What Is Web 2.0? Ideas, Technologies and Implications for Education

Paul Anderson, Mar 05, 2007
Commentary by Stephen Downes

This is a very good report capturing some of the main ideas behind Web 2.0 and looking into some of the implications. If you are new to Web 2.0, this is an excellent introduction. The author depicts Web 2.0 not simply as a new set of technologies but also as the emergence of six major ideas: individual production and user generated content, harness the power of the crowd, data on an epic scale, architecture of participation, network effects, and openness. The author gets into the details quite well - there is, for example, a nice outline of AJAX, an informed discussion of SOAP vs REST, and a good sketch of the issues between Web 2.0 and the Semantic Web. At other times, though, the document reads as though written by an outsider - it depends too much on formal sources and people like Tim O'Reilly and Chris Anderson and John Seely Brown. And it addresses teaching and learning in just over a page, while devoting almost ten pages to the big problem of permanence of web resources (how did that become the major issue involving Web 2.0 in education?). The criticisms, though, are trivial - this really is an excellent report. PDF.
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