Web 2.0: good for magpies, not so good for education?

1 09 2008

*Some artistic licence may have been applied to the above photograph.

Are bright, shiny applications detrimental to educators’ attempts to use web 2.0 for teaching? That, in brief, is what Jennifer D. Jones suggests in her video Web 2.0 is not the future of education. It’s a point I’ve considered before; certainly sites like Facebook are rife with garish blaring clutter: ‘how hot are your grandparents’ and ‘monkey soduko’ style applications that an unbelievably large amount of people think are worthwhile additions to their profile pages. So yes, I’m not a big fan of attention grabbing / sapping apps. Such things are distracting and pointless, their purpose being to be shiny rather than substantial. However, I don’t think that’s a reason to dismiss web 2.0 as a platform for promoting learning. Yes, it’s sensible to spot the distractions and pitfalls inherent in using web 2.0 and yes, there are other technologies which will eventually supersede it but, for the time being, web apps are what a lot of people are using so why not utilise them intelligently and reflectively, whilst maintaing an awareness of potential new avenues on the web and in technology in general? After all, if you can’t be a pragmatist on the internet,  where can you be?