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TechWatch Report: What is Web 2.0? Ideas, technologies and implications for education.


Last modified 05 Mar, 2007
Published 05 Mar, 2007
A new TechWatch report by Paul Anderson explores the Web 2.0 phenomenon and asks what are the implications for education?

Within 15 years the Web has grown from a group work tool for scientists at CERN into a global information space with more than a billion users. Currently, it is both returning to its roots as a read/write tool and also entering a new, more social and participatory phase. These trends have led to a feeling that the Web is entering a second phase a new, improved Web version 2.0. But how justified is this perception?

This TechWatch report, What is Web 2.0? Ideas, technologies and implications for education, was commissioned to investigate the substance behind the hyperbole surrounding Web 2.0. It reports on the implications this may have for the UK Higher and Further Education sector, with a special focus on collection and preservation activities within libraries. The report establishes that Web 2.0 is more than a set of cool and new technologies and services, important though some of these are. It has, at its heart, a set of at least six powerful ideas that are changing the way some people interact. Secondly, it is also important to acknowledge that these ideas are not necessarily the preserve of Web 2.0, but are, in fact, direct or indirect reflections of the power of the network: the strange effects and topologies at the micro and macro level that a billion Internet users produce.

The report argues that by separating out the discussion of Web technologies (ongoing Web development overseen by the W3C), from the more recent applications and services (social software), and attempts to understand the manifestations and adoption of these services (the big ideas), decision makers will find it easier to understand and act on the strategic implications of Web 2.0. Indeed, analysing the composition and interplay of these strands provides a useful framework for understanding its significance.

The full report can be downloaded from the published reports section of the TechWatch website: http://www.jisc.ac.uk/whatwedo/services/services_techwatch/techwatch/techwatch_ic_reports2005_published.aspx

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