K-12 School Computer Networking/Chapter 25/Implementing Web 2.0 and Distance Learning for K-12 Language and Literacy Development – An Overview of Some Benefits and Precautions

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Blogs and Wikis for K-12 Language and Literacy Development[edit]

By Daisuke Funai


The proliferation of electronic devices is becoming increasingly apparent to anyone who has stepped inside an American school in recent years. Even in the nation’s inner-cities, many students flaunt their iPods and sidekicks and display a fluency in all things digital. These digital natives are growing up in an exciting new world, but the ubiquity of new technology and the most recent developments on the World Wide Web—increasing the capacity for more people to publish and participate online—present new social, cultural and educational challenges and implications (Palfrey & Gasser, 2008). The context in which education was (at least conceived to be) confined within the walls of a classroom has shifted to a more globally connected reality, in which the innovative uses of technology highlight the fact that learning occurs all around us. Indeed, Web 2.0 has opened doors to distance learning and foreshadowed, for some, a refinement of the learning process altogether. Yet despite the inherent educational qualities of Web 2.0 applications and software, their adaptation for formal educational practices has had varying results (Bernard et al., 2004). In light of the shifting identities stemming from the advent of these revolutionary features of Web 2.0, it is imperative that educators are cognizant of both the benefits and consequences of using them to promote learning and ultimately, to promote cross-cultural awareness. This section provides a brief overview of two features of Web 2.0—blogs and wikis—that may be useful for promoting literacy and language acquisition through K-12 distance learning projects, while considering technical and social benefits and precautions. Through this brief exposition, it is hoped that the concluding section will provide a starting point for further reflection and consideration of how these technologies are impacting the lives of generations new and old.

Defining Web 2.0 and Distance Learning[edit]

Selected Features of Web 2.0 for Distance Learning[edit]



For Further Consideration[edit]



Baron, N. (2008). Always on: Language in an online and mobile world. New York: Oxford University Press

Bernard, R., P. Abrami, E. Borokhovski, A. Wade, L. Wozney. P.A. Wallet, & M. Fiset. (2004). How does distance education compare with classroom instruction? A meta-analysis of the empirical literature. Review of Educational Research. 74(3). 379-439.

Cuban, L. (1986). Teachers and machines: The classroom use of technology since 1920. New York: Teachers College Press.

Freedman, T. (Eds.). (2006). Coming of age: An introduction to the new World Wide Web. England: Terry Friedman Ltd.

Karchmer, R.A. (2001). The journey ahead: Thirteen teachers report how the Internet influences literacy and literacy instruction in their K-12 classrooms. Reading Research Quarterly, 36(4), 442-446.

Miniwatts Marketing Group. (2008). Top 47 countries with the highest Internet penetration rate. Retrieved November 25, 2008, from http://www.internetworldstats.com/top25.htm

November, A. (2006). Blogging: Shift of control. In Freedman, T. (Eds.). (2006). Coming of age: An introduction to the new World Wide Web. England: Terry Friedman Ltd.

Palfrey, J. and U. Gasser (2008). Born digital: Understanding the first generation of digital natives. PA: Basic Books

PB Wiki. (2008). Collaborative learning for your classroom: connect students, teachers and parents. Retrieved November 29, 2008, from http://pbwiki.com/academic.wiki

Pfeil, U., Zaphiris, P. & Ang, C.S. (2006). Cultural differences in collaborative authoring of Wikipedia. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 12(1), 88-113.

Taylor, R. (1991 November). The impact of telecommunications on education. Paper presented at the First Greek National Conference in Computing and Education.

Technorati. (2008). Welcome to Technorati. Retrieved November 29, 2008, from http://technorati.com/about/

Terrill, T. (2006). Technology on a shoestring. New York: Teachers College, Columbia University.

Warshauer, M. (2003). Technology and social inclusion. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press

Warshauer, M. and D. Grimes (2007). Audience, authorship and artifact: The emergent semiotics of Web 2.0. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 27, 1-23.

Wilkinson, D.M. & B.A. Huberman. (2007). Assessing the value of cooperation in Wikipedia. First Monday, 12(4). Retrieved November 29, 2008, from http://firstmonday.org/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/1763/1643