The term Web 2.0 was first coined in 2004, it refers to what is perceived as a second generation of Web-based services emphasizing online collaboration and sharing. There has not been a technical update to Web standards, but rather a surge of new ways in which the standards are being used. The term categorizes four general types of processes within Web 2.0 applications that reflect the ways of interacting:
1) It is used for sharing user-contributed content (“You make it”) 2) To frame community-developed tagging and organizational schemes for large sets of user contributed content (“You name it”) 3) For the development of content collections by the user community (crowdsourcing) (“You work on it”).
4) To find not only objects but trends and overviews of contributions (“You
User modification possibilities are common throughout all the Web 2.0 processes. Openness is a main differentiator of the current uses of these processes compared to Web 1.0. The processes represent new ways of making, sharing and consuming digital documents where traditional watchers of quality are the user’s opinions.
Following are the characteristics of Web 2.0
Every aspect of Web 2.0 is driven by participation. The transition to Web 2.0 was enabled by the emergence of platforms such as blogging, social networks, and free image and video uploading, that collectively allowed extremely easy content creation and sharing by anyone. Standards
Standards provide an essential platform for Web 2.0. Common interfaces for accessing content and applications are the glue that allows integration across the many elements of the emergent web. Decentralization
Web 2.0 is decentralized in its architecture, participation, and usage. Power and flexibility emerges from distributing applications and content over many computers and systems, rather than maintaining them on centralized systems. Openness
The world of Web 2.0 has only become possible through a spirit of openness whereby developers and companies provide open, transparent access to their applications and content. Modularity
Web 2.0 is mainly and integrated structure. It emerges from many, many components or modules that are designed to link and integrate with others, together building a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. User Control
A primary direction of Web 2.0 is for users to control the content they create, the data captured about their web activities, and their identity. This powerful trend is driven by the clear desires of participants. Identity
Identity is a critical element of both Web 2.0 and the future direction of the internet. We can increasingly choose to represent our identities however we please, across interactions, virtual worlds, and social networks. We can also own and verify our real identities in transactions if we choose. Comparisonof WEB 2.0 & WEB 1.0
1. Web 1.0 is one way communication as it has published content and users cannot alter aor modify the content. Basically, userare passive consumers as they have to satisfy themsleves with the content provided. 2. Web 1.0 sites are static as they contain information that might be useful, but there’s no reason for a visitor to return to the site later. An example might be a personal Web page that gives information about the site’s owner, but never changes. Whereas, web 2.0 has rich design and contains RSS feed and can be a source of collective intelligence. 3. Web 1.0 sites aren’t interactive that is visitors can only visit these sites; they can’t impact or contribute to the sites.
Most organizations have profile pages that visitors can look at but not impact or alter, whereas a wiki allows anyone to visit and make changes. Whereas web 2.0 websites are interactive and it has user generated content too. 4. Web 1.0 applications are proprietary, under the Web 1.0 philosophy, companies develop software applications that users can download, but they can’t see how the application works or change it. A Web 2.0 application is an open source program, which means the source code for the program is freely available. Users can see how the application works and make modifications or even build new applications based on earlier programs. The following diagram explains the differences in more detail
Web 2.0 Tools in Education
In recent years, we can see a rapid increase in the use of Web-based ‘collaboration ware’. There are various Web 2.0 tools which are being adopted by education sector for effective interaction and collaboration. Because of their ease of use and readily availability they offer an excellent opportunity for powerful sharing and ease of collaboration. Some of the effective and common tool which have gained popularity and today is being used in many schools and universities are:
* Social Network
We will further discuss each of these tools and its usage in the educational context in detail. Blogs
One of the best features of the Web 2.0 era is the dramatic rise of the phenomena called as Blogging. In a layman’s language a Blog is nothing but an online journal or a diary. Usually on one side there is a writer who keeps posting regularly and on the other side there are readers who can read those blogs and post their comments. With the advent of the technology called as RSS now the user can not only comment but can also subscribe to the blog page and can get the notification whenever any change occurs on the blog page. It provides an easy way for common minded people to come together and create online communities where they can refer and learn from other peoples work and appreciate them. It is very easy to use and any person can make a web presence within a few minutes.It is very easy to use and flexible, which has made it quite popular even amongst the people who are not very good with technology. Blogs cultivates a culture of knowledge sharing and encourages people to debate on a common topic and in the process construct a knowledge base. Talking of Blogs in educational context one can derive the following benefits out it: * Enhance writing skills
One can immensily improve his writing skills by constantly posting his blogs. It also works the other way round when you subscribe to others blogs and can refer to their blogs. As it is said to improve one’s writing skills one needs to read and read a lot. By subscribing to some of the well respected writers provides you the immense opportunity to learn and enhance your writing skills. * Faciliate self reflection
For others it can act as a mirror for self reflection. It can give them the opportunity through which one can learn from their experience. It furthers learning and inspires, provocative thought and action which can benefit the individual and the community at large. * Encourage critical thinking
It also provides a forum for critical thinking. Critical thinking gives the ability to think clearly and ratioanlly and engage in reflective and independent thinking. It helps one in inculcating the habits of raising vital questions, in a clearly and precisely formulated manner, and assesing the relevant information and interpret it effectively to find a conclusive solution. * Provide collaborative and active learning
As it is said that collaborative learning isone of the most effective way of learning and that is the reason why there is so much of emphasis on case based study and interactive classes where everyone participates and contributes. Blogs gives you an apt platform for collaborative learning where anyone can put forward their views and arguments and can counter argue others views. * Provide feedback
One can immensily gain by constantly posting his blogs and sharing it with his peers/ teachers and asking them for their feedbacks. One can then constantly work upon the given feedback and try to improve on his lagging areas. Wiki
Wiki is a piece of server software which allows users to freely create and edit web page content using any browser. In other terms it is a space on the web where one can share his work and ideas, videos and media and pictures and links and what not. It is free open source software and thus no initial payment is required to use the facility. Users can visit, read and add content to wiki or update and organize its content. It uses hypertext system for storing and modifying information and is very easy to operate as well. It is freely expandable and one can interlink multiple pages. It serves the purpose of knowledge management and knowledge sharing. Wikis are generally designed is such a way that anyone can change its content and thus there has been some apprehensions about its contents and people tend to question its trust worthiness. Also due to open source there is a high probability of virtual vandalism and are susceptible to intentional disruption known as trolling. However, if used in a slightly controlled manner for ex. making it available for only the school/college students and allowing it to be
administered can actually be really fruitful. In educational context Wiki can be used for the following purpose: * Support collaborative learning and writing
Similar to Blogs, It can also act as a facilitator for collaborative learning and writing. It enables schools and colleges to write documents/projects/cases collaboratively. * Support project based and inquiry based learning
It can be used as a platform to share classroom schedules, homework assignments, important notices and to showcase the projects done by the students. Students can inquire about their doubts and fellow students or teachers can answer to their queries. It can help in organizing members into project-related teams, each with their own pages, files and permissions. * Promote creativity
Many Wiki space providers gives you different priviledges. It logs every change in the content and its details which can be used by the user to easily compare different versions of its reports or any document and seen what changes have been made by the other person. It promotes creativity in the sense that one can experiment with their ideas and update the contents multiple times and can get continuous feedback and always have the opportunity. * Encourage critical searching
* Provide easy online updating content
Wiki features include easy editing, versioning capabilities, and article discussions. Podcast
The word is derived from ‘pod’ (taken from iPod one of the most successful product from Apple) and ‘broadcast’. In Podcasting contents in form of video or audio, say for example a class lecture, for a specific audience is created and uploaded and then the audience can download it on their portable devices or any other media player and they can listen to it whenever they want. It can be referred to at any point of time or any place. Podcasts have an additional advantage of being a push or subscription rather than a pull technology which means the material is delivered directly from the source internet location to the device, rather than seeking for it and downloading it.
In education sector, Podcasts can come really handy. It gives a totally new perspective and adds another variant of mobile learning. It gives you the feeling of connectivity with the learning community and one can access all the reading materials even while traveling. It offers students the flexibility in terms of ability to study when and where they want. Students can review their lectures and class discussions before exams and can also go through the class lesson which they have missed.According to one of the research papers, it was observed that a significant number of students thought that revising from Podcasts was quicker and more effective than textbooks or traditional revision lectures. Social Network
Social network are software or rather a social structure that support collaboration, knowledge sharing and interaction and communication of users from different places who come together with a common interest, need or goal. In general, social networking sites are used for socializing and advertising (thanks to the rapid increase in the user base). Today it has become one of the most talked about topic in the entire information technology space. It is a web based service which provides users a platform to interact over the internet. Various means of social network services contains means such as instant messaging and e-mails. Today every other person is either hooked up with Facebook or a twitter. And with the increase in the reach of internet the number of users is multiplying on a regular basis and studentare no exceptions. So it makes sense to use social networking medium for education purpose.
It will be like an enjoyable learning medium for the students and there is a high probability that it will turn out to become one of the most efficient medium. In the educational context it can be used for information discovery and sharing. People can connect with many people who have similar kind of goals and needs from various places and countries and can interact on a regular basis. It can also provide a platform for the students to showcase their creativity. For an example: Any teacher or a professor can create a group on a Facebook and add all his students. There he can post some questions on a daily basis and encourage students to discuss on the same. To make it more effective and to ensure that each student contributes one can also add some incentive such as some grade points.