Web 2.0 in schools

Charles Crook
One of the parallel sessions at Becta’s Research Conference  was an overview of the work that Charles Crook and Colin Harrison have done on looking at web 2.0 in schools. It’s an excellent, salve timely report and complements other research being carried out on learners’ use of technology (see for example the Elesig special interest group). As the report says web 2.0 potentially has a lot to offer - it should fit well with current policy directors and educational theory. This is something I have argued before too, ampoule however in reality the alignment is not as strong as it should be. Here are some of the highlights from the executive summary of the report: 
  • At Key Stages 3 and 4, pills learners’ use of Web 2.0 and related Internet activities is extensive.
  • Use is not generally sophisticated; learners are mainly consumers rather than producers of internet content.
  • Of the 2,600 learners surveyed across 27 schools, 74% have social networking accounts and 78% have uploaded artefacts (mostly photographs or video clips from phones) to the Internet. However, nearly all Web 2.0 use is currently outside school, and for social purposes.
  • There is only limited use of Web 2.0, and only a few embryonic signs of criticality, self-management and meta-cognitive reflection.
  • Many learners lack technical skills, and lack an awareness of the range of technologies and of when and how they could be used, as well as the digital literacy and critical skills to navigate this space.
  • There is a disparity between home and school use of IT, both in terms of the larger range of activities and the increased time spent on IT at home.
  • Use of web 2.0 in schools is limited.

Four potential benefits were identified: 1. Stimulating new modes of enquiry, 2. Engaging in collaborative learning, 2. Engaging with new literacies, 4. Online publication of content. The report also talked about the barriers and challenges with using web 2.0 in a school context, including issues around e-safety. The exec summary concludes with the following quote: 

Perhaps the key implication for practice, therefore, is for evangelists, innovators and visionaries (and policy makers) to take careful account of the effort required of teachers if encouraging the wider implementation of Web 2.0, and to recognise that, although most teachers are positive towards Web 2.0 in principle, relatively slow and cautious progress is inevitable.

4 Responses to “Web 2.0 in schools”

  1. eckart Says:

    Hi Grainne
    In my eyes especially the wiki has great potential in teaching. I’m experimenting with a wiki in language teaching.
    If you have a beamer you can use it for collaborative work and then later the produced text in individual work. After that you can go bach and use student work to produce an improved version of a text jointly.
    Here is a short description:



  2. Gráinne Says:

    Hi sounds really interesting Eckart. You might be interested in including this in our cloudworks site which is about shwocasing good learning and teaching ideas and finding others with similar interests. Its at cloudworks.ac.uk

    if u request a username and password then u can add ‘clouds’ ie ideas or designs


  3. Kate Says:

    Thanks for this Grainne - the link to the BECTA reports is very useful.
    I agree with your final point that we do need to be aware of adding to teachers’ workload. There are ways to show them how using web2.0 tools can help them save time and improve their teaching at the same time. For example, using RSS feeds and social bookmarking together allows ICT teachers to build a shared set of up-to-date news articles and other resources, which they can retrieve easily.
    In my own school, setting up a wiki to hold all the ICT homework tasks took about 15 minutes and saved us spending a large chunk of our budget on photocopying. Yes, I know this is the sort of thing that should go on a VLE, but we are still waiting for access to the school’s second or third attempt at a working VLE to be made available to staff and students.
    We need to sneak these things in where we can see a need that can be met easily and they will soon catch on.

  4. Gráinne Says:

    yep totally agree with u kate!! ;-)


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