Web 2.0 and Education Seminar (II): Juan Freire: Web 2.0: institutional challenges

Juan Freire, Universidade de A Coruña (Spain)
Web 2.0: institutional challenges

Promises and reality

Change in learning paradigms: from the teacher centered to the creation of networks. Strong focus in learning by doing and collaborative and active learning.

Problem: web 2.0 explorers exist, but not backed up institutionally, creating a digital divide inside universities, between individuals and the institutions.

Beyond technology

Web 2.0 more than a technology: social change.

Many different tools, open and linked one to each other, connected, easy to use… thus creating a whole ecosystem.

Important question: the crossover between people and content that takes place in the Web 2.0, hence bringing in the capability for social creation of content.

If learning is (increasingly) taking place outside the classroom, how can universities adapt?

Open knowledge: independent, low cost, modular, generative.

From consumers to creators, but also curators. Their role is crucial for filtering overwhelming content you can “use” as personal filters, educated users that can help you to navigate the exuberance of information. Hence: new roles for both teachers and students. The formers should become mentors, designers, assessors; the laters, active learners, collaborators, networkers.

Bottlenecks for institutional adoption

The main problem is users (and the institutions they conform): habits, incentives, aversion to change…

Need to change a new knowledge culture. Fostered by the entrance of digital natives into the (educational) system?

Ironically, the presence of Web 1.0 tools are a threat for the adoption of Web 2.0 apps: new technologies distrust, need to pay off large investments, etc.

Institutional fears

A difficult balance to achieve: visibility vs. security and trust. Social network applications as a solution? The “Facebook approach”: the ability to manage people an content in a joint manner, along with the possibility to integrate third parties’ applications.

Elements for a strategy in Universities

Leaders should promote a cultural change… beginning with themselves.

Benefit from (inside) lead users and (outside) lead institutions to copy good practices and avoid bad ones: integrate tools along with practices.

Free content to enhance (knowledge) networks. From a closed university to an open one, enter the conversation.

Open vs. closed: lower costs (crowdsourcing), acceleration of innovation, increase creativity.

More info
Comments — his answers

Begoña Gros asks whether we should copy the research methodology to teaching? Well, maybe, the problem is that research nowadays is not open: provided one shares results, the data sets, the processes are not open. It is highly probable that it will happen just the other way: teaching will change the way research is done.

Brian Lamb states that the problem with Web 2.0 apps is that everyone likes their favorite app (blogs, wikis…) and the favorite “brand” for that app (WordPress, Blogger…), so how to cope with this?

A key point is to show what’s the use, the benefit of technologies for the students, not just use them. And find good examples, even if the teacher is not this example.

My comments

Q: Is (un)availability of pre-web 2.0 technology (in classrooms, at home) an advantage or a problem? Leapfrogging technologies overpassing (ancient) habits or lack of digital literacy or? The ability to understand how technologies work because you could (web 1.0) “touch” them is it a capability or you just don’t need to know how to code because Web 2.0 apps are “so easy” to use/install? And not just “technological literacy”, but also issues about privacy, security, copyright, etc.

A: It is important not only to use Web 2.0 tools but to design them, build them, try them. And the reason to do so is that everyone (people, institutions) is different and thus technologies need to be adapted to their needs.


UOC UNESCO Chair in Elearning Fourth International Seminar. Web 2.0 for Education (2007)

If you need to cite this article in a formal way (i.e. for bibliographical purposes) I dare suggest:

Peña-López, I. (2007) “Web 2.0 and Education Seminar (II): Juan Freire: Web 2.0: institutional challenges” In ICTlogy, #49, October 2007. Barcelona: ICTlogy.
Retrieved month dd, yyyy from https://ictlogy.net/review/?p=644

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  1. Pingback: Web 2.0: institutional challenges :: Web 2.0

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