Retrieved from http://prezi.com/9kuoj3x7o8rc/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy&rc=ex0share

Wenger, E., & Wenger-Trayner, B. (2015). Introduction to communities of practice. Retrieved May 27, 2017, from http://wenger-trayner.com/introduction-to-communities-of-practice/

Wenger, E., & Wenger-Trayner, B. (2015). Social learning – a framework. Retrieved May 27, 2017, from http://wenger-trayner.com/tag/social-learning-spaces/

Wolf, M. A., Jones, R., & Gilbert, D. (2014, January). Leading in and beyond the library. Retrieved from http://www.boces.com/cms/lib3/NY26000031/Centricity/Domain/15/BeyondTheLibrary.pdf





Web 2.0 and education – a good partnership

We viewed the arrival of the Web as revolutionary. Today we look back at Web 1.0 and find that it was slow, passive, formally structured, dense with text, inconveniently centralised in a static environment. Once Web 1.0’s copiously linked information and global connectivity was accessible on multi-functional mobile devices, a truly revolutionary innovation became possible: Web 2.0!

Web 2.0 tools, such as Twitter, allows user created content to be shared and distributed instantaneously, globally.

Web 2.0 affords users ways to become producers and distributors of “rich and multifaceted” information (Conole, 2012, p.47). The open, social and participatory media that made the evolution of Web 2.0 possible, allowed new ways to produce, communicate, share and collaborate information. The participatory nature of Web 2.0 technology enabled users to actively create, remix and repurpose content and to develop new practices of sharing it. The social nature allowed people to connect and encourage new levels of collaboration. The open nature encouraged building societal knowledge through collective aggregation and peer critiquing and encouraged new supportive communities of practice. An important contribution of Web 2.0 is not only the technological advances it brought, but that (through social media), human intelligence and passion is amplified.

Conole (2012) showed clearly how the open, social and participatory nature of the Web 2.0 environment changed the way that we produce and interact with information and knowledge, as well as how we share and communicate it. She also pointed out that, because of this central repository of linked information and the multiplicity of connectivity, the scale of user participation enabled it to effectively change all aspects of our society (pp. 47-48). It is changing the environment where learning and teaching takes place – redefining the boundaries between the traditional and formal educational contexts and the non-formal and informal learning contexts (p. 204), or, as she calls it the “changing digital landscape of education” (p. 48).

Web 2.0 tools allow for a more personalized learner-centered approach, where learners are more motivated as independent directors of their own learning: The learning environment is more social and collaborative, allowing for dialogic and peer learning and reflection. These characteristics of Web 2.0 align well with modern pedagogy, promoting a constructivist approach, where learners can actively construct their own understanding through experiential– and problem– and inquiry-based learning (pp. 57-8). It is a fertile environment where reforming new educational approaches, such as the connected learning model, can be collaboratively developed, implemented, evaluated and discussed by educators.

It can be argued that these new initiatives, such as connected learning, need the open, social and participatory media of Web 2.0 to be successful. Web 2.0 encourages all basic principles of connected learning: User generation of content support a production-centered approach. The open-networked nature of the Web allows interest-driven inquiry and exploration. Collaboration tools allow and encourage shared-purpose and peer-supported sharing and working.

Our school benefits from the advantages that Web 2.0 holds for education through adaptation of an integrated Google Apps for Education environment. Our students create, communicate, share, collaborate and reflect – seemingly seamless – on their Chromebooks, while their teachers collaborate, direct, guide, evaluate and assess in the same environment. What can be questioned is if this somewhat exclusive platform gives our students sufficient exposure to alternative tools and broad digital literacy. It is, however, true that students access their Google environment from other devices at school as BYOD is encouraged, or have at home. The Web 2.0 platform allows us important steps in reimagining the educational experience for the information age.

I cannot help but wonder how we will view this revolutionary Web 2.0, once it is replaced by Web 3.0 or another successor.

Conole, G. (2012). Designing for learning in an open world. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.

Skills needed in a changing workplace

It was interesting to compare the view of the Institute for the Future’s (University of Phoenix Research Institute) view on what will reshape the workplace of the future with that of the World Economic Forum (WEF). Both institutions identified the key drivers of change and then reflected on the skills that would be required in the workplace.

The WEF took a generalised approach, including more demographic and social factors with technological factors. The Forum took changes in emerging markets, geopolitical volatility and climate changes and natural resources into consideration. Both institutions identified changes in the demographics of the workforce of the future as a major challenge (Davies, Fidler, & Gorbis, 2011, pp. 3-5). They agree that the aging population in developed countries will impact the workforce through the fact that they will stay economically active longer, and will have different needs in terms of services. The WEF goes further and adds that in the emerging markets there is a different challenge, namely to educate the upcoming young people entering the workforce. The WEF also notes that the changing role of women, both as workers and consumers will be a stronger power in driving change. The WEF also regards rapid urbanization and unpredictable geo-political situations as factors to keep in mind (The World Economic Forum, 2016).

Global connectivity through mobile and cloud technology is seen by the Institute for Future and WEF as a major disruptive driver of change, both also mention “smart” machines, increased computational processing power and Big Data, the collective knowledge and collective intelligence is also seen as major contributors to change.

While the workplace can only react to the changes in demographics and social structures, it can actively plan for and deal with the technological drivers. Education and training is going to be vital. Both institutions address the changing skill set needed for workers of the future.

Ten future work skills are identified in Future Work Skills 2020. These skills emphasise the fact that machines will take over jobs that can be automated and that humans will have to concentrate on soft skills such as sense-making, social intelligence and adaptive thinking. Other important competences deals with open-mindedness: virtual collaboration, design mindset, transdisciplonarity and a cross-cultural mindset (Davies, Fidler, & Gorbis, 2011, pp. 8-12).

The WEF identifies basic and cross-functional skills and abilities along more traditional lines (social skills, resource management, technical skills, etc. ) but there is fundamental agreement that collaboration, active learning and listening and critical thinking as well as creativity and cognitive flexibility will be needed to learn and adapt in a fast changing work environment .

Davies, A., Fidler, D., & Gorbis, M. (2011). Future work skills 2020. Retrieved
from Institute for the Future, University of Phoenix Research Institute
website: http://www.iftf.org/uploads/media/

World Economic forum. (2016, January). The future of jobs. Retrieved from