Foundations and Assessment of Education/Edition 1/Foundations Table of Contents/Chapter 13/13.2.2

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Digital Natives & Web 2.0

by: Ashley Crooks

Learning Targets -- How do we become Web 2.0 Natives?


This article will allow students to identify the various applications and groups of technology that make up Web 2.0.

Students will be able to differentiate between traditional learning versus Web 2.0 learning.

Students will identify the potential of Web 2.0, but consider the many challenges schools face in regard to funding Web 2.0 based learning.

Students will be introduced to Wikiversity and learn how to determine legitimacy of web based content.

Web what?


The phrase “Web 2.0” was coined by Tim O’Reilly, founder and CEO of O'Reilly Media, Inc. and open supporter of the free software movement promoting user's rights to access and modify software. Web 2.0 was created or coined in 2004 to describe the design patterns and business models for the next generation of web software following the dot-com bubble and technology market crash in 2001 (O’Reilly, 2005). According to the July 16, 2006 Los Angeles Times article, Will the dotcom bubble burst again?, the dot-com bubble crash wiped out $5 trillion in market value of technology companies from March 2000 to October 2002. This was the foundation for the introduction of Web 2.0 applications.

"The next generation web promises to make the web a way of life and turn software development upside down. The web moves from simply being sites and search engines to being a shared network space that drives work, research, education, entertainment, and social activities - essentially everything people do" (Storey, 2006).

Web 2.0 consists of various technological components including, but not limited to, blogs, wikis, RSS feeds, and podcasts. Anyone is able to interact in a social cyber network using Web 2.0, deliberating on topics of interest where one can contribute one's own content and knowledge or comment on others content and knowledge. A Blog is a type of website usually run by an individual who contributes regular commentary for anyone to discuss or comment on. A Wiki is a collection of webpages where anyone can access, contribute, and edit the content. RSS (Real Simple Syndication) Feeds are used to publish frquently updated materials to the Internet, like news headlines or the weather. A podcast is a digital audio or video file that is available to download. More familiar examples of Web 2.0 is the social networking sites of Facebook and MySpace. There is also Wikipedia (from the term Wiki) that we are all quite familiar with and using right now. This peer created textbook is an excellent example of digital native user interaction for education and knowledge. What is a digital native? According to Wikipedia, a digital native is someone who has grown up using digital technology such as camera, computers, cell phones, and the Internet.

Collective Wisdom


Everyone can relate to the scene of a classroom with the teacher up front lecturing on that days topic while the students scribble down notes. In this 20th century classroom students were given basic answers of right and wrong and almost never given the opportunity to challenge those right and wrong answers. Students studied what the textbook and teachers taught for upcoming tests.

In the 20th century students were given basic answers of right and wrong and almost never given the opportunity to challenge those right and wrong answers.

What if the teachers and professors decided to stop teaching? Instead, now imagine a much different classroom where the students work together, discuss, problem solve, and construct their knowledge (Staley 2009). We would still have teachers, but not lecturers. The teacher would serve more as a supervisor. Each day this supervisor would do something like hold a meeting where students would receive a definition of duties and responsibilities and they would start their shift, so to speak. The supervisor makes their rounds, keeping everyone on track and that's class. Sounds a lot like the workplace. Possibly a good start assuming students will be future workers.

The Critics & Funding Shortfalls


There is always going to be the reluctant few who are skeptical of change and prefer the traditional way of doing things. There is also the few who choose to abuse technology and Web 2.0 applications. ‘Traditional’ teachers have a sense that if they allow their students to have a certain amount of technology access they will abuse it and waste time. MySpace and Facebook are two examples of social networking sites that may steer students in the wrong direction in the classroom. Many will argue that it's not the social sites that steer students in the wrong direction, but it's the content of the classroom that doesn't engage a students proper attention.

Possibly the biggest concern is; Where's the money for these Web 2.0 applications going to come from? Every school is judged on a large scale in the terms of funding. "They must meet the needs of a large number of school districts, but all school districts vary considerably in their student characteristics and needs" (Augenblick 1997). Most high valued property areas don't face much of a problem considering their schools funding is based on the cost of the local housing and commercial community. Also these higher school markets have better student testing results thus leading to more funds and a better education. It's the lower costing communities that lack the funding for their school to keep up with the rest of the digital natives out there. They have lower test results and, as a result, less funding. All this poses a problem for Web 2.0 learning equality.



August 2006 was the most recent merge of a Web 2.0 application into higher education. The development of Wikiversity from the founders of Wikipedia. David Stanley, an adjunct associate professor and Director of the Goldberg Program for Excellence in Teaching in the Department of History at The Ohio State University and the Principal of The DStaley Group, a strategic futuring consulting firm, describes this new platform university as a collaboration of learning materials produced by volunteers like the ones who contribute in Wikipedia (Stanley 2009). The great thing about Wikiversity is that anyone can attend and there's no tuition. All the learning materials are produced by the Wikiversity students and can be edited by each user. All the course material has its own electronic jargon. Traditional universities each have separate course departments referred to as "colleges", like the Darden College of Education. At the Wikiversity they say "portals" or "faculties" and there aren't any "professors", but "course leaders" (Stanley 2009). It's virtually just like creating or editing an article in Wikipedia. Anyone is able to add course knowledge or create a faculty and school, or be a course leader (Friesen & Hopkins 2008). Many colleges, MIT being one, actually give Wikiversity students college credit.

What defines an Expert?


How does one qualify to be an expert? If someone calls himself or herself an expert on a subject are they still continuing to learn on a particular topic or do they feel they have accomplished all they need to know? Fortunately, in a Web 2.0 approach, dated or past knowledge and expertise will quickly be updated by a slew of peers. Web 2.0 may encourage teachers and students to continue learning on a topic of interest in order to keep up with the many voices out there. I imagine an expert would receive much satisfaction blogging and teaching various peers new aspects of knowledge.

Watch this VIDEO


Click on this link to see a great Web 2.0 learning video:



Augenblick, J., Anderson, A. and Myers, J. (1997), "Equity and adequacy in school funding", The Future of Children FINANCING SCHOOLS vol. 7 no. 3.

Friesen, N. and Hopkins, J. (2008), "Wikiversity: Or, education meets the free culture movement: An ethnographic investigation", First Monday. vol. 13 no. 10.

O’Reilly, T. (2005), “What is web 2.0? Design patterns and business models for the next generation of software”, available at: (Accessed February 6, 2009)

Stanley, D. (2009), "Managing the platform; Higher education and the logic of wikinomics", EDUCAUSE Review. vol. 44, no. 1 pp. 36–47.

Storey, T. (2006), “Web 2.0: Where will the next generation web take libraries?”, Next Space: The OCLC Newsletter, No. 2, pp. 6–11.

The New Media Consortium. 2007. The 2007 Horizon Report. Austin, TX: The New Media Consortium.

Are you a Web 2.0 expert?


All of the following are examples of Web 2.0 applications except one.

A. Wikis

B. Journal Articles

C. Podcasts

D. Blogs

Suppose you are a student who comes from a poor household with no computer. The primary and secondary school you attended also had no computers or much technology. You receive grants to attend a University where technology is rampant. How do you overcome your adversity with technology?

A. Contact the Universities computer help center to receive tutorials.

B. Discuss with your professors that you are not a Digital Native, but you are in training and ask for some advice.

C. Check with the University for free technology workshops

D. All of the Above

You attend a Wikiversity and are taking a Politics in the Media class. What would be the courses ideal content?

A. Right-winged political viewed teaching

B. Unbiased discussion focusing on both sides of political parties.

C. Left-winged political viewed teaching

D. Neutral

What plays a major deciding factor in how much funding a school district receives?

A. Test Scores

B. Population

C. Gas Prices

D. Teacher Income


1. B 2. D 3. B 4. A

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