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Web 2.0 is one of those "buzz words" like DHTML that do not have a clear meaning but does refer to a trend or practise that does favor new technologies.
Web 2.0 refers to a certain kind of rich internet applications and means:
- New kinds of webservices (e.g. see social computing)
- cloud computing, i.e. various new types of server-client architectures
- Improved user experience (e.g. AJAX)
- Both of these combined (webservices as rich internet applications)
- Mashups like webtops, virtual office etc. (this is a more recent trend)
- For some people, Web 2.0 means just just blogs and wikis. These are just part of it, but by no means to whole picture.
- For others, web 2.0 is when corporations took over community contents and exchanges.
- Examples of web 2.0 technologies
- List of web 2.0 applications (look at this for a long list of on-line applications)
- Through the web editors
- Virtual offices, (some, i.e. in the sense of Office 2.0)
- Social software applications (most)
- Personal learning environments
- DITA Storm (an online XML-based content framework)
The BECTA 2008 report on Web 2.0 technologies for learning (page 10), distinguishes the following categories of Web 2.0 activities:
- Buying, selling or exchanging through user transactions mediated by internet communications
- Media sharing
- Uploading and downloading media files for purposes of audience or exchange
- Conversational arenas
- One-to-one or one-to-many conversations between internet users
- Online games and virtual worlds
- Rule-governed games or themed environments that invite live interaction with other internet users
- Social networking
- Websites that structure social interaction between members who form subgroups of ‘friends’
- An internet-based journal or diary in which a user can post text and digital material while others can comment
- Social bookmarking
- Users submit their bookmarked web pages to a central site where they can be tagged and found by other users
- Recommender systems
- Websites aggregate and tag user preferences for items in some domain and thereby make novel recommendations
- Collaborative editing
- Web tools are used collaboratively to design, construct and distribute a digital product
- A web-based service allowing users unrestricted access to create, edit and link pages
- Users can "subscribe" to RSS feed-enabled websites so that they are automatically notified of any changes or updates in content via an aggregator
Web 2.0 in the timeline of the web
“ Web 2.0 was really about upgrading the "front-end" and user-experience of the Web. Much of the innovation taking place today is about starting to upgrade the "backend" of the Web and I think that will be the focus of Web 3.0 (the front-end will probably not be that different from Web 2.0, but the underlying technologies will advance significantly enabling new capabilities and features).” (, retrieved 14:22, 27 April 2007 (MEST))
Nova Spivak in his timeline of the past, present and future of the Web describes evolution of the web in terms of two variables: information connections and social connections, i.e. information links vs. people links plus.
The idea being that information and social connections gain from more sophisticate tools and some sort of emerging intelligence as in social software that gain be summarized as tools + services + aggregation)^scale (Lee Bryant, Becta review 2007).
Old vs. new web services
According to Tim O'Reilly (2005), Web 2.0 can be defined through examples of how typical web services did evolve. E.g.
|Web 1.0 (past)||Web 2.0 (future)|
|FTP or http-based downloads||BitTorrent|
|mp3.com||Peer-to-peer solutions, like Napster|
|content management systems||wikis|
|directories (taxonomy)||tagging ("folksonomy")|
What is common about these example is that “ behind the success of the giants born in the Web 1.0 era who have survived to lead the Web 2.0 era appears to be this, that they have embraced the power of the web to harness collective intelligence” (O'Reilly, 2005), in other words Web 2.0 is strongly related to social computing and collective intelligence (the "wisdom of the crowd").
In addition, Web 2.0 is related to enhanced user experience and webservices standards and APIs that allow for more collaboration between machines (data exchange is usually XML-based).
Tim O'Reilly's meme map (dated 2005) illustrates important concepts, some of which we explore in all related articles.
Improved user experience
Jared Spool  points out the power of APIs: A very good example is Google Maps that allows anyone to overlay data onto any place that Google Maps can show. E.g. here is the place where these very words have been written.
Relation to semantic web
A few years ago, there was a lot of talk about the semantic web. This didn't happen so far ;). So more and more it appears that Web 2.0 means actually going back to the roots of academic Internet in the 80' and very early 90' which was all about communication and exchange. Internet/Web is also (and has been most of the time) about being easy, open and flexible.
Web 2.0 in education
Web believe that web 2.0 in education refers to very different sort of practice:
- Web 2.0 as platform, i.e. it allows learners teachers to access all sorts of applications that can't be found on school computers. That includes various "productivity software" (writing, drawing, image manipulation, concept maps, etc.), but also specialized services like LMSs.
- Web 2.0 as social platform, i.e. using various services to organize collaborative work that extends beyound a single classroom
- Web 2.0 as collaborative platform, i.e. using services to organize collaborative or collective classwork. A good example are wikis.
- Web 2.0 as vehicle for new kinds of application, e.g. location-aware computing or 3D interactive environments like Second Life
- Web 2.0 as background for new organization of learning, e.g. MOOCs
"Web 2.0 in education" is not further covered in this article, see for example:
- e-learning 2.0 (short overview)
- Personal learning environments (some)
- social software
- microworlds (some)
You also can browse through articles indexed in the social computing category.
Propaganda / Vision papers
- Farber, Dan (2007), From semantic Web (3.0) to the WebOS (4.0), ZDNet Article, feb 14, 2007, HTML.
- O'Reilly, Tim, What Is Web 2.0 - Design Patterns and Business Models for the Next Generation of Software, HTML
- O'Reilly, Tim, Web Squared: Web 2.0 Five Years On
- Spool, Jared M., Web 2.0: The Power Behind the Hype, HTML
In education (practical/vision)
- D'Souza, Quentin (2007). Web 2.0 Ideas for Educators, A Guide to RSS and More, Version 2.0. PDF
- Warlick David (2006). A Day in the Life of Web 2.0, techlearning. HTML
- Lynne Schrum & Gwen Solomon (2007). Web 2.0: New Tools, New Schools, ISTE, ISBN 978-1-56484-234-3 (sales)
- Michael Thomas (eds.), Handbook of Research on Web 2.0 and Second Language, Idea Group Inc (IGI), ISBN 1605661902.
In education / reports
BECTA (2008) Web 2.0 technologies for learning at KS3 and KS4 - Project overview (a number of free reports on Web 2.0 in the classroom, downloads in PDF/WORD/ODT)
- Report 1: The current landscape - opportunities, challenges and tensions (May 2008). This is a good overview paper.
- Report 2: Learners' use of Web 2.0 technologies in and out of school in Key Stages 3 and 4 (June 2008)
- Report 3: Implementing Web 2.0 in Secondary Schools: Impacts, barriers and issues (September 2008)
- Report 4: E-safety issues in using Web 2.0 (September 2008)
- Crook, Charles and Colin Harrison (eds). Report 5: Web 2.0 technologies for learning at Key Stage 3 and 4: summary report (September 2008)