Over the last week I have been hearing a number of questions and answers about learners being ready for web 2.0 and how can it be used for learning.
James Clay used his Jaiku microblog to ask “Are learners ready for Web 2.0?”. To some extent this question was answered by the release of an Ipos MORI survey into student expectations commissioned by JISC. A group of 16-18 year olds, who were intent on going to university, were questioned on their IT use and expectations.
· 65% ‘regularly’ use social networking sites, such as Facebook, MySpace or Flickr
· 27% ‘regularly’ use wikis, blogs or online networks
This suggest that a significant number are using web 2.0, but does that mean they want to use it for college work?
As part of a conference on communication Ray Robetson from West Suffolk college explained how they embraced web 2.0 and social network sites instead of using their VLE. They have a main elearning blog which has a blog roll of blogs from many different departments. Their art department even has a myspace page which displays students work. One of the reasons these sites were chosen over a VLE is because it gives the learners ownership. No matter how much web 2.0 capability is added into a VLE “The VLE is owned by the university” (Emma Purnell, PGCE student, Taken from the learners voice).
My personal opinion is that in order to maintain popularity with learners, VLEs should be developed to be incorperted and embedded into whatever system the individual learner requires. I have just discovered that this idea is being developed at the University of Wales where a facebook module is being developed to display information from their VLE.
There could be a backlash if colleges push too hard into a learners personal digital space. Its like a teenager no longer thinking a band is cool once they find out their parents like them.
I think the next question to ask is are colleges and teaching staff ready for web 2.0?