I am in the process of developing a presentation for the Technology for Teaching & Learning track of the annual NERCOMP (the North East Regional Computing Program) conference to be held in Boston, MA from 20-22 March. The working title is:
Dancing on the Bleeding Edge
– The Implications of Web 2.0 in Higher Education.
The gist of it, as laid out in my presentation abstract, is this:
The recent emergence of a trend identified as Web 2.0 is heralding a new influx of challenges for educational institutions from faculty buy-in to the selection, deployment and maintenance of new campus-wide applications. This presentation is an overview of the technology, pedagogy and politics of the next generation of web apps.
The guiding question asks, “What is so important about the phenomenon known as Web 2.0 and how do institutions balance the demand for emerging technologies against their already strained resources?” The answer to follow will, hopefully, be a birds-eye view of the concept of Web 2.0 as recently coined by Tim O’Reilly, including the apps, but more importantly the attitudes that shape his definition over the past few years.
The proponents of Web 2.0 believe that the net experience is no longer satisfied by personal home pages and uni-directional communications. The new net experience is defined by its social impact, its facilitation of what George Siemens calls “connectivism.” Generic apps such as blogs, wikis, podcasts and other forms of social software such as del.icio.us and flickr, even mySpace and Facebook pose new challenges to be faced by not just IT departments but also the faculty and students we support.
As nearly all institutions struggle to keep up with the growing demands of their user base when it comes to new technologies, it is becoming increasingly essential that we stay abreast of current trends in order to best support those who will be using them.
Some of the resources I am using to compile supporting data for the presentation include:
- ECAR Study of Students and Information Technology, 2005: Convenience, Connection, Control, and Learning – EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research
- Teen Content Creators and Consumers Report published by the Pew Internet & American Life ProjectNew Web Services for Teaching and Learning – Bryan Alexander of the National Institute for Technology and Liberal Education (NITLE)
- E-learning 2.0 – Stephen Downes, National Research Council of Canada as published in eLearn Magazine, xxx 2005.
- What Is Web 2.0: Design Patterns and Business Models for the Next Generation of Software – O’Reilly.com
- Social Software – Wikipedia
There will be more to come, but this is a start in the right direction. Please feel free to send other resources my way!