1. What is Web 2.0?


  1. To identify recent trends in the development of the Web.
  2. To analyse how these trends might impact upon society and education.



‘Web 2.0’ is a bit of a buzz word that’s been getting around the online community since it was coined by Tim O’Reilly in 2005. It’s basically a shorthand term for some of the changes we’ve seen in the web in the past couple of years: from an ‘uploady-downloady‘ web — where people had to have direct access to specialised technology (a webserver) and knowledge (how to write html code) — to a communication, participation, collaboration web, where people can create web presences through free, online software such as blogs, wikis, podcasts, RSS, tagging, and social networking.


Focus questions: Shifts in recent technology

What shifts have you noticed in the way people use the web in the past two years or so? What have been some of the recent developments you’ve noticed? I.e., once we had websites, but now we’ve got [insert answer!]. What are some of the buzzwords you’ve been hearing? Is email the only way of communicating over the internet these days? What is iTunes??!!! What is FaceBook??!!! How can you see these things impacting upon education? Write down your thoughts, discuss with a partner or small group in the class, or blog it!

Check out Mike Wesch’s YouTube video, below.


Web 2.0 is not software

Despite having a name that makes it sound like it’s a software package, Web 2.0 is not a software package. That’s just people being clever with coining a term. Instead, it’s more of a concept to describe a more ‘democratic’ web, where direct access to server technology and specialised technical knowledge no longer impedes a person from having an online presence.

Web 2.0 is also known as the ‘read-write’ web, because now anyone with a computer and an internet connection can write stuff and put it on the internet.


Examples of Web 1.0 and Web 2.0

This is how O’Reilly described the differences between the two ‘versions’ of the web:

O'Reilly's Web 1.0/Web 2.0 comparison table
Source: http://res.sys-con.com/story/sep07/428865/Table-1-rev.jpg



Go through O’Reilly’s table, above, line by line. Identify the things you know about, e.g., ‘Britiannica Online –> Wikipedia’. How are those things different between Web 1.0 and Web 2.0? What different characteristics do they have? Write down your thoughts, discuss with a partner or small group in the class, or blog it!


The mindsets of Web 1.0 and Web 2.0

Lankshear and Knobel (pdf) describe how shifts in the web can effect our mindset:

Mindset 1.0

Mindset 2.0

The world is appropriately interpreted, understood and responded to in broadly physical industrial terms

The world cannot adequately be interpreted, understood and responded to in physical-industrial terms only

Products as material artifacts

Products as enabling services

Tools for producing

Tools for mediating and relating

Focus on individual intelligence

Focus on collective intelligence

Expertise and authority ‘located’ in individuals and institutions

Expertise and authority are distributed and collective; hybrid experts

Space as enclosed and purpose specific

Space as open, continuous and fluid

Social relations of ‘bookspace’; a stable ‘textual order’

Social relations of emerging ‘digital media space’; texts in change



Go through each ‘mindset’, line by line. Find examples of each mindset, e.g., ‘Product as artefact = book; Product as service = blog site”. Which mindset do you belong to and when? What about your students: which mindset are they most comfortable with? What are the values inherent in each mindset? What about the problems?


Focus questions: How are you feeling?

Are you feeling a bit ‘freaked out’ by the pace of change in technology? What are you most worried about? Why? What are your concerns about what’s going on online these days? What are you afraid of letting go of? What do you think all this Web 2.0 stuff will mean for our culture? Our society? Education? Our ways of being human? What are your fears founded upon? Evidence, information and reasoning or gut feeling?



Write down your thoughts, discuss with a partner or small group in the class, or blog it!

  • What have I learnt?
  • What is still unclear?
  • What do I need to follow up on?
  • Where to from here?
  • What other stuff I have read or accessed to help me make sense of it all?


Links and resources

What Is Web 2.0? Design Patterns and Business Models for the Next Generation of Software, Tim O’Reilly

Blogging as Participation: The Active Sociality of a New Literacy, Lankshear and Knobel

Web 2.0 ‘meme map’, Tim O’Reilly

Web 2.0 map, Markus Angermeier

Web 2.0 trend map, Information Architechts

The machine is us/ing us, YouTube video by Mike Wesch

4 Responses to “1. What is Web 2.0?”

  1. Elaine Talbert Says:

    This looks great. I will follow your work.

  2. Megan Poore Says:

    Hi, Elaine,

    Thanks for the comment 🙂 Keep checking back here, ‘cos I’m always adding new things. I’m also doing similar ‘courses’ in using blogs and wikis (check under ‘Links’ on this site). Hope you find it useful!

  3. sasha Says:

    good on ya, megonsky!
    only just realised this is YOUR work. Read it and learnt sumfin’! i’ll be back.

  4. Megan Poore Says:

    Ha! Thanks Sasha. Also check out mt blog at http://www.meganpoore.com. There’s lots of stuff there on ICTs in education.

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