I tend to agree with D’Arcy, and exhibit a similar gag-reflex when someone drops the term “Web 2.0” on me. But as Darren points out in the ensuing comments, it can be hard to resist when you are trying to conceptualise a broad range of applications, interoperations and behaviours to a newcomer.
I might start up something like a buzzword swear jar, put a couple bucks away every time I use that damn phrase (and a few choice others) and at the end of the year give it to some worthy open source initiative.
Whatever — I still grooved big-time on Bryan Alexander’s Web 2.0: A New Wave of Innovation for Teaching and Learning?, and right up front he notes “the label ‘Web 2.0’ is far less important than the concepts, projects, and practices included in its scope.”
I’m so pleased Dr. Alexander was tapped to write this for the EDUCAUSE Review, as he lays down nifty riffs like this one:
Amid this flurry of Web services, what are the pedagogical possibilities? Like many computer-mediated techniques for teaching and learning, some of these possibilities start from pre-Web practices. For example, we have long taught and learned from news articles. Indeed, a popular metaphor for describing RSS reading is the clipping service of old. Since blogs, most social bookmarking tools, and other services are organized in reverse chronological order, their very architecture orients them, or at least their front pages, toward the present moment. Web 2.0 therefore supports queries for information and reflections on current events of all sorts. Given bloggers’ propensity for linking, not to mention some services’ ability to search links, blogs and other platforms readily lead the searcher to further sources. Students can search the blogosphere for political commentary, current cultural items, public developments in science, business news, and so on.
The ability to save and share a search, and in the case of PubSub, to literally search the future, lets students and faculty follow a search over time, perhaps across a span of weeks in a semester. As the live content changes, tools like Waypath’s topic stream, BlogPulse’s trend visualizations, or DayPop’s word generator let a student analyze how a story, topic, idea, or discussion changes over time. Furthermore, the social nature of these tools means that collaboration between classes, departments, campuses, or regions is easily supported. One could imagine faculty and students across the United States following, for example, the career of an Islamic feminist or the outcome of a genomic patent and discussing the issue through these and other Web 2.0 tools. Such a collaboration could, in turn, be discovered, followed, and perhaps joined by students and faculty around the world. Extending the image, one can imagine such a social research object becoming a learning object or an alternative to courseware.