Web 2.0 is evolving continuously and it is expected that educational instruction would rise to the challenge and build pedagogic frameworks that enable attainment of learning outcomes through increased student engagement.
Web 2.0 is all around us —Google Apps, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and the list goes on. The younger generation across the globe, comprising students mostly, have taken onto them as second-skin. India is no different and therein is the opportunity to address some of the structural challenges faced by Indian higher education — expansion, excellence and equity.
Characteristics of Web 2.0: In spite of the plethora of Web 2.0 tools on the internet, a broad classification of their characteristics can be based on their usage.
Communication: Email still exists and would continue to. Owing to many tools now like Skype, go-to meetings and webinars, communication mediums have become sophisticated involving text, voice, video, screen-sharing and combination of these.
Publishing: Easy availability of numerous blogging platforms and wikis coupled with their ergonomic usage has made it easy for everyone to create and publish with relative ease.
Real-time collaboration: The availability of collaboration tools like Google Apps has transformed collaboration. Google Apps also provides a free suite for educational institutions.
Social networking: Tools like Facebook, Twitter and Google present the opportunity to reach out beyond our known network. Social networking is a powerful tool that aids informal learning. Learning is truly social.
Application for Class and Non-class Activities: Planning the application of tools according to their potential is important. A jump into implementation without proper lesson planning could be detrimental. Defined training with Web 2.0 implementation strategies would ensure success. Since the very nature of Web 2.0 is evolving one should adopt a phased approach to implementation starting from the simple to the sophisticated.
Impact on Learning Outcomes: Web 2.0 has the power to impact positively the learning outcomes of students.