The first session of the day that I attended was "Web 2.0 and Post-Secondary Education" presented by John Mitterer from Brock University. As he put it - "Web 2.0 isn't a thing - it's a state of mind". I couldn't agree more.
John is a psychology professor who among other things teaches a first year class of 1400 students (that's not a typo and I will never complain again about class sizes at NSCC), so he doe snot do a lot of Web 2.0 stuff with them, but he is thinking about it.
As a frame of reference, he made the following distinctions between Web 1.0 and Web 2.0:
- Web 1.0 - a giant library
- Web 2.0 - the Web as a giant conversation - individual control over the means of production - allows for creativity, power, and expression
There is a need to get back to inquiry, critical thinking, discovery learning, and reflection. Web 2.0 can help do this - as an example he presented wikiyork.org, a student produced wiki from York University. Asa counterpoint he presented a faculty run site - BioMe, this site is controlled by faculty and while it has aspects of social interaction, is not really a social Web 2.0 site (IMHO).
He suggested that instead of papers, get learners to post to wikis (something I have done) instead of papers and assignments - share their work. Use blogs to get learners to express opinions and tell stories (we need more story telling).
He then posed this question - can Web 2.0 be used for inquiry? Can (or should) inquiry tools be socially constructed. he then presented us with an example of one - Otavo, created by a student (email@example.com) - dubbed the "Intention Engine", Otavo is inquiry-based software that takes users of "quests" for information etc.
An interesting session and a good way to start the day - Web 2.0 is being used to varying degrees in post-secondary education, but is still a ways away - that whole digital divide between faculty and learners...