Newbie who loves technology asks "What is web & classroom 2.0"?

In one paragraph or less, can anyone explain what web 2.0 is? Is it any website that allows interactivity and collaboration? If so, how do we design instructional activities using these sites, how do we create them, and how to we assess student activities? Any and all ideas are welcome...

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You've asked all the right questions. I can address what Web 2.0 is. I'll let the more qualified discuss how to use it in the classroom.

Web 2.0 is the change from the web as a "read-only" technology to "read/write." Blogs, wikis, social networking, photo/video sharing, etc. are Web 2.0 because they involve the contributing of content to the web as much as the reading or viewing of content. From an educational standpoint, they foster collaboration and peer-review. In my childhood I produced very little that got feedback from my peers--maybe what clothing I wore, or the car I drove. All of my writing and learning really happened between me and whatever teacher I was doing the work for. My own kids produce a lot of writing that has to communicate to their peers, and they produce creative content that engages them in feedback and dialog with their friends all the time--including uploading photos and videos. I like to point to some of the clean videos on YouTube of kids dancing and lip-syncing that have been viewed millions of times. With a $200 camera and some creativity you can get more audience than many traditional film directors have ever had. Even without the rarified numbers, Web 2.0 is still a very collaborative, communicative place.

The technical definition of Web 2.0 (Google Tim O'Reilly) included contributions that the user isn't even fully aware that they are making (like, what other books you looked at before you bought something at Amazon). But for the world of the classroom, I don't that that's really pertinent.

In addition to everything you have said, I feel that there is another element to Web 2.0 - the object orientation. I would cite pageflakes as an classic example. Now we have web 2 widgets and gadgets we can drop and drag onto our pages.
The question I normally ask teachers I work with is "What impact would it have if the conversation, collaboration, and learning activities in your classroom could happen anytime, anywhere?" The biggest impact upon design is now we can really offer nearly any types of learning activity online. Our instructional design can maximize face-to-face time to accomplish instructional activities that are best accomplished there while utilizing powerful Web 2.0 tools to continue converation, discussion, research at other times.
Thank you everyone, for your amazing minds. I really feel like I have a better sense of how to define web 2.0 now. You guys are great!
To me, Classroom 2.0 is more than just about using interactive sites. It's a process of changing the classroom from a one-way information transmission model to one where a collective intelligence is developed through activities (both by the teachers and sudents). Classroom 2.0 might not have walls, or bells, or any of the things we associate with school-- it's something that's evolving right now - exciting, eh?
After reading through numerous and varied discourses on the Defintion of Web 2.0. It seems to me that Web 2.0 incorporates existing and new innovations that allow people to interactively connect with one another! The Web 2.0 certainly allows us to engage in more of a 2 way i/action across the web. As a result I agree that it provides exciting opportunities to engage students of all ages in learning. It is also noticeable that this concept of web2.0 is now entering the vernacular of the mainstream...



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