Web 2.0 and Mobile Learning

Web 2.0 is the next generation web experience in which people can be more creative and use tools to create their own resources and share with others in an unlimited amount.  According to Shelly et al., (2012), visitors to a dyamic Web page can customize some or all of their viewed content,  industry experts would call this “Web 2.0” (p. 68).  Web 2.0 includes presentation tools such as prezi, slideshare, 280 slides.  The video tools available to teachers and students are Animoto, gizmoz (to make animations), Photo Peach (to create built in polls and quizzes).  Mobile tools that are available as parts of Web 2.0 are: Poll Everywhere and DropIO.  Community tools are also available as part of this new technology, these include applications such as Edmodo, google docs, wiki spaces and Ning (to create your own social network)   (Discovery Education, 2013).

Defining Web 2.0 is difficult because what is available is constantly evolving.  The main point is that Web 2.0 is much more interactive than the web of a couple of years ago.  The original World Wide Web was more of a collection of static sites, where as now the web is much more user created, especially due to the explosive growth of social networking sites.  “Web 2.0 is creating a new set of tools to empower educators, consumers and businesses”, (Shelly et al., 2012, p. 93).

According to the New Media Consortium, (NMC), (2011) mobile devices such as smart phones with their “always-on” Internet are an ideal store of reference materials, learning experiences, observation tool and more.  The mobiles are less expensive than laptops and require fewer infrastructures to support.  New features are being added continuously, which support learning in all subjects.  NMC states that in the coming months the vast potential of these mobile devices will begin to outweigh concerns about misuse that currently dominate most conversations about their use in school settings.  The tool itself has changed education, as we know it.  Teachers and students alike can dig deeper into target objectives than ever before.  The limitations for learning new material, which used to be the textbook and the teacher’s knowledge, have been removed.

The use of technologies in the classroom will continue to increase; the devices can be powerful learning tools.  “The presence of the Internet in students’ lives outside of school, and especially on mobile devices, is allowing for more online and blended learning models in classrooms. That trend is supported by an increasing tolerance and even excitement among teachers for mobile devices as learning tools.“  (Schwartz, 2013)

The Challenges to integrate Web 2.0 and mobile technologies are complicated.  The first challenge with integrating this 2.0 and mobile devices is the teachers, how can a school district provide enough professional development to keep up with the evolution of applications available to students?  If you have an elementary teacher, they are already teaching several different subjects at the same time and are also likely differentiating for the different levels of students.   How can teachers be expected to take on the task of incorporating new technology into their daily lessons alone? How can large districts provide time and training for true effective implementation?  Surely, being able to lead students in the use of new technology will take more PD than an hour or so once a quarter.  Money is also a challenge, some mobile devices as mentioned above will actually save a district money in the long run, but the upfront investment in the devices may be more than some districts can handle healthily.  Finally, as the demand for technology increases, the evolution and availability to students and teachers may not be enough to support needs.

Because mobile technologies are such an important part of many people’s lives I do agree that more and more apps will be developed for learning and education.  Companies will continue to develop programs to support learning and feed the hunger that people have instinctively for learning.  I believe that mobile learning will continue to supplement good teaching and will provide motivation for students.  Pre-secondary students are using iPhones in Art, Science and Social Studies to connect with colleges, performing Arts centers and other organizations for real-time data connection and learning resources as we speak (NMC, 2011).  Each of these connections that students are making offer the answer to the age-old questions “When will I ever use this in real-life?” before it is even asked.  As with the integration of desktop computers and interactive whiteboards, mobile learning will have its place in the classroom.  Each teacher needs the autonomy, and training to be able to integrate new strategies as they see fit.  I believe that these new applications will help engage students, which will help them learn better.  My hope is that the school districts will not just “jump on the bandwagon”, but create a plan that is strategic to implement iPads, mobile and the like.  Board members and administrators need to be good stewards of the public’s money and keep in mind all of the practicalities as they move forward in technology implementation.

 

References:

Discovery Education (2013).  Retrieved on 9/18/2013 from: http://web2012.discoveryeducation.com/web20tools-community.cfm.

New Media Consortium, (2011) The NMC Horizon Report: 2011 K-12 Edition.  Retrieved on 9/18/13 from: http://www.nmc.org/pdf/2011-Horizon-Report-K12.pdf.

Schwartz, K.,  (June, 2013)  Six Big Tech Trends in Education to Follow.    Retrieved on 9/18/2013 from: http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2013/06/six-big-trends-in-education-to-follow/.

Shelly, G., Gunter, G., Gunter, R., (2012). Teachers discovering computers: Integrating technology in a connected world Seventh edition.  Boston, MA: Cenage Learning.

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