Tuesday, 29 June 2010

The Web, Version 2

The original vision for the World Wide Web was a “Read/Write” Web.

Web pages would not only be hosted and “read” – but browsers would easily edit and “write” to these same pages.

This original vision took time to develop – with what some commentators call the “Read-Only” Version 1 of the Web persisting through the 1990s.

With the advent of collaborative tools, such as the wiki, then simple authoring for web logs (blogs) and finally social networking sites – the original vision of a “Read/Write” Web – a Web Version 2 – is now well established.

Will Richardson is one commentator who sees immense opportunities for using such a “Read/Write” Web in education. (Listen).

The process of creating content - not just consuming it - helps students exercise and develop their own understanding. The student is actively engaged in constructing a meaning for themselves. This is a constructivist view of learning, and when combined with the networked aspect of the Web, becomes a social, constructivist view.

Andrew Keen is a media critic who takes an opposite position to Will Richardson (Listen).

For Andrew Keen the “Read/Write” Web is a danger – for if everyone can be a writer and an author, if the barriers to publishing are so, so low – how do we identify the expert, authoritative authors that we should really learn from?

These two commentators lie at opposite ends of a spectrum of how we might think about using digital resources in our education systems.

But where in this spectrum does a technology such as IMS Common Cartridge belong?

We might suggest that content - authored by experts and published by an institution with an excellent academic reputation– such as the Common Cartridges available from the UK Open Learn website – most naturally belong at the Andrew Keen end of the spectrum.

But how helpful is the polarisation of opinion, for and against the Web, Version 2?

For most teachers the distinction between social, collaborative, constructivist learning and expert, didactic, authoritative exposition is not either/or - but both.

Teachers employ a variety of teaching styles – using their professional judgement to determine which teaching and learning style is best suited to a particular learning outcome, or even a particular student.

The Icodeon Common Cartridge Platform supports teachers who use such a variety of teaching styles.

Expert, authoritative, published content deployed to the Platform can be re-mixed and integrated with social environments.

See the screen shots below.

Expert, authoritative content published by the UK Open University and deployed to the Icodeon Common Cartridge Platform, is easily added to the activity stream of a Facebook user and their social graph.

Open Learn Content in a mobile application
 Authoritative content is now blended into the personal learning and group dynamics of a student.

This blog entry is derived from a presentation given by Warwick Bailey, Icodeon to the European Union National Summer School at the Faculty of Computer and Information Science, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia (see video).

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