Baby steps in web 2.0 education. Fernando, A.

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Fernando, A.  (2008).  Baby steps in web 2.0 education.  Communication world:  8-9.

Web 2.0 includes many forums and technologies, but in this article, Fernando looks at what colleges and universities are doing with these technologies, and the potential that the business world will catch on soon as well.  In addition, he emphasizes the importance of easy technologies.  “These tools have low barriers to entry – they’re often free – are highly collaborative and not too ‘tech-y,’ and they seem to get students all fired up” (8).

Fernando focuses on professors’ use of Twitter, wikis, podcasts, Innertoob, and the clichéd (but educationally useful) You Tube, and how they use them in and outside of the classroom setting.  In one case, Gardner Campbell uses collaboration online at the University of Mary Washington in Virginia.  “Campbell, who teaches literature, new-media studies and writing, talks of a blogging initiative tapping into ‘digital imagination’ to take a fresh approach to knowledge sharing.  Knowledge in a digital realm becomes a ‘persistent resource’ once it is created in, and made accessible through, social media” (9).  Another cited example comes fro Middlebury College in Vermont, where Barbara Ganley, a lecturer in English and the writing program there, “decided to give her students ‘a chance to explore hypertext creative nonfiction, integrating image and sound in their writing, and to play around with blogging and digital storytelling.’  What did she use?  Twitter, the micro-blogging platform used on mobile phones.  She believes Twitter creates an ‘asynchronous, forced concision’ in collaborative writing” (9).
Clearly, if colleges are using these technologies,  high school teachers would be wise to begin exposing students to them in preparation.  In addition, the future use of such technologies in the workforce appears imminent.  Fernando states, “There are great examples in organizations of how a decentralized workforce has become more inspired, collaborative and engaged” (9).  Fernando justifiably fuels a teacher’s desire to increase the use of Web. 2.0 technologies in middle and high school classrooms.

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