Learning 2.0

The internet revolution that is changing the concept of knowledge as we know it.

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By  Fida Slayman Published  January 21, 2009

The internet revolution that is changing the concept of knowledge as we know it.

Many were surprised when Joel Podolny, the Dean of Yale University's School of Management, announced he was leaving to take up the position of dean at Apple University.

Most users identify Apple's iTunes with entertainment, but many universities, such as Stanford and Oxford, have long since utilised its podcasting and RSS capabilities to reach out to students through their ubiquitous iPods. It is one of the signs that Web 2.0 has penetrated mainstream education.

Though there is no commonly agreed definition of Web 2.0, the internet's new capabilities represent innovative approaches to content, collaboration, connections, and contribution.

User-generated content: Far from being passive consumers of content, these days internet users take advantage of the opportunity to create, share and cross-reference knowledge, which is an important 21st century skill for every knowledge worker to acquire.

With relatively low cost digital technologies such as mobile phones, digital cameras, and podcasting tools, a number of services like YouTube, TeacherTube, Scribd and Flickr facilitate the creation, storage and sharing of multimedia content.

Students and faculty now have the ability to create and record their learning and teaching, and share it not only with their group or class, but also with users around the world.

Collaboration in learning: In today's corporate world, collaboration is critical for individual and organisational success.

Teamwork allows the creation of new ideas, which in turn results in new processes, products, technologies or services that generate revenue for the organisation. As such, educators have a responsibility to prepare students to operate in this new order in the corporate world.

Social writing platforms like wikis and blogs are different in many ways. In education, a blog is used to deliver news and updates to a class or group, and a wiki to work on projects, assignments and group work.

These technologies are suitable for student group learning, staff collaboration, learning journals and reflection, peer editing and review. With the inclusion of audio and video in blogs and wikis, these platforms have become a rich collaborative environment for learning and teaching.

Connections for a networked society: "What percentage of the knowledge you need to do your job is stored in your mind?" This was the question posed to a group of workers in a study conducted by Carnegie Mellon University. When the group was surveyed in 1986, the average answer was 75%.  In 1997, the year the internet began to take off in the business world, it was 15-20%.

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